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The mercurial, 5x JUNO-nominated/7x Canadian Folk Music Award winning mandomaestro Andrew Collins finds himself – through no actual fault of his own – at the epicentre of Canada’s burgeoning acoustic/roots music scene. He didn’t invent it – but he's certainly a major contributor, having co-founded seriously noteworthy Canadian bands like the Creaking String Quartet, the Foggy Hogtown Boys and, more recently, the Andrew Collins Trio.
As Collins gathers up innumerable awards and nominations by these various ensembles, Collins, who’s comfortable on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, mandola andmandocello – is zeroing in on the work he does with his beloved trio: fellow string guru Mike Mezzatesta, on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and mandola, and in-the-pocket James McEleney, holding it down on the bass, mandocello and vocals.
Showcasing a popular collision of folk, jazz, celtic, and newgrass, not to mention a dizzying number and energetic interplay of instruments on stage, Collins and Co. appear to live by the old adage, “idle hands are the devil’s workshop” likely keeping them just ahead of his grasp. Their dynamic genre hopping show is further propelled by Andrew’s captivating lead vocals and James’ soaring harmonies.
Andrew's career as a solo artist is no less impressive. The Central Canada Bluegrass Association nominated him five times as Mandolin Player of the Year, which he secured in 2005. His debut solo album, Little Widgets (2005), is a self-produced collection of genre-bending originals that earned him a Canadian Folk Music Award for Pushing the Boundaries in 2006. In 2007, Andrew took a different track and collaborated with world-renowned Celtic musician, Brian Taheney, to release Mando Lore, an all-traditional, all-mandolin-family compilation of Celtic and Old Time gems. His next solo album, Cats and Dogs (2011), continued to build his catalogue of feisty originals, garnering a JUNO and CFMA.
Taking musical cues from David Grisman, Andrew, now joined by Mike and James, have ventured even further down the path of Trailblazin’ Roots and beyond – melding multiple genres while tastefully showcasing each of their boundaries – all towards extrapolating brave new musical worlds. Nothing less will do.
“Light of touch, fast of wit, copiously imaginative, and a musical scholar of the highest distinction, Toronto mandolin virtuoso pulls out all the stops” – Toronto Star
“To call Andrew Collins a master of the mandolin would be putting it mildly.... artfully arranged string music perhaps best described as 'chambergrass' shines through – 4/5 stars” – Exclaim! Magazine
“Boundaries? What boundaries? Mandolinist Andrew Collins ignores them all!” – Penguin Eggs
"Simply put, this is a stellar band that resists categorization and one that will expand the listener's range and appreciation of styles.” – Earshot
"Raw and grooving bluegrass music played with the grace and sophistication of a classical string quartet.” – R2 Magazine