From Carey Harmon
Picking a story that offers a complete picture of Andy is difficult. Entertaining, I promise, but each one would probably only reveal a small part of who I saw Andy to be. We shared many adventures, especially in the early days of the band – breakdowns, fires, crazy gigs (and people), joyous moments and difficult ones. It’s fair to say you get to know someone while doing something meaningful like making music together, taking the chances we did, and being in the bunk across from him for that many years. I watched him scour banks in small towns (because the ones in the big towns had already been hit by people like Andy), buying every silver dollar in the place, and bouncing them off his bunk because he could tell by the sound how much silver may be in them. For the record, I never personally saw him succeed. His bunk would be so full of instruments (and pieces of instruments) by the end of the tour, instruments that he had gathered along the way, that I honestly don’t know where he slept. It was like a calendar keeping track of how many days we’d been out and how long we had to go. If Andy’s bunk is full, it’s time to go home. Maybe it was because his bunk was full, but he stayed up to all hours on the bus, sober as a judge, looking for the worst movie he could find, and playing it really loud. There was also never a festival set, or jam session, or stroll through the campground in search of a pick, that he would sit out. He thought we were crazy for doing anything but.
The point is the Andy I knew and loved was always searching for something, with the search as significant as the result. I think he knew not every instrument he “had” to have was technically priceless, but they all had stories and shared experiences. They all played some part in someone’s life, perhaps many by the time they reached him. I think the same thing drove him to take any opportunity to make music with someone. Music was made by people, and he loved getting to know those people he shared the experience with, regardless of their level. There was something to be learned by doing and experiencing it.
There are people you meet in life that, for whatever reason stand out, demanding to be noticed, and honestly sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes not. Then there are people that just bring a presence. They don’t require that same attention, but rather brilliantly weave themselves so subtly and powerfully into the fabric of everything around them that it is unmistakable when they are not there, even if it’s not obvious what is missing and why. It’s deeper and more meaningful than strutting. That is Andy to me, musically and personally. It was perhaps his greatest talent and gift.