Andy B.AND featuring Soulfolk – Look What the Cat Dragged In | Album Review

Andy B.AND featuring Soulfolk – Look What the Cat Dragged In


CD: 9 Songs, 34 Minutes

Styles: Roots, Americana, Contemporary Electric Blues Rock

What makes people go “wow?” CGI wizardry at the movies, for one. Fireworks on the Fourth of July, for another. So does an album that astounds without being too artsy, fascinates without being fancy, and is plain great.  That’s what New Jersey’s Andy Bernstein, known as Andy B.AND, presents along with Soulfolk. Look What the Cat Dragged In is a crisp, catchy collection of nine original songs running the gamut from roots to Americana to blues rock and back again. It’s succinct, clocking in at thirty-four minutes. That means it’s tailor-made for a rotation in one’s CD player during a backyard barbecue or pizza party. Its components may be simple, like shrimp, sausage and rice, but simmered together, they’re absolutely scrumptious. Add to that a dash of Andy B.’s near-perfect diction and more than a pinch of New Orleans flavor, and you’ve got yourself some spicy gumbo.

Bernstein, leading man of roots rock band The VooDUDES, has a lot to say about his music, its influences, and the course of his life’s journey. In a revealing Q&A with from Greece (, he expounds upon how American Roots music has influenced his view of the world and the paths he’s taken:

“My grandparents were all immigrants. Three of them lived into my adulthood, so I heard about their lives and processed that information through my own adult experiences. My father’s father came to America at 14, and loving cowboy stories, road the rails out west. Though the frontier was gone, he learned a lot of English from listening to the hobos singing [folk] songs – similar to what Woody Guthrie experienced when he traveled the country. So as a youngster when I would sing traditional American music, like “Candyman” on my new, solo album (or the many “trad” New Orleans songs on The VooDUDES’ discs), my grandpa would know the tune and be able to add to my understanding of it.

“My mom’s father had played music in Europe as a teenager. Once in America, he enjoyed the company of others who enjoyed music, particularly waltzes, which were the rhythm of so many early country songs. His experience was the fellowship of music.”

Joining Andy B. are Soulfolk: Gary Ambrosy on guitars, lapsteel, bottleneck, mandolin and vocals; Paul Daloia on electric bass and vocals; Bill Homeyer on drums, percussion and vocals; and Greg Stier on guitars and vocals. Guest stars are Dave Ambrosy on drums and Fred Saunders on bass.

Track number one is jumpin’ “Justine,” a ballad about a woman who can awaken even the most mummified: “If I was a dead man laid in my grave, lying in wait for Judgment Day, Justine come to my coffin and she let out a yelp – resurrected instantly without St. Peter’s help!” The solo in the middle is hotter than a heaping helping of jambalaya. Later on, take a tranquil journey on the “Master’s Ship,” promising a “peaceful ocean” to those who’ve been rejected by their peers, such as Galileo and Christ Himself. In the mood for a laugh? Hop on the “Leavin’ Train,” where Andy mentions the J. Giles Band’s hit “Love Stinks.” This number doesn’t – it’s sweet! “Incandescent Lightbulb Blues” brings back the 1950’s and homage to one of Edison’s greatest inventions, now passé and energy-inefficient. The tune itself burns halogen-brightly. Last but not least, boogie to “(A Mighty Funky) Groove Thing” like there’s no tomorrow.

Searching for a great CD? Look What the Cat Dragged In!

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