Americana & Roots Musicians Andra Faye & Scott Ballantine
Andra Faye and Scott Ballantine met years ago when Faye acquired her first guitar from then shop-owner and musician, Ballantine. Faye recalls taking a couple lessons from Ballantine at that time and kept in touch over the years. Their paths would cross occasionally, but it would not be until early 2012 when they got together as a duo. Ballantine noticed on Facebook that Faye had moved back to town and invited her over to play. They immediately got along musically and now are wrapping up their second CD.
Back in the 1970s, Scott opened the much-loved Guitar Shop on Broad Ripple Avenue. The guitar and music shop was the first in a series Ballantine owned. He was also known for his musical group, The Strugglers, a popular mainstay band throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. The Strugglers were the house band at the Hummingbird Cafe. Faye would attend Strugglers’ performances and would sit in with them occasionally, but the timing was not yet right for the two of them musically.
Faye left Indianapolis for Virginia to join Saffire – the Uppity Blues Women. She would be a part of this group for 17 years until the band retired. Faye was nominated twice for Blues Music Awards during her tenure with Saffire. Having traveled all over the world to places such as South Africa, New Zealand, Europe and South America, it was time to come home. In 2013, she graced the cover of Mandolin Magazine, calling her the “First Lady of the Blues Mandolin.” Moving back a few years ago to help take care of her 93-year-old mom, Faye was getting back into the local music scene when Ballantine contacted her on Facebook.
Both Faye and Ballantine have been known around town for ages and share a love of roots-Americana music. Some refer to their style as “acoustic blues.” Ballantine plays guitar with the dexterity of a seasoned veteran, while Faye’s strong vocals and amazing string skillset compliment one another beautifully. Faye also plays the electric and upright bass, mandolin, violin/fiddle and guitar.
Listening to the two perform together, you feel as though they have both come home. Their performances are so perfectly in sync; it is like they are family.
They released their first CD project in 2013, Laying Down Our Blues, to great acclaim with the greatest national praise coming from Blues Music Magazine. They have begun work on their second recording, planning a release for late 2014. They play and teach regularly in Indianapolis, and also tour and teach workshops across the country, including a music camp in Bar Harbor, Maine, every summer for the past three years.
The two enjoy performing everywhere, but their favorite venues are house concerts. House concerts provide an intimate setting; the attendees pay a lot of attention and are quiet, which is a change from restaurants and loud bars. This grassroots means of getting music to local folks came about by people who grew out of the smoky bar scene but still want to enjoy music.
Go to YouTube and look up “‘Take It Slow’ by Andra and Scott,” and you will hear to why this works for them.
You can also visit their Facebook page.
Excerpt from Blues Music Magazine Pete Sardon’s review of Andra Faye and Scott Ballantine, Laying Down Our Blues, self-released CD.
“Faye deftly plays her mandolin, provides all of the vocals, Ballantine is content to accompany with both acoustic and resonator guitar. For our musician readers, these sounds will both captivate your listening and make you a tad jealous over his craft in guitar technique. With its mellifluous vocals and virtuosic accompaniment, the first collaboration between Faye and Ballantine is a welcome addition to your blues library.”