As most of you may have gathered, I love playing at Nino’s in Mount Pleasant, PA. It’s about an hour outside of Pittsburgh, tucked away in Westmoreland County. Formerly a speakeasy, Nino’s has been serving up homemade Italian food for over 45 years. I tell everyone to check it out: the entire building and property is worth the scenic trip. I’ve been playing happy hours, special events, and their famous garden parties (coming soon in July!) for the past five years. Friday night at Nino’s was the first time I’ve ever played a gig with someone I’ve never played with before: Andrew Hendryx. Okay, technically that’s not true, we met at a private function at Nino’s (surprise!) and performed together... sort of, it was more like a jam session. Little did I know we would be playing as a duo weeks later.
I learned about Andrew Hendryx years ago when he was with the Brooklyn based band called Yarn. Check them out, they have a terrific sound. Andrew played mandolin for them, which I remember well since I was learning the mandolin at the time. He even played an electric mandolin, which was the coolest thing I could ever imagine! Fast forward to this spring, I get a message from Andrew inviting me to play with him at Nino’s in May. How thrilling to be offered that gig and how lucky I wasn’t booked! Songs were being sent, plans were being made to rehearse.
As life goes, we never had a chance to get together: Andrew and I seemed to be busy at the exact same time, or something would fall through. OR, I need to keep my days straight (because Easter was my last day off, and that was April 1, right?). But I knew this guy was a pro and could probably play anything.
So the worries shifted over to ME: Can I do this? Am I ready for a gig with someone I’ve NEVER played with? Did I pick inappropriate songs? Why do I constantly worry over everything that goes on with work???
As soon as Andrew and I showed up at Nino’s and started talking, I instantly liked him and the vibe he gave off: super laid back and easy going (I’ve noticed I surround myself around those types of musicians; Joe Golden and Ed Skero, for example).
I had a great night playing with Andrew, working through my nervous energy. We received a warm welcome and several people approached us with a lot of compliments. It’s a good night when people ask “How long have you been playing together?” or “Where else do you play?” and you respond with “We’ve never played together before!”
It was a terrific Friday night playing with mando monster, Andrew Hendryx, and Nino’s was the perfect spot for the “world premiere” of us playing together! I look forward to making more music with him soon!