"Tiger Tattoo" (2003) marked a new direction in Andrew Calhoun's songwriting journey, with an emphasis on storytelling. The title track concerns a woman he met on a temp job in Portland, Oregon in October, 2000.
"And she looks so pale, like she's wasting away
I lend her my walkman, to get through the day
She brings Halloween cookies, silly names make us laugh
And she shows me a white tiger, tattooed on her calf
Shows me a tiger tattoo on her calf"
Tracks 2-5 comprise an autobiography; "Goin' Down to See John Prine" is Calhoun's most explosive performance piece; "When I Have Arms Again" explores the cruel riddle of mental illness though the Icarus myth. Dave Carter did the vocal arrangement for "Joy" and sings on the chorus, along with Tracy Grammer and Claire Bard. The final two tracks, "I Shall Not Look Away" and a setting of Seigfried Sassoon's "Everyone Sang" are tributes to Dave Carter, created shortly after his death in July, 2002.
"Tiger Tattoo" rose to #8 on Folk-DJ in November, 2002, and was on the 2003 top ten list for WFMT and WDET.
"Smile, Andrew. Tiger Tattoo is your masterpiece." -Rich Warren, Sing Out!
"Calhoun is a master at story songs, finely crafted works that swiftly and economically capture a moment or express an emotion. Like the best novelists, he is able to assume different personas and see the world through other people's eyes." -June Sawyers, Chicago Tribune
"Andrew Calhoun tells the truth. To my knowledge, there is no better songwriter alive."