Collins is an accomplished Canadian acoustic bluesgrass musician who is multi-talented in both the variety of instruments he plays – his heart being with mandolin – and the many projects has has undertaken in his growing career from producing to teaching on top of performing. Collins has been a member of such acclaimed groups as the multiple Juno Award nominated Creaking Tree String Quintet and Foggy Hogtown Boys, who have several Canadian bluesgrass and folk awards under their belt. Moreover, the multi-instrumentalist has enjoyed a solo career, having been recently nominated for Best Solo Instrumental Album at the 2012 Juno Awards for his sophomore record, Cats and Dogs. One of Collins biggest achievements of many was winning Mandolin Player of the Year in 2005 from the Central Canada Bluesgrass Association.
Rounding out the trio is Mike Mezzatesta and James McEleney who are the mandolin player and bass player and vocals, respectively, for Toronto bluesgrass band The Unseen Strangers. While Collins was enjoying the success of his solo album in 2012, Mezzatesta and McEleney were enjoying the success of their band’s second album, Follow the Sound, which was produced by Collins. The record had the hit single ‘Rambler’s Plea’, which won Bluesgrass/Country Song of the Year at the 2012 International Acoustic Music Awards.
One aspect of the album that is noticeable at first listen is its high-quality production value, thanks to the engineering of Collins who has passionately and tirelessly worked on his producing skills over the past eight years.
“[Producing] is as much as part of the fun of creating music as actually playing an instrument in a lot of ways,” Collins told Raz Mataz. “So I kind of got hooked on it and over time have built my studio up and I usually do somewhere in the range of four or five other people’s albums a year.”
The music by the three accomplished instrumentalists off the LP helps heighten the quality of the production.
“A Play On Words is the debut of an actual Andrew Collins band, the guys are really dedicated to the music and we’re all good friends,” said Collins. “Presenting an actual band, we can go out and play the music exactly as it was recorded.”
If the trio does indeed perform their music “exactly as it was recorded” then those in attendance at Hugh’s Room can expect a highly energetic and entertaining evening.
The Andrew Collins Trio CD release party of A Play On Words kicks off at 8:30 p.m. at the Hugh’s Room on Tuesday, April 29.
Be sure to check out Andrew Collins at http://andrewcollinsacousticmusic.com/home
For now, watch this video for their acoustic arrangement of Bach’s ‘Vivace from Concerto in D Minor’, off of A Play On Words.