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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Local folk performer brings music to shattered Haiti

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Music is a powerful thing,' says singer/guitarist Andy Juhl, who will lend his talents to Living Media International.
This week, Andy Juhl will leave the rural landscape that has long inspired him, bound for storm-torn Haiti. He plans to be work there for an organization called Living Media International which uses the arts to enrich lives and spur positive change. He will be teaching guitar lessons as well as bringing a few guitars along with him which he plans to donate to the cause. Andy will also be helping Living Media International in the process of setting up a small recording studio as well as collaborating with local musicians.

Andy Juhl is one of many musicians and songwriters in the area. He is well know for his one-man shows at King's Pointe. Musicians like Charlie Leissler, Josh Weitzal, Bridget Durst, Brooks Begay, and Laura Bernhardt are some of many who have all performed with Andy at some point along the way. If you are unfamiliar with these names, Laura Bernhardt and Josh Weitzal host "jam sessions" at the Lake Avenue Lounge on Wednesday nights and Bridget Durst hosts an acoustic "jam" at the Copper Cup in Cherokee.

Many of the area artists consider themselves to be a variety of folk, rock, and pop with their own unique characteristics. They all frequently play shows together in various configurations and assist in recording when possible. "It is my hope that people will discover and appreciate all the amazing original music that is going on in this area, it's not all cover bands. There is something special and magical about listening to live, original music that I encourage everyone to experience."

What really continues to drive him to play music is that he not only loves music, but he also loves to help people. To Juhl, benefit concerts are the best way to combine the two and create something positive in the world. He says the best part about everything is that he's able to meet and work with so many inspiring people involved in these organizations. "There are so many compassionate and conscientious people everywhere that it gives me hope for humanity."

Andy says that he has always been drawn to music and even as a small child would constantly be listening to music. Around 5th grade or so, he began listening to the Beatles and was inspired to learn to play music. He really began to focus on being a working musician by playing in bands and writing songs after studying music in college. "Music is a very powerful thing" Juhl says, "and can evoke all kinds of emotions in both the listener and the performer. It has the ability to motivate and call people to action." His music is described as folk/rock and similar to that of Neil Young with many of his songs being about life, love, and being socially conscientious. His fourth album is expected to be finished in late February or early March. He has already begun to record many of the songs for the next album to possibly be released this year as well.

Andy Juhl began putting on benefit concerts a little more than a year ago when he and a friend organized a show in support of UNICEF. Soon after, Juhl booked and played a week long tour of the midwest with benefit concerts at each stop with charities that ranged from local to international nonprofit groups, environmental causes, LGBT rights, food programs, free medical clinics, a piece and justice center, farming sustainability, domestic violence support groups, and several others. When he's not playing for benefits or fun, Andy lives with his wife and two daughters on a farm west of Cherokee. Juhl says he plans to continue to play benefit shows and "spread the good" as much as he can. "If I can make a difference in this world with my music, great. If not, well at least I'm having a lot of fun trying. "

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