Andy Hersey

If you love live music, you’re going to love the person in this week’s Faces of Vail spotlight: Andy Hersey.

I first met Andy Hersey a few years ago and was instantly impressed with his talents. Not only does he have a great singing voice, but he’s also an incredibly talented songwriter and guitarist. After spending only one evening taking in the country music, I was a hooked! Since then, I’ve seen Andy play in a variety of venues around town. Every time, I’m impressed at the crowd he brings and the response he receives. He’s impossible not to love! Check out his answers and you will feel his enthusiasm for life coming through.

And that’s why he’s in the hot seat.

Mark your calendars! You can find Andy Hersey playing every Thursday evening from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Gary Ray’s.

Without further ado, here’s the man of the hour, MR. ANDY HERSEY!

1. You always have such great stories to go along with your original songs. I know from listening to you perform that much of your music is inspired by this area. Tell us a little about your background in Southern Arizona.

First of all, thank you for including me in GetVailAz, what a great idea! I’m sure this will be rewarding and embraced by the community. Congratulations, you go girl!

I’m glad the stories are welcomed, some songwriters claim ” if you explain it, you drain it”. I disagree, My favorite singer/ writers have never had a problem holding a listener and as a live audience member, I find it endearing when an artist let’s us see them in 3D… so to speak. Granted, sometimes it’s best if we count to four and play the next tune or in the words of one particular music publisher “don’t bore us, get to the chorus!”. That’s funny, right?! Timing really is everything.

As far as my background, I was raised on the east side of Tucson, not a ranching family. I started working summers and trying to learn about the trade on the Empirita and J-6 Ranch when I was 14 and moved onto La Posta Quemada ranch (now Colossal Cave state park) when I was sixteen. They would bus all of us Vail kids to Benson High school…. there was no High school in Vail. I remember riding my horse up to the Vail feed store to catch the bus on the occasion that my pick up would break down…… far too often!

A neck injury kept them from recruiting me to Desert Storm, so after High school, I went to Oklahoma Horseshoeing school ( I had been an apprentice for some time beforehand). I came back to AZ. and started working ranches, shoeing horses, singing any place they would have me, and raising a family around Sonoita and Patagonia.

I’m sure you’ll agree, Southern Az. is great inspiration for art of all kinds!

2. You got that right! Can you tell us your favorite thing about Vail specifically?

My favorite things about “the town between the tracks” are things we can’t quite see from the road (as the Chris Ledoux song might say). My memories of riding through the lush desert after a good rain, letting my horse find it’s way up pistol hill in order to survey the pastures to the west for cattle’ pulling calves out of the bogs down on the Cienega, riding under the trestle on Marsh Station road, Drinking an orange soda pop at the Vail feed store after school, waiving to the train engineer passing by about 50 yards away……those are my favorite formative memories. Now days I’m heartened by the diversity of the community and the good nature of so many of the people there.

3. Wow! You’ve had some fun experiences in this area. What is it about songwriting and singing that you love the most?

The best part about being a singer/songwriter is the people I get to meet. On top of the rewarding feeling a writer might experience from putting pen to paper and being understood or embraced by an audience, a performer (even at a local or regional level, like yours truly) often times finds themselves in conversations with a diverse and storied variety of people. There is much to be learned from an audience, leading to more song ideas. I think it’s cool…. anyway…. I love my job!

4. What gets you the most excited about going to play a show?

The excitement before a live show stems from the opportunity to create a good mood in the room through the premise of music. I play small rooms, very small. I’ve played big stages, opened shows for big names. So what? I made the decision to avoid the music industry while making a living playing music. Frankly, I didn’t like most of the people I met in “the industry” back when I thought I wanted to be famous, I’m proud to say I grew out of that.. I like it when the music helps a family of four enjoy their dinner/ evening (when at first they didn’t know there would be a musician playing). I like the idea of a first date in the corner both discovering they like the same song because whoever “that musician guy” is just happened to play it. I like listening to stories from audience members at an assisted living community, after an afternoon mothers day show, where we all sang “You are my sunshine” together for the last song. that’s where it’s at for me….no leather pants dancing around on T.V. for me, no fireworks going off, Just the good mood in the small room. That’s the stuff.

5. If you could play with any artist for one epic show, who’d you play with?

I’ve always wanted to play a show with Kris Kristofferson. I’m a fan of songwriters, he’s my favorite.

6. You have an amazing fiancee who supports you and your music. Tell us how you two met.

Yeah, my fiance…. Holly. I can’t believe she said “yes”! We’ve been together for six years, Our lives have changed drastically in the time we have known each other. I can attest, if we are truly in love, can live anywhere.We are very dedicated to each other.Love.Loyalty.Trust.

We met at a show I was playing…that never happens, by the way. Ya see….I was on stage with my band, the place was jumping. Just like a movie script, I was singing to the crowd when I noticed a wonderfully pretty lady in the very back of the room…staring a hole right through me, (did I mention this never happens?) the only person behind me on stage was the drummer, so in the middle of a song I turned to the drummer and said “is she looking at you…or me”? He said “who”? I said “never mind “? Later that evening, after a conversation neither of us wanted to end, we agreed we should probably get together sometime! Here again, that’s the stuff!

7. What’s one thing your fans don’t know about you?

What my fans don’t know about me? Ha Ha! you are too kind! how about Friends….let’s say “friends” rather than ‘fans”. I suppose my friends would be surprised to know that if I had it to do all over again, I would want to be a Jazz piano player. although I hear they make even less money than cowboy singers!

8. Promo time! Tell us about your exciting project in the works.

I’ve got a new set of songs set to be released early 2015….I’m as proud of this project as I have been of the other two discs. if anyone cares to browse around the website, please visit there is another guy named andy hersey with a website, but hes a golf pro, I wish I had his back swing!

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Lucretia Free