Artist You Should Know: Andrew Scott Denlinger
Andrew Scott Denlinger has been a force in the Chicago music scene since he started. This past year has been all about stepping back into the forefront musically for him, and his recent two singles, “Traveling Band” and “Alright (Feelin’ Pretty Fine), have done well with over 200,000 streams collectively on Spotify.
This month, Andrew is set to drop his third single and looks to keep taking steps forward winning over the ears of music fans both locally and nationally. We recently took some time to catch up with him to find out more about his journey, check out his music, and learn what is in the future for him.
We started our conversation by digging into what influenced Andrew as a musician, here is what he had to say.
“I am inspired by so many different things. Raised playing classical violin and piano as a small child, I was inspired by the classical melody of so many composers.
I cut my rock n roll teeth listening to 90’s grunge like Nirvana, Bush, Silverchair and Alice In Chains. I became enamored with metal bands like Metallica, Pantera, Megadeth, and Ozzy.
I remember around the time I was 10 or 11 my older sister gave me a “class” on 80s pop rock.
I’ve definitely been inspired by underground punk and hardcore. Even if the music I’m releasing right now is far more commercial than anything from these bands, I cannot separate myself from the ideological ethos of that scene. Authentic lyrics, passionate performance, and intricate musicality are hugely important to who I am.
I’m also hugely inspired by songwriters. Rock, country, pop- it doesn’t matter. I love people who can write a lyric that says everything you’ve ever been feeling. Stapleton is one everyone mentions these days, but it’s for good reason. The man knows how to write life into his songs. Tom Petty stayed creative, authentic, and full of life till the end. Dave Grohl has always been able to write songs that engage my soul, plus the fact that he just rocks.
Music for me is never passive. That plays out in my live shows, in my writing and recording, and what I listen to. I love music that moves me from within, that elevates my moment and existence.”
This diverse background really shows through in his music. We will talk more about the upcoming single in a minute, but check out the other two songs we mentioned earlier to see what we mean.
Now, let’s turn our attention to the new single, ‘Slowdown’, dropping on February, 11th.
We asked Andrew about the track and here is what he told us.
“‘Slowdown’ is a song I wrote in 2018 down in Nashville with my friend Rick Tiger, who was a longtime country music songwriter and an incredible story teller. I had been sitting with this mental “picture-idea” for a while:
At that time, I had been consistently playing a lot of shows, for a while. The years before 2018 had gotten increasingly busy with increasing demands. I was trying to balance becoming a Dad (twice!)- having these two beautiful girls with my wife (my first was born in 2016), work, and band life.
The Nick Lynch Band had been playing around 150 dates a year and we were stretching out to the West and East Coast regularly which meant I could be away from home for stretches at a time. Life was very good but I knew I needed to find a moment to recharge, refocus, and slow things down a little.
Our schedule was generally 2–3 shows a weekend and even if we weren’t playing in the Chicagoland area (where I am from)- if I could make it back for my Sunday morning responsibilities at our church (where I also work) I would drive through the night to lead worship in the morning. Sometimes that means getting very little sleep.
I was getting burnt out. In all honesty… I was past burnt by that point. I was crispy!
When you drive a lot at night, or in the country, you know about those quick speed-limit slowdowns. You learn to watch out for those little towns where the speed limit could drop immediately, and there was probably someone waiting with a radar gun pointed your way.
Over time I would find myself waiting for those kinds of “slowdown.” You knew when they were coming and you knew you could expect another eventually. That image just kept coming back to my mind and after a while it began to evolve and blend with that other “slowdown” I knew my soul desperately needed.
So when I met up with Rick Tiger to write this one, I told him all this stuff. That’s how every song we wrote started. We would just sit and talk. We’d talk about life, what was happening around us, and our dreams for the future. So I told him about all of this stuff that was going on. I sang a couple lines that I had been working through.
Almost immediately Rick said to me “Now Andrew, are you really sure you want to co-write this one with me? I really think you could put this together on your own. You sure you want to share this one?” I told him “Yeah man. I don’t want to do this one by myself. I’d really love to tell this story with you.”
And so we did! We sat for an hour… (well, he did a little more pacing) and we hammered this thing out!
‘Slowdown’ encapsulates everything I was longing for at that moment, and still do. I still remember my one-year-old (at the time) running over to me with this huge smile on her face, while I was writing and saying to me “Slow down Daddy! Slowdown!” It’s one of those memories you’d like to lock in your head forever. Songs like this help me do that. They help me keep my memories… to keep my moments accessible, even years later.
I did a lot of the tracking for this one in 2020. Talk about a slowdown! It definitely hit me while in the studio, and helped me re-frame the pandemic that we all were facing. Instead of lockdowns, social distancing, and closures being this stress-point for me, I began to see the blessings in between: the opportunities with my young kids I wouldn’t have had, the time with my wife at the end of the day. I saw beauty within the chaos that we all felt.
Now, finally approaching the release of this song in 2022 I was hit by another slowdown. My wife Rayann went into the hospital on December 9th for a list of symptoms with no identified cause. She didn’t come home until January 9th. Christmas and New Years were interesting to say the least! I had put life on pause, trying to see and care for my wife when I could and care for my girls, trying to keep life as normal as possible for them.
It was uncertain, it was scary, but then it hit me again. Sometimes the “slowdowns” come, even if you’re not looking for them. And for us, that slowdown was good. Rayann came home after the doctors properly identified a very rare condition (Cushing’s Syndrome on the Adrenal Gland) and were able to perform a surgery to correct it. We are expecting our third child in April and the baby is healthy even through all this craziness. Sometime’s “slowdowns” are blessings you never thought you needed.
I sure didn’t plan for it but the release of this song couldn’t have been more appropriate for my life right now. The “slowdown” of our life definitely came, and I am confident that we will come out stronger on the other end.
‘Slowdown’ is my wife’s favorite song and our daughter’s love to sing it too. It’s a snapshot of my life, but I hope others see a picture of their’s in there too. That’s the kind of stuff I’ll be thinking about when we play it at shows. I can’t wait for people to hear this one!”
It’s clear in both his music and in talking with Andrew that he is a storyteller at heart. It shines through in his songs and makes each song and line incredibly enjoyable. While we’re on the topic of lyrics, we asked about his favorite lyric in the song.
“I think my favorite line is one that Rick wrote:
‘Time can be a friend and an enemy
when it don’t forget the memory ‘
Our memories can be the biggest blessing or a curse and this line beautifully encapsulates that dichotomy. Our deepest memories are generally cemented by the love we feel about them. When we still have a connection to that “love” it becomes one our favorite memories, the ones we wish we could travel back to, one that we love visiting in our dreams. When we experience a tragedy or a separation in life occurs, the deep love we feel becomes our heartache. Would we have wished the moment, person, or place never existed? Probably not. Our lives are marked by special moments. Some, though temporary, fill and color our journey. Others endure, becoming the hallmarks and story-arc of our pilgrimage through life.
My friend Rick Tiger passed away this year in September. It was extremely unexpected, but we had a moment earlier in 2021 when I got to visit him at his house for lunch and to write what would be our final song together. We did what we do, talked about life, our family, and dreams, and then we put it into a song. That is a memory I hope to keep forever. The song we wrote that day (in March of 21) will do that for me. ‘Slowdown’ will continue to do the same thing. It brings me right back into that writer’s room with my friend and I can still hear his voice. Those kind of memories can be heartbreaking, but they are beautiful.”
Seeing the beauty in life, even in its biggest challenges is something that often can only be expressed through art. The meaning behind this song is sure to pull at listeners’ heartstrings.
Before we let Andrew go, we asked him why listeners should check out his music.
“I’ve been longing for the days where we had artists and bands like Petty, The Eagles, and Seger. I’m not trying to be these guys, but I sure love their inspiration. If you love rock music and bands that cross genre and blend sound like classic-rock bands used to do, then my vibe might be up your alley.
You’ll find hooks that stick in your brain and a melody that begs to be hummed along with. You’ll hear some incredibly talented friends of mine, ripping it up and sharing their creativity within the songs. If you’ve been longing for some good rock bands recently, you should check these singles out.”
Make sure to follow along with the links below and check out ‘Slowdown’ when it comes out on February, 11th.