Glen David Andrews has only been back in New Orleans for a few months since completing an intensive drug rehabilitation program, but the trombonist and vocalist has already written and rehearsed enough material for a new record.
With support from Threadhead Records, Andrews plans to go into the studio in March with his regular band to make the album, which is based on his experiences during recovery and will be titled Redemption.
Six of the songs scheduled for the album were written during Andrews’ three months in rehab at Right Turn, an addiction recovery institute in Massachusetts dedicated to treating musicians. One of those songs, “Surrender,” has becomes a staple of Andrews’ live performances in recent weeks.
“When you wake up in the morning, think of three to five things that can do to make your life better,” Andrews told a packed crowd at d.b.a. on Lundi Gras, then proceeded into a powerful gospel-based performance of “Surrender.”
Andrews’ return has been an adjustment. His songs are much more tightly arranged and professional than they were in the amazing off-the-cuff nights that used to occur when he was under the influence. Back then watching Andrews often was like observing an Evel Knievel stunt, thrilling and astonishing as he leapt into the void and somehow managed to find his way to the other side on the sheer merit of his talent. Several songs on his Live at Three Muses album include such moments and give the album quite an edge. Now Andrews is more careful and precise, channeling the energy efficiently and staying within himself. The craziness of the night depends on the audience, and the Lundi Gras vibe was off the scale. Andrews, who has been studying to improve his trombone technique, is already a noticeably more accomplished player. At one point he and saxophonist James Martin left the stage and played an incendiary call-and-response as the crowd of revelers formed a circle around them and urged them on with shouts and waving arms.
“I don’t like how I sound on a lot of the Three Muses album,” Andrews said. “I wish I could re-cut some of those songs. I’m a lot stronger now, healthier, and it shows in my playing and singing.”
Andrews has lined up a series of New Orleans all-stars to guest on the record, including Ivan Neville, Irvin Mayfield and Paul Sanchez.