with host, Eric Sandstrom presents
“Music for thinking folks” – You who listen make all things possible – thank you, and enjoy! Follow me here for more about the music and thoughts on the many things that inspire it – please share with your friends!
Andrew’s solo performances are like one man theatre; the songs woven together with humorous stories & poetic drama, and traversing influences from Appalachia, tasteful slide & jazzy blues, feisty anthems, rustic folk, and a touch of fancy flatpicking on a Carter Family tune. Together with founding Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson, Andrew’s band Beyond Borders expands that range dramatically, blending an eclectic mix of acoustic and electric instruments along with crisp arrangements and tight 3 and 4-part harmony.
Since permanently leaving his corporate environmental engineering career in 1996, the award-winning folk and Americana artist’s musical journey has traced over half a million miles of blue highways and small towns, and earned him a wealth of critical acclaim and enthusiastic fan response for his five CDs and captivating performances.
Wherever McKnight takes the stage, audiences are at once spellbound and relaxed by his entertaining rural stories delivered with just the right touches of down home humor, causing one concertgoer to label him “equal parts Robert Frost, William Least Heat-Moon and Jeff Foxworthy!”
Over his 15-year career he has enjoyed many accolades within the folk music world; Folk Alliance International Performance Alley Showcase (2010), 2011 Southeast and 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Formal Showcases, a Performing Songwriter Top 12 DIY selection and the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase, Kerrville New Folk Finalist and Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist. Andrew and his band & Beyond Borders are members of the prestigious Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Assistance Program. His five solo CDs have earned much critical acclaim and airplay around the world as well as a wealth of NPR stations and several XM/Sirius satellite shows.
Taking his cue from the lyrics of his award-winning song “Good Things Matter”, he often shares his talents both on the road and close to home near northwestern Virginia’s Blue Ridge to help “neighbors in need”, such as local programs for mental health and elder care, a Massachusetts community radio station, a California at-risk youth program, and a suburban Seattle food bank.
In addition to his passion for community causes, he is a longtime advocate for preserving American landscapes and heritage. Several of McKnight’s songs are rooted in Appalachian history and culture, including the haunting Civil War ballad “The Road to Appomattox”. He has also long been active in helping find solutions to the Appalachian agony of mountaintop removal coal mining.
Those passions, and the thoughtful ways he expresses them, have drawn legions of fans who sustain his independent career. In the early 90s Andrew grasped the power of the internet to grow and connect with a loyal listenership, and his career has blossomed largely through their “efangelism” instead of the traditional elements of the music business. Many friends and fans even host concerts in their homes for 30 to 50 listeners, venues he refers to as “safe houses on the folk underground railroad”.
While no stranger to elite stages like the Kennedy Center, the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival or the Katharine Hepburn Theater, McKnight’s music seems to spread most rapidly through many of the diverse causes that have embraced his music over the years. He’s been recently profiled in a Wine Compass video episode with his friends at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, his song “Made by Hand” is in ‘Low Coal’, a new movie about the West Virginia coalfields, and “Good Things Matter” was featured in a recent podcast of Bread for the World, a global faith-based organization working to end hunger. His environmental anthem “The Other Way” appears on ‘Songs from the Tackle Box’, a 2010 compilation CD dedicated to fisherman and responsible stewardship of America’s rivers and resources.
His music is heard on hundreds of broadcast and internet radio programs around the world including many National Public Radio stations, XM Satellite, and the nationally syndicated “Art of the Song” and “River City Folk”.
In addition to his own performing and recording career, Andrew has produced or performed on recordings by many different artists, been a contributing writer for Blue Ridge Country and Americana Rhythm magazines, and is a sought-after clinician for songwriting and music business workshops. He enjoys an artist endorsement with Elixir Strings.