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I just wanna be Andy Gullahorn

I’ve gone through a lot of wanna-be stages in my life as a musician. My mother listened with horror while as a teenager I tried to imitate Michael W. Smith’s raspy pop voice. Then I fell in love with Rich Mullins and worked out all of his piano riffs. I’ve dreamed about playing electric guitar with U2 (I know, they already have a guy), saxophone in Harry Connick’s band, and replacing another guy named Chris who fronts for Coldplay.

I think I’ve finally settled on a wanna-be now, though. I just wanna be Andy Gullahorn.

You may not be familiar with Andy, so let me introduce you.

Andy Gullahorn is a tall, quiet, guitar-playing Texan who writes songs and plays guitars for lots of folks. I’ve most often seen him on stage adding a second guitar for Andrew Peterson.

Andy is a man of few words. Seemingly every time he takes the mic to sing he stares awkwardly at the crowd, finally saying simply “hello”, and then launching in to a song. His songs are clever, insightful, and funny. He has you laughing right up until the point where you feel the blade twist and realize he’s got you good. Here’s an example:

Andy has a website which he recently updated. Part of me is glad he updated it, because it looks really nice and might help impress people who don’t know him. The other part of me is sad, because his old website was this mess of homebrewed awesomeness that captured Andy’s je ne sais quoi. At least his new site still has some of his haiku reviews, which are fantastic.

(A recent haiku, just as an example: “Summer night plus woods / Plus Kentucky plus stage lights / Equals moths in face”. Boom.)

When I was in Nashville back in May to hear NT Wright, a bunch of the Square Peg types sang songs before the good bishop spoke. And darn near every song, there was Andy in the background, playing the second guitar part, adding just the right amount of background vocal. After every song he’d back off, sit down, only to hear the next song that was being played and jump right back in.

Here’s gets me most about Andy: he’s not a star. He’s the consummate backup man. He knows everybody’s songs, the right keys to play them in, the guitar riffs, and all the harmonies.

You don’t necessarily recognize that Andy’s there, but you sure as heck would notice if he was missing. He adds the complementary touch that makes each song better but he never hogs the spotlight. When the spotlight is thrust upon him, he speaks truth in a way that sneaks up on you.

Yep, that’s the guy I want to be.

Disclaimers: The first picture on here I stole from Andy’s website. The second one I stole from a news site, but it was credited to him, so I guess I stole it from him, too. I hope he doesn’t mind too much. Andy also has an awesome songwriting wife who I didn’t have time to mention (sorry, Jill!) and some kids who I’ve never met. Actually, that’s not true – I remember holding one of them for a few minutes during a sound check when the kid was just a baby. Andy writes serious songs as well as funny songs, but the funny ones are funnier. Not all Andy Gullahorn performances open for the (former) Bishop of Durham. You have been warned.

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