Decatur folk singer Amy Andrews plays for ‘Gay Ole Opry’ on Thanksgiving


Amy Andrews and The Skipperdees
Gay Ole Opry benefit for the North Star Fund
Thursday, Nov. 22
7 p.m. and 8 p.m. EST
Pay what you can, proceeds benefit Hurricane Sandy relief

Yes, there is quite the gay following of folk and country music in the Big Apple. Andrews says she even has plans to bring a Gay Ole Opry franchise to Georgia.

“I love it. There is a dedicated group of musicians and listeners,” Andrews says of the singer/songwriter scene in New York.

But the Brooklyn venue was devastated in the storm and musicians are still reeling from the damages. So in the spirit of the season, Andrews decided she would do what she does best to help out — sing not for supper but after supper to raise money while also bringing people together for an intimate evening of music.

“This concert is accessible to everyone. And we’re hoping because it’s Thanksgiving, everyone will be feeling generous,” she says. “It’s really important to pull together … and let’s be with loved ones and do this wonderful thing.”

“We also happen to be in town on that day,” she adds with a laugh.

Andrews, who identifies as queer, is a Baltimore native and moved to Decatur, Ga., about two years ago, drawn to the city after touring here and finding a community very supportive of folk music — after all, the Indigo Girls hail from Decatur.

“I was in a folk trio in Baltimore and one of my bandmates was from Atlanta. Every time I came down here, people would come out to hear us, not even knowing who we were,” she says. “There are more listening rooms here than any place I’ve visited.”

Andrews is grateful for the year’s she had as well. She gained national press and was featured on NPR. Her Feminist Book Store Tour is a labor of love that was funded through a successful Kickstarter project.

But folk music wasn’t her original journey. Classically trained, Andrews was on the path to become an opera singer and aspired to sing like her major influences such as Frank Sinatra and even Bette Midler.

But she was also raised on folk and blues, including Bonnie Raitt, and about five years ago realized she wanted to have a a more intimate relationship with her audience than an opera singer.

And now with an internet fundraiser concert, she hopes to be welcomed into people’s homes during the Thanksgiving holiday.

“We’re very fortunate to have what we have and to be able to give. We’re going to be in a house in Decatur singing and talking and hope people are feeling generous,” she says.

What are her Thanksgiving meal plans? Well, she and The Skipperdees are vegetarians, so tofu will play prominently.

“For non-vegetarian and vegan family members, there will be a traditional turkey dinner that I am lovingly preparing for them by calling Whole Foods, placing an order, and picking up,” she says with a smile.

“For the rest of us, I am pan frying and baking tofu. Sides to include: fresh green beans and garlic sweet potatoes, regular mashed potatoes, vegan mac and cheese (nutritional yeast!!), arugala/spinach, rosemary stuffing,” she adds.

Because this is her first Atlanta Thanksgiving, Andrews is hoping a plate of mini-gherkins doesn’t show up on the table.

“My mother’s Baltimore Thanksgivings always have a small platter of them. No idea why or when that tradition began,” she says.

Check out a “promo” video for the concert Andrews did with The Skipperdees:

And also Andrews singing “Wayfaring Stranger”