The Hippo


Jun 6, 2020








Andrew Merzi. Courtesy photo.

An Evening With Andrew Merzi

When: Thursday, Jan. 19, 8 p.m. (dinner seating at 6 p.m.)
Where: Flying Goose Brew Pub & Grille, 40 Andover Road, New London
Reservations: Required – call 526-6899
Merzi is also performing Feb. 24 at British Beer Co. in Manchester.

Nashville taught
Andrew Merzi showcases at Flying Goose

By Michael Witthaus

 Nashville, packed with clubs, record labels and publishing houses, is a beacon of hope for singer-songwriters like Andrew Merzi. The New Hampshire native lived almost four years in Music City and spent many nights performing so-called “in the round” shows. 

Trading selections with other folksingers honed his craft. 
“I totally learned a lot of things being around that caliber of artists all the time,” he said in a recent interview. “You had to be ready to step on stage and go …  pull the best that you had out right away; didn’t have that warm-up time.”
At the same time, quick burst song pulls whittled away at one of Merzi’s key instincts. 
“I enjoyed playing there and met a lot of cool people, but I was losing my chops a little bit for doing longer gigs,” he said. “It was largely get on stage and do three or four songs with other people; then you’re off.”
Merzi headed back home to New Hampshire in late 2015. He’d departed his home state with a growing resume that included a sponsorship with Timberland and a pair of albums; he returned a young father. While Nashville was a great place to grow as a performer, it wasn’t home. 
“Our daughter came along, and we wanted to be around family here,” he said. “That was the main motivator, and [my wife and I] were both a little homesick.”
The presence of family and friends will help Merzi at his first showcase gig since returning. He’ll play Thursday, Jan. 19, at Flying Goose Pub in New London. The brewpub-restaurant’s Thursday night folk-singer series is a storied affair that’s welcomed greats like Ellis Paul, Patty Larkin, John Gorka and David Wilcox over nearly three decades. 
“Brooks Williams plays the weekend before me; Ari Hest has played there,” Merzi said. “That’s some pretty heavy hitters to be among, playing on the same stage.”
Over the years, he’d talked with Flying Goose owner Tom Mills about performing there; his new booker helped make it happen.
“I’m a little nervous because I wasn’t sure if I could fill the place, but it’s looking good, like a decent crowd,” he said. “It doesn’t hurt that I have a good-sized family here — they’ll come and bring friends. It’s gonna be kind of a family affair, friends and relatives.”
The long-format solo show provides Merzi with a chance to unveil a few new songs and dig into a catalog that began with his 2009 debut, Country Sun. 
“It will be fun digging back into my older songs that went by the wayside, because I feel there’s some good material I’ve neglected,” he said. “I’m always about the new thing, but people have been requesting them. I’m spending a lot of time rehearsing; it’s been so long.”
Merzi will  perform a more recent song about a beloved relative. 
“I have a great uncle who served in Vietnam and he’s always telling stories; he actually died this year for nine minutes, but they were able to resuscitate him and now he’s doing well,” he said. “I have a song about flying called ‘Wheels Up, Rings Off’  — you couldn’t fly with a ring on because it might get hooked on something.”
Several of Merzi’s newer songs explore his experience as a new father. 
“Family life, the challenges day to day of raising a daughter and keeping your marriage growing, that’s what’s been inspiring me,” he said. 
Club gigs will continue apace, with Merzi  playing a mix of covers and originals. He also has plans to record.
“I have a lot of ideas,” Merzi said.  “A good friend, Mike Moran,  is a really talented producer and drummer, so I think I’m going to start tracking at my home studio, and have him master. I may also go into his studio. I’ll put songs out one at a time as singles, then eventually [compile] them into an album. That’s the plan; I’m thinking about that all the time.”

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