Andy Zipf — How to Make a Paper Airplane
I think one of the lost arts in much of the current music landscape is subtlety. Thankfully, Andy Zipf, a songwriter based out of Jacksonville was thoughtful enough to secure the help of the best sublists around when taking on the album How to Make a Paper Airplane. Any musician worth their gravy would be humbled to rub elbows with the cast of greats on this one: Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant, Alison Krauss), Jennifer Condos (Ray LaMontagne, Joe Henry), Dennis Crouch (Emmylou Harris, John Fogerty), and Tyler Chester (Madison Cunningham, Andrew Bird). It was produced and mixed by Matt Williams, except the single, mixed by Mike Piersante (T Bone Burnett, John Batiste).
The opening track “Everything Is Fine. I’m OK. How are you?” sets the tone with quiet contemplation, albeit melancholy. Kind of a “strolling through Central Park in winter” vibe. What’s truly impressive is Andy’s musical chops, playing piano, acoustic guitar, mandolin, and omatone. Amen for the mellotron. The instrument is painted gracefully but is not overused to the point of novelty.
“Did You Know I Was a Ghost” is a classic. Has flavors of Paul Simon with fire-crackling woody guitar tones and opening lines like “Did you know I was a ghost? A feather in a flame. You struck the match and then you wrote my name.” I love that. Again the song builds subtly with a Norah Jones flavor lulling me into sublimation,
“Hey There Dragonfly” observes the freedom of the natural world that we envy when the bills are stacking up, tracking a Dragonfly’s path to the ocean without care. What’s really cool is how the melodies and musicianship seem to mirror the soaring yet subtle nature of the Dragonfly itself. Definitely saving this one for the “Painting and Drawing” playlist!
“It’s Hard to Pray Anymore” documents Andy’s broken faith without accusation, and gives birth to the true vulnerability of the record as a whole, with lines like “I just want to be counted. I can see now that I’m broken. I’d ask the Lord for some peace in the heart, but I don’t pray anymore.”
“God Coughed and Woke Me Up” is great for a contemplative walk or hike when you’re wondering what it’s all about. “Control is an illusion. Take a breath.” The strolling guitar picking and piano have a levitating quality that seems to walk the song itself.
“Flying in a Lucid Dream” shoots a few rays of sunshine through the window with an upbeat and tight rhythm and melody, dovetailing nicely from verse to chorus and back again. Great lines like “If I was flyin’ in a lucid dream. Feet first what does that mean? I’m lookin’ for a little escape from the Earth and the way she aches.” capture the listener for a ride through the great wide open.
The true power of How to Make a Paper Airplane is its ability to disarm me into contemplating all the simple beauty our world has to submit. Be it a Paper Airplane, a Dragonfly, a Lucid Dream, or just a simple walk. I think the world needs more appreciation of simple things. And I truly appreciate Andy Zipf and his music.
How to Make a Paper Airplane releases March 11th on all digital platforms and the first single ‘Did You Know I Was a Ghost’ comes out on Feb 25th.
Goes great with:
Garden State Soundtrack
Taking a Walk
Produced and mixed by Matt Wiliams
*”Did You Know I Was A Ghost?” Mixed by Mike Piersante
Andy Zipf — Vocals, acoustic guitar, mandolin, piano, ottomatone
Jay Bellerose — drums, percussion
Jennifer Condos — electric bass
Dennis Crouch — double bass
Tyler Chester — mellotron, organ, piano