Andrew Scotchie is an Asheville-based musician and event coordinator. He currently is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the band Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats, as well as being the head coordinator for Asheville’s own Barnaroo Festival. 2015 saw the release of their most current studio album, We All Stay Hungry, and their live album Live from Highland Brewing in 2017. Scotchie and his group deliver high-impact, high-intensity shows in what seems like a never-ending tour cycle. All information can be found on their website, While you’re there, buy a CD. Help a River Rat out. The bands latest studio album can also be found at Sullivan’s Records in Charleston WV.     


Do you find being an event coordinator helps you when promoting your band?

Absolutely. Especially after several years of trial and error.   It opens my eyes to different aspects of the industry. It establishes an audience; who you’re playing to, who you’re marketing to. I make a constant effort to market to the people and make them feel involved. It’s a personal thing. Fans of the music and people in general want it to be personal.  They don’t want to feel like a number or an algorithm. I constantly make an effort to get to know the people we work with and let them know they are part of a large musical family. Organizing the festival has also shown me the importance of delegation. Assigning tasks and relieving the pressure in certain areas is crucial to keeping your sanity.    Letting people help you with your music is so important. It’s a team effort. You must have a team and you need to always be learning something.


What projects do you have planned in the future?

Right now we are really focused on delivering the best performances possible and letting songs evolve.  This fall we are planning a new album. The last studio record came out in 2015, and a live album in 2016. We’re due for a new studio album, but at the moment we want to deliver high-energy shows and break into new markets so we can keep building our fan base.  Once the touring season calms down, we will be able to focus primarily on the making of a new record that adequately captures where we are dynamically as a band and as individuals. I am very excited about how the band has progressed and the way the songs have grown.   


What is something you would like people to know about your music that you often don’t get the chance to express?

I don’t want to say the message can get lost but sometimes when you play a loud rock show, it’s hard to clearly hear the lyrics and truly pick apart the message. We write a lot about the importance of  family and good friends. We pick apart greed and injustices done to hard working people. These things matter to me and I don’t want the message to get lost in the adrenaline of the show.

   I also write a lot of songs that offer a hopeful message to those in despair or going through loss.  My dad Tom was shot and killed on my 15th birthday so quite naturally, I had to pull myself out of a lot of depression and music was more than helpful to me (and still is).   I think music is some of the best medicine for those dealing with depression/loss or just confused about the path they are on. I like to remind people through song that they are not alone in what they go through.  


Tell us about your current group, Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats.

Genre wise, we are a high energy rock n roll band but we have influences of 70’s funk, alternative rock, blues, neo soul and appalachian music in our sound. Primarily, we tour as a three-piece and sometimes bring a horn section with us, but the group actually started as a busking duo in 2012. At the time, all I wanted to do was get back into acoustic writing.   I spent some time in punk bands as a teenager, and I got very tired of playing three chord songs and being angry during the entire set. Although I do respect and pull from my punk roots, rock n roll, soul and blues music speaks to me a bit more. I find those genres a bit more dynamic and emotionally appealing.


We added a drummer [Eliza Hill] in 2012. Our first electric show was in the same year. At that point, we were trying to do anything and everything to get a show.  We ended up releasing our first album, Soul & Sarcasm, in 2012. In 2013, we started touring regionally.   Slowly but surely we started to build a family and a network on the road.   It’s been really inspiring to stay in touch with the fans that have seen us since the very beginning.   There are still tons of places to go but I am thankful for the friends we have made thus far.


What upcoming gigs do you have?

Im particularly excited about the month of August because of the Solar Eclipse shows (WNC is apparently one the best places in the country to see the eclipse) and because of my return to Big Fork Montana to study & perform at Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop/Festival.  Here are some shows I am really looking forward to! Full show/tour info can be found on our website


August 4-Savannah GA – Barrelhouse South.  Opening for NW Izzard with Isaac Corbitt

August 5-Clayton GA- Universal Joint (outdoor show)

August 19-Franklin NC – The Lazy Hiker (outdoor Eclipse show with The Company Stores)

August 20- 98.1 the River in AVL presents “Homegrown” concert series at AVL Food Park

August 21- Bryson City NC for a solar eclipse party

August 25-Sept 3- Back to Big Fork Montana to study and perform at Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop/Festival.  


We will also return to Asheville Barnaroo festival on Sept 30.   That is always one of our favorite AVL area plays. Feels like a big family reunion and this year the festival will celebrate 5 years at Frannys Farm.  The festival has benefitted the Asheville Music School since 2014.

Friends can also visit for FULL tour dates.  This time of year, we are always adding more and announcing new cities.   And anyone interested in learning more about AVL Barnaroo, can visit


Where do you think the future of music is headed?

I think the “future” of music belongs to those who NEED music to survive, want to conserve artistic integrity and those who continue to tell great (and truthful) stories.   I really look up to artists like Jason Isbell and Ryan Adams because in an industry where its trendy to clean up your sound and image, they are still focusing on the raw emotional power and truthful impact of songs or storytelling.   I think that soul, rock and roll, and neo blues are on an upswing. I love to think that it’s 2017 and bands like St. Paul and the Broken Bones are selling out shows. That rich soul sound originated decades ago but still remains relevant and moves people deeply.  


There are artists who more or less produce music, but they don’t perform it.  I respect producers and those who collaborate but artists who write their own music and perform their own music with raw energy have the most staying power.  The future of music will be quite healthy for those willing to work hard. Some people now say that it’s harder to be a band since so many people are doing it, but consistency is key and can set you apart from others.   If you stay at it, take what you feel to be the best advice, learn from your mistakes and create truthful music, there is no reason you cannot do it the rest of your life. I think the southeast is a prime example of DIY bands/festivals finding success after working hard and staying true to their goals.   


In short, I’m not scared for the future of music as long as people continue writing truthful songs and advocate love. It’s cool that people differentiate between Top 40’s pop and truthful music or the undercurrent music scene. It’s cool that it’s 2017 and people are still into music of the past or respecting the roots.   


– Harley Wince