Sunday, November 15, 2015

Andrew Lipke: Siddhartha

Playing for a tribute band is not necessarily the most creatively fulfilling activity for a musician. Andrew Lipke is keyboardist/guitarist/multi instrumentalist for the best Led Zeppelin tribute band on the circuit, Get the Led Out. The band travels the US in a proper rock star tour bus, travelling with a crew, a full lighting rig and enough guitars to open a guitar store. Up to five nights a week, they give two hour shows with note perfect renditions of Led Zeppelin classics and deep cuts. 

Andrew Lipke in Rochester, July 2015.
But there's more to Lipke than keyboard player extraordinaire playing other peoples songs, and he spends his time at home at home in Pennsylvania producing, playing with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and Pittsburg Symphony or singing God Bless America at the Phillies game. Earlier this year, Lipke released the first of a series of albums based on the novel Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Hesse’s novel had an immediate impact on Lipke and he says he “always knew it would be the inspiration for something I would create.”

Lipke may be a Zeppelin devotee playing in a Zeppelin band, but Siddhartha owes very little to Led Zeppelin, even if opening track, The One does start off with a drone that Jimmy Page would approve of. 

I love the second and third tracks, Erased, which has a New Radicals pop groove to it, and Head Down Vagabonds, which defies comparisons, save a hint of Christmas Vacation in the melody. 

Then there's I'm Gone which is on the first round ballot of this years Grammy Awards in the "best arrangement, instruments and vocals" category. Even if Lipke doesn't make the final ballot, that's quite a nice recognition, and well deserved: the arrangement on  I'm Gone is beautifully orchestrated and ends with a harpsichord plus choral voices outro. 

If you see Get the Led Out coming to your town, it is a must see band. and know when you see them your not just hearing the best music, played by high caliber musicians, but in at least one case, a Grammy caliber musician.

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