The Rundown: Andy Shauf

We caught up with the Canadian singer-songwriter as he tours the world in support of his latest album The Party, which has been hailed by NPR as "robustly realized" and is one of our favorite releases of the year. You can grab a copy of his new record right here.

Since you're on tour right now, what are the five things that you couldn't live without on the road? 

1. My family got me an e-reader for Christmas last year so that's always with me. It's a real space saver compared to traveling with books.

2. I always bring oil of oregano. I feel like that keeps the sickness away.

3. I have my parka with me on this tour as it's winter time. I couldn't live without that in Canada.

4. Long-johns are also a winter tour must-have item. Keep those legs warm.

5. ABBA Gold keeps me from being grumpy in the morning.

Was spending time outdoors a big part of growing up in Regina? Is there anything in particular that you like to do?

I enjoy fishing and camping. I'm not really the most outdoorsy person; where I grew up no one really did that much outdoorsy stuff. We mostly caught frogs and rode bikes.

"I have been visiting the Skyline Restaurant quite a bit there. Feels a bit like family. A family that sells me beers."

When you're not on the road or in the studio, how do you like to spend your time? Is there anywhere that it feels especially nice to come back to after a tour? 

I just moved to Toronto, so I'm still getting to know it and don't spend a lot of time outside my apartment when I'm home. But I have been visiting the Skyline Restaurant quite a bit. Feels a bit like family. A family that sells me beers.
You were recently included in Jeff Tweedy's roundup of his favorite songs this past summer, and we just finished a Field Guide to Chicago where he served as tour guide. Did Wilco mean anything special to you when you were first starting out as a musician? 
Yeah Wilco were pretty influential for me. They've made some pretty incredible records. It's really sort of weird to think that one of my heroes likes my music, but it's pretty cool.

You released "The Party" this past May. What can you tell us about the inspiration for the album? It seems to be pretty heavily narrative-driven and tells quite a few stories. 

I've really gotten into writing story songs these past few years, so these followed that theme. The initial intention wasn't to have all the songs from "The Party" take place in one location, but as the writing progressed, I realized I could make that happen and it helped tie the whole thing together. 
Is there one album in particular that has been a favorite of yours this year? Is there anyone who you'd like to see play live?

Ryley Walker's "Golden Sings That Have Been Sung" is probably my favorite album from this year. I've seen him play live a few times, but I'd like to see him again. He's really good and his band is amazing.

Thomas McDermott