"Right Where She Wants To Be: Durham Fiddler Andersen’s New CD Garners National Attention"
Foster's Daily Democrat Showcase Magazine January 30, 2003 By John Nash

The bow gracefully slides back and forth along the taut strings of Joyce Andersen’s fiddle, creating a sound half haunting and half majestic, grabbing the listeners’ ears to take them on a four-plus minute ride of an intense blues music experience.The fact that the song’s title is "I’m Ready" and it appears as track No. 6 on her aptly titled new compact disc "Right Where I Should Be" is not lost on Andersen. At this point in her life, the one-time Durham resident, who now calls the oceanside town of York, Maine, home, is ready and right where she should be — both professionally and personally.
"I’m feeling it. I’m feeling right where I should be," Andersen said. "In my life, I’m settling down, but I’m also moving forward. I’m coming from a strong point of knowing where I am."

Andersen is slated to host a CD release concert for "Right Where I Should Be" on Sunday at the Unitarian Church in Portsmouth. The CD, which is garnering some national attention from public radio disc jockeys, is Andersen’s second solo release, following up her "The Girl I Left Behind" CD that she released in the fall of 2000.The concert, slated to begin at 7 p.m., will showcase Andersen’s ability as a solo artist after a career spent either playing as part of a band or as a side performer to others on the stage."I’ve been known as a side gal. I’ve been known to play with all these other people," Andersen said. "It’s my first big hometown show. I’ve sang there before and it’s a beautiful room, a very uplifting room. I feel this is my musical coming out party."

In a sense it is.While music has been a part of her life for as long as she can remember — she ditched piano lessons at a young age to take violin lessons when she was 9 years old from Louise Wear of Durham — the Joyce Andersen that will take the stage in Portsmouth is a far cry from the classically trained violinist of her youth.After graduating from the University of Vermont, majoring in psychology in 1990, Andersen returned to the Seacoast, spending many Friday nights taking part in Irish music sessions at The Press Room in Portsmouth. She learned some fiddle tunes, and met and became inspired by Harvey Reid, a nationally known folk guitarist, autoharp player and songwriter from the region.

"It was like being reborn," she said. "I just started realizing the world had been hiding all this amazing music from me."
As she continued to grow musically, Andersen was also growing as a person, straying again from her childhood region to spend nearly a year busking in Europe. She returned to the states and enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, studying the fiddle.She moved to Nashville after her time at Berklee and did some touring with bands before moving to New York — a move that would become a big step in her growing as a solo musician.
"That’s when I started singing and writing my own songs," Andersen said. "I was compelled to do it. When I got a guitar, it made me want to write songs. I had always liked singing, but I was never that confident. I took some lessons and my teacher helped me out of my own way. She helped me find a voice that was already there."

In addition to her writing and singing, she also played Carnegie Hall with the McKrells and appeared on "Late Night with Conan O’Brien" when she played with Marshall Crenshaw. After a few years spent in and around New York City, and some time playing in Sweden as a member of the fiddling group Child’s Play, Andersen returned to her roots and returned to the Seacoast, where she had grown up in Durham with parents Ken and Barbara Andersen and two brothers, Peter and David.

The move sparked the latest creative push in Andersen’s life."Coming home has been very empowering for me as an artist," she said. "I started playing again with Harvey Reid. He’s been very encouraging with my work as a solo artist. It was a huge step for me, but I like being away from the industry towns. It’s big and distracting and you can get kind of lost." Andersen’s relationship has also turned from professional to personal with Reid, who is now her fiancé.

"We’ve just connected," she said.They make beautiful music together and she can make beautiful music alone.She’s playing all over the East Coast and just returned from a West Coast swing, a three-shows-in-three-nights quickie in California.

For Joyce Andersen, at this point in her life, she’ll take it all. After all, as her latest CD suggests, she really is right where she wants to be.


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