This section is dedicated exclusively to the ongoings of Andrew Osenga. Everything we do here is going to come dangerously close to being unethical. Our writing about Andrew Osenga could easily be considered a conflict of interest. You see, Andy plays Elloree guitars and mandolins. First impression might be that I'm promoting him because it makes me look better. The truth is, this is all happening in reverse order. I've been listening to Andrew for years now. He was with a band called The Normals, and I've always loved the song Apron Full of Stains. In the reality of my life, his song Forgive is one of my most often prayed prayers. And I've always been impressed with the message in the song The Best I Can. He's famous, folks wanna be around him, get his autograph, watch him play and listen to him sing, and he says he has a greater goal - and it has to do with family life. So he had my attention years before I ever dreamed that he would want one of my instruments. So this page has a lot to do with thankfulness on my part, and when all is said and done, I think it's going to be a bit of fun just keeping up with the Andrew sightings.
Presently, he's with Caedmons Call and has some independent releases. I always wanted to review movies or books or records, but never could find anybody to pay me for it. So here's my one opportunity to appear to be important by making reviews. And if anybody finds anything out about this Osenga man that has escaped my attention, make sure to let us know about it and we'll see what we can do about including it on this site.
I've been building for Andrew for years now, and it was just this year, April of 2010, that he first came to my shop. I've met him several times while he was in concert, but this is the first time he's seen my humble place. He was here for an in-house concert for the youth group of First Baptist West Monroe. And here's something that was very predictable. He has left Caedmon's Call. When he first joined, I wondered how long that would work. They all did good together for years, but prior to Caedom's Call, he was in a band called The Normals. And I think, at least in a big part, Andrew Osenga WAS The Normals. He was the lead singer, played different instruments, and I think he wrote most of their songs. Well, Caedmon's Call was a fun chapter, and I'm curious to see where he goes from here.
Andrew and a bunch of other long haired friends of Jesus came to Ruston in March of 2006. They were playing at Louisiana Tech. Since it’s only about 35 minutes from my shop, I closed that evening and my son, Stewart, came by and took me there. I had built a solid body electric 12-string guitar for Andrew & a solid body electric 6-string for Cason Cooley, formerly of The Normals, and presently touring sometimes with Andrew. Lindsay didn’t ride with Stewart and me, but she met us there. Stewart noticed something that is a bit of truth about Andrew. He’s a brave soul. As soon as he got the 12-string, he took it up on stage, tuned it, and only a few songs into the concert, he played it. I would have preferred that he had tried it out in privacy, but that would have been too easy. It was Stewart’s first time to meet Andrew. Make sure to look for Andrew’s new album that’s coming out. It’s called The Morning.
Andrew Osenga of Caedmon’s Call has been playing my Sojourner (which he helped design) and an Ambassador mandolin for a couple of years now. Earlier in the year 2005, he got me to build him a baritone guitar with a 30” string length and a 12 string solid body electric mandoguitar. At least a couple of these instruments are showing up on Caedmon’s Call’s upcoming release.
There are two different Andrews who play my instruments – Andrew Osenga, formerly of The Normals, presently of Caedmon’s Call, and who has several independent releases. Also a man who is a great musician, songwriter, and just a really good guy – Andrew Peterson – plays two of my instruments. At present, he’s touring with Caedmon’s Call, and the night we saw Caedmon’s Call in Shreveport, we got to meet Andrew Peterson for the first time. If you’ve never heard any of his music, I could safely tell you that you could buy any of his cds and you would not be disappointed.
The guys from Caedmons Call just let go of their new cd. They went to India, Ecuador, and Brazil to record this thing, and it's called Share The Well. Andrew was formerly of The Normals. Well, actually, I think he was the backbone of The Normals. At some point, they disbanded. Derek Webb left Caedmon's Call, but from all that I hear, it was like a friendly departure. They wasn't throwin' pinecones at each other or anything like that. The boys in Caedmon's Call heard that Andrew Osenga was presently unemployed and they were presently needing to fill a big void left by Derek. Andrew has been with them for a while, but this is the first studio recording Andrew has made with Caedmon's Call. And hot-diggity-dog, I love to see my name up in lights. Well, okay. It's not actually up in lights. It's in that little tiny part that's written so small you need a magnifying glass, so nobody bothers to read it. But should you read it, you'd see that Caedmon's Call plays Elloree guitars and mandolins. And I'm a thankful boy. And just ask my wife. Every time she hears something about Andrew, she says, "He's a good boy."
I finally was able to get a hold of a digital camera to take some pictures of the guitar. Sorry it took so long. I am loving the guitar, though, that's for sure. I actually used it in the studio last week for the WOW Worship 2004 album. It's a pretty pronounced part, so when I get a copy of it I'll send it to you. Our engineer was freaking out over the guitar. He kept talking about it. He was saying stuff like, "it seems like this guy just redesigned what he wanted the guitar to do, and it really works. It sounds like it has a compressor on it, that's amazing." Thought I'd let you know. I was smiling for you as he was talking. Anyway, hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and I'll talk to you soon.
The truthfulness about me is that I'm a dusty old wood whittler who needs a lot of help to keep it together. The rather short individual is my wife. She's been keeping me and helping me keep it together for almost thirty years now. The young lady is Lindsay Leporati. She does all that internet stuff for me. And we're together at a concert where we got to see and hear Caedmon's Call and Jars of Clay. The gentleman with us is Andrew Osenga and I'll say more about him in the next picture.
In March of 2003, two Christian bands came in concert together: Caedmon's Call and Jars of Clay. I'm thankful to be able to say that Caedmon's Call uses one of my mandolins in their concerts. The gentleman playing the mandolin is Andrew Osenga, who was formerly the lead man in a Christian band called The Normals. This was my first time to meet him and it was surprising to see what a genuinely nice guy he was. Since this is where I tell about what's personal to me and that I like, I need to say that most everybody in Caedmon's Call and Jars of Clay are married and they bring an extra tour bus just so that their families can all come with them. Even in the Christian music business, the road is not a friendly place. I'm sure their lives are much easier and happier since they get to see their families on a regular basis and not just during the intermission of a tour.
As a teenager, I loved to watch American Bandstand on Saturday afternoons. One part I always liked was when Dick Clark chose a few people out of the group and played two new songs and let these people cast a 1-10 judgment.
Maybe one guy gave a song an 8. “Why did you give it an 8?”, Dick would ask. “Well, I liked the words, groovy tune, and I can dance to it.”
Someone might give a song a 3. “Why?” “Well, the words were okay, but I didn’t like the tune. You can’t dance to it.”
You could always predict the rating would come down to: tune, words, and can ya dance to it.
It’s a sure bet this album of Andrew’s wouldn’t rate very high according to American Bandstand. There’s nothing here you can dance to. My wife and I have a front porch and I like to sit there with a cup of coffee when I listen to Photographs. I still like to dance, but I find myself wanting to rock on the front porch, sip coffee, and think more than I want to do the mindless jumping and thrashing around. There are a couple of albums that will always take me places in my mind. I’m recalling Randy Stonehill’s albums – Return To Paradise and Wild Frontier. And then there’s Bob Dylan’s albums – Saved and Shot Of Love. No force is needed to give Mr. Osenga’s Photographs a place with Randy and Bob. And without a doubt, the song High School Band reminds me a lot of Randy’s song Christmas at Denny’s off of Return To Paradise. And I can’t help but believe Andrew must also like that Dylan man. There’s too much harmonica and guitar on Photographs for me to believe otherwise. And this man amazes me the way he can turn a phrase. He has something to say and he says it in a way that keeps my attention, takes me places in my mind, and continues to capture my thoughts long after I’ve left the porch and gone back to the shop.
Don’t let me make you believe you need this cd. One size does not fit all. This release fills certain needs. Needs I continually have. If you’re looking to dance, you may wanna pass this one by – you know, kinda the way you do the offering plate. But if you like coffee, own a rocking chair, and need to get some knots and tangles out of your mind, Photographs will be just what you need. (Rick)
As a boy, I always loved an adventure. The older I get, the more I like what is predictable. Souvenirs and Postcards sounds like an extension of Photographs. And for a boy like me, that feels good. This is a seven song cd and as Photographs, there are no dog songs. I’ve bought albums over the years based on one song I’d heard only to find that one song was the only song worth a cuss. Guess I should have bought the 45 RPM. This release is going to require more coffee and more front porch. If you try to listen to it amidst the noise and the rush, you won’t get it. I’ll save the particular dissection and exploration of the individual songs for those occasions when I’m talking with a fellow struggler and we got a plenty of coffee. (Rick)
I always liked listening to The Normals and was sad when they ended. But the next best thing was when Andrew Osenga, the primary singer/songwriter for The Normals, came out with Photographs.
I would describe Andrew as a storyteller type songwriter. I, for one, enjoy these stories. I think most people can relate to at least one or two of his songs. For me, on Photographs, it’s the song called Photograph. At the time I got this cd about a year ago, several of my friends were about to graduate from college and a few of them were moving away. We are one big group of camera carrying people. We were always taking pictures. This part of the song Photographs really stood out to me –
So take a photograph
If you’re wanting this to last
Cause you can try the best you can
But God knows, it’s about to end
I made scrapbooks for several of my graduating friends and put that quote in them. What exactly Andrew was talking about when he wrote this song, I really don’t know. But I know it made my friends and I realize we were growing up, but also made us very thankful for our friendships, memories, experiences, and… well, photographs. (Lindsay)
I like this cd just as much, if not more, than Photographs. My only complaint is that I wish it were longer. The fact that Andrew recorded this album on the road in places like basements and the tour bus is really cool to me. It’s mostly just Andrew and his guitar, which is something I enjoy listening to. And, again, more storytelling. I really love The Priest And The Iron Rain, which Andrew describes as “an embellishing of the relationship between Hardy and the priest in Hemingway’s ‘A Farewell To Arms’.”
And, again, lyrics I can relate to. I’m assuming Andrew was referring to his days touring with The Normals in I Miss Those Days. But for me, a recent college graduate, it’s about college.
I miss those days
I miss those days
Autumn is falling
And I won’t be going away…
A thousand people just like me
All frightened and excited to begin
I miss those days
They won’t be coming back again
Andrew’s music never ceases to make me think. And it’s so easy to picture the stories he tells. This cd will definitely hold me over until Andrew’s next release. (Lindsay)