Artist Q&A

@JamminJavaMei's Q&A With Kristin Andreassen


Kristin Andreassen is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, dancer, and songwriter. She recorded and toured for years with old time folk group Uncle Earl and various other bands. She's a solo performer as well and is here 9/10 opening for Black Prairie!

Where and when was your first show?  

I’m going to say my first show was in a grade school auditorium somewhere in the Washington, DC area. Not when I was in grade school, mind you. Just after college, I got a job as a dancer with the Annapolis-based group Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. We did a lot of school shows. Teaching kids about connections between different kinds of rhythmic dance and what it teaches us about immigration and multiculturalism in America. The whole singer/songwriter thing came later. I’d been woodshedding (literally, dancing in the woodshed) for months to learn these dance routines that I would eventually perform at folk festivals all over the place, but the practice grounds was the school show stage. And that’s a good thing, because once you’ve learned to keep a couple hundred 10-year-olds entertained, you’re pretty much set in this business.

What band/artist would you consider to be your main influence?

John Hartford. If you don’t know him, check out “Up on the Hill Where they do do the Boogie”. That’s about as Hartford as it gets. He also wrote “Gentle on My Mind”, which was a big hit in the 70s, but that’s really just the tip of a really oddly-shaped iceberg that has multiple tips and stretches beneath more than one ocean. Hartford was a singer and a banjo/fiddle/guitar player and a dancer and a riverboat captain and a comedian and a mystic and he never saw a reason to not do ALL of that at once. He moved across moods, genres, octaves, and even whole career paths, with this absolute sense of ease and obviousness. I have plenty of friends who knew Hartford (he died back in 2001), so one of my big regrets is that I came up just a minute too late to actually meet him. Still, when I’m wrestling with a musical question, I may eventually ask myself “WWJHD” and, whether I actually know the answer or not, I find that just asking the question usually helps me plenty.

What is one of your most memorable or off-the-wall touring experiences?

Buy me a beer sometime and I’ll tell you an off-the-wall story, but this is the Internet. So I’ll go for memorable instead. How about when band Uncle Earl was on tour in the UK and we got to go to the Led Zeppelin reunion show at the O2 stadium. John Paul Jones produced our record, so we were there with his family. It was genuinely wonderful. And dramatic! Naomi Campbell accused Dave Grohl of stealing her Blackberry.

Favorite Food: Strawberries

Favorite Drink: Lemonade. I almost never actually drink lemonade. It just sounds really nice right now. Ask me in December I’d probably tell you something different.

If you were to have a film/movie based on your career, which actors or band would you select to portray yourself?

I’d be Camilla from The Muppets. She was Gonzo’s chicken girlfriend, remember? She can hold her own in the big Muppet stage production numbers, but when it comes down to it, she’s basically just a chicken.


Cat-Person, Dog-Person, or both? 

Totally depends on the cat or the dog. I’ve had both, but my favorite pet was a little orange and white cat that was born in my sock drawer. A stray mama cat came around and settled in right before she went into labor. By the time I realized she’d given birth, this one kitten had had the umbilical cord wrapped around his foot for several hours. I untangled him, but the foot had lost circulation and it eventually fell off. So that’s the kitten I kept. His name was Three-Legs (obviously). I still have the foot in a plastic bag in a scrapbook. And nope, I’m not going to send a picture of that, don’t worry.

What two words would best describe your music?

Dreams About Water (three words - oops!)