Overlooking the corner of Rachel and St. Denis street in Montreal stands the Église St. Jean Baptiste, an imposing 19th century cathedral revered for its acoustics and Baroque interior. In the fall of 2008, the city’s very own country-singing hero, Li’l Andy, convinced the priests and nuns of St. Jean Baptiste to let his band take over the church’s hallowed halls to record an album.
So they hauled in guitars, amps, a pedal-steel guitar, and a piano and set up underneath the crucifixes. They moved most of the equipment from the Treatment Room Recording Studio (Plants and Animals, Timber Timbre) into the sacristy and rigged up a control room. And there, for six days and nights, they played amongst the votive candles and empty pews, recording live-off-the-floor with no overdubs.
The result is Li’l Andy’s third album, All Who Thirst Come to the Waters—ten haunting songs that reverberate with the traditions of country and gospel music, and show a group of accomplished musicians rejoicing in the sacred echo of an empty cathedral.
Over the past six years, Li’l Andy & Karaoke Cowboy have earned a steadily-growing reputation as Canada’s foremost practitioners of country music for the thinking man. The full-length album Home in Landfill Acres was nominated for both Best Roots/Folk album at the Quebec Independent Music Awards (GAMIQ) and Best Album at the Montreal Independent Music Awards. During the past few years, the band’s touring has taken them to the Edmonton Folk Festival, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, and the Halifax Pop Explosion, appearing on the same stages as Steve Earle, Neko Case, Nick Cave, Calexico, and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
The Village Voice
"This is roots-based Americana that actually deserves to be made."
The Montreal Mirror
"Local yokel yodeller Li’l Andy does his own version of the Cowboy Junkies’ Trinity Sessions and records directly from the altar of Église St. Jean Baptiste, with the huge room spilling into the microphones. The natural ambiance of the holy studio is the perfect setting for the limping tempos as Andy’s tales of desperation, death and redemption careen over the rich sound. If this doesn’t tingle yer spine, best check you still have one." 8.5/10 Trial Track: “On My Way to Heaven Anyhow”
**** "Que ce soit avec Home In Landfill Acres (2006) ou son concert hommage à l'album Tonight's the Night de Neil Young, Li'l Andy a toujours excellé dans un country sombre et introspectif qu'il allège en glissant ici et là quelques titres aux rythmes galopants. La recette se poursuit sur ce troisième disque enregistré à l'église Saint-Jean-Baptiste. Les qualités acoustiques de l'endroit ont permis au Montréalais de vivre un moment de grâce. La réverbération est profonde, les guitares slide perçantes, les voix presque caverneuses et les complaintes fort touchantes. À la manière des Sadies ou de Neko Case, Li'l Andy débarque avec un disque qui a de l'âme."