In today’s music market, it takes a truly unique voice to command the attention of listeners. Chicago-native Andrew Ripp combines a voice that invokes both vulnerability and soul with a talent for undeniable hooks, setting the stage for him to be a name you will recognize for years to come.
Operating independently of a label, Ripp focuses on touring and has recently shared the stage with Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Fiction Family (Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Sean Watkins of Nickel Creek) and Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers, among others. This spring, Ripp and his band are heading overseas to play for the U.S. troops stationed abroad.
On his debut album Fifty Miles to Chicago, Ripp aimed to create an organic album reminiscent of those made in the 70’s and by artists like Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, and Hank Williams. Musicians Pete Maloney (Dishwalla, Tonic), keyboard player Will Hollis (Eagles), and steel guitar player Eric Heywood (Ray LaMontagne) were brought in to help create a timeless record based around Ripp’s rhythmic guitar playing and soulful voice. From the electricity of the full-band backed, organ-driven groove of “Get Your Smile On”, to the solo acoustic guitar and vocals of “It’s All Good”, and the heart-wrenching rock ballad of “Dresden Wine”, Ripp does just that.
“I wanted to make the record on my own,” Ripp states. “All the recordings I had done in the past hadn’t really represented me in the way that I wanted to be represented.”
Ripp co-wrote and co-produced Fifty Miles to Chicago with songwriter Randy Coleman and brought on Dan Lavery, former bass player of the rock band Tonic, as producer. Funded by Andrew himself, the majority of the album was recorded in Lavery’s back-house studio in Los Angeles.
“This record really portrays who I am not only as an artist but as a person,” Andrew says of writing the album. “Honesty goes a long way because you can see right through it when somebody is slopping words on a page. And I feel like we took the time that was necessary to really work through every word.”