Tasty Music: Andrea Belanger

I needed to be wowed. I hadn’t seen live music in at least a month, and hadn’t had my breath taken away by a surprise artist in much longer. I went to the Narrows Center on Friday night pretty sure I would love the Wood Brothers but having no idea what to expect from the opener, Andrea Belanger. Never heard of her. But the Narrows has yet to disappoint me with their music choices, so I had high hopes for one of those ‘wow’ nights.

I arrived early, which is crucial at the Narrows, because you can score a great table at which to drink the booze you bring (yes, it’s byob) and snack on your picnic goods. The place is in an old mill building and the non-table seating is old church pews. It’s a non-profit that has it’s roots in the visual arts, but expanded to attract top name folk acts on it’s tiny stage. In the entryway to the venue there is a visual art exhibition, and the floor also houses artist studios.

There was a group of young hipster-ish city kids sitting at the table in front of us, and as the opening act was announced one of them stood up with a beat-up guitar and took the stage. Patrick introduced her as Andrea Belanger, a second semester student at Berklee. She had the stage presence of a veteran folk singer, but with some youthful innocence and nerves mixed in. And when she began singing I looked at my companion with a slack jaw and mouthed “OH. MY. GOD.”

She doesn’t even have an album yet. There are three songs on her myspace page and this wonderful video:

Now I ask you, how does a person this young have this kind of understanding of the world? I understand the angst, I think youth is full of it, but come on, the grip she seems to have on songwriting is magical.

so you don’t wanna live in the house with the flowers
sit on the porch grow old and talk for hours
i’ll keep you while i can
i’ll keep you while i can
but i can’t read minds
even if i try

One of my favorite parts of her show was the banter mixed in. In one song she dropped the ‘f-bomb’ and someone in the audience yelled out ‘nice language!’ when the song ended. We were about to be appalled, but then Andrea quipped, “Ladies and Gentlemen, meet my mom.” There was also a bit of banter between Andrea and the Wood Brothers when they got on stage. They said she was the greatest opener they’ve ever had. I’ll say.

If you enjoy female vocalists and singer-songwriters, please give her a listen. I’m going to try to keep tabs on her and will update this space when her EP becomes available.

I haven’t spent a better $18 in a long time. Notes on the Wood Bros to come.

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This is an article that was posted on Feb 15, 05:51 PM.

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Comment [2]

  1. Tammy Belanger Mar 4, 01:07 AM

    Thank you so much for the kind words regarding my daughter, Andrea. Her Dad and I think she is pretty special and it brought me great joy to read your article. She definitely has a way of touching people with her music. I hope you get to see her again sometime…..

  2. jess Mar 4, 03:13 PM

    Tammy – I should be thanking YOU for bringing such a voice into the world. :-) I’m no musician, but I cannot get through this life without the sort of music that helps the world make sense, and Andrea’s is that kind. I am so grateful to have found her, and will continue to cheer her on!

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