Worcester based singer/songwriter Andy Hiseman first started performing with bands on a regular basis at the age of 14 as a guitarist and vocalist. Even at that age his voice had already matured and he soon developed the powerful vocal technique with which he is now associated.
It was also at this age that he started to write his own material and, strange as it may seem, it was this that lead him to play rhythm rather than lead guitar. "It's all to do with structure. Just as an artist "blocks in" colours on a canvas, a songwriter uses chords to give the piece form. I had to keep playing the chords to keep the song in shape while everyone else was doing their own thing."
The fact that everyone else was doing their own thing very loudly, forced Andy to develop an aggressive style of rhythm playing that would cut through, which has evolved over the years into his very distinctive rhythm sound.
In 1988 Andy teamed up with Pat Allen, a guitarist that he had known for some years, to join The Nightrippers. This R&B and soul band was instantly popular due to the dynamics brought by Andy's punch vocals and Pat's explosive guitar work.
Both were accomplished performers, musically and visually, and as a result The Nightrippers were in great demand over the next five years. During the mid 80's Andy had made his first trip to the States and "Discovered" the Country Blues and Jazz Blues scenes - Musical styles that grew directly from the Delta Blues of the Southern States. This musical pilgrimage, that Andy still makes as often as possible, resulted in a definite shift in the style of his compositions and arrangements, creating songs with a traditional feel but interwoven with modern attitude.
By 1993 Andy and Pat decided that they wanted to break away from the pub rock scene, feeling that musically they were in a rut, and create a new sound. "Unplugged" music was starting to become fashionable around this time, but both Andy and Pat felt that the concept of arranging Blues and R&B songs for acoustic instruments was not the route to follow, far better to play their acoustic guitars like electric guitars, so the Barfly's and their incredible sound were born.
The result was a sound with such incredible depth that promoters and audiences alike couldn't believe that the wall of sound and energy that they were hearing came from just two people on stage; no drums, no bass, and no backing tapes.
Andy plays rhythm on a 1970s Martin D28 acoustic guitar, strung with .012 strings, because he prefers the rounded tone and depth that the larger guitar body gives. Amplification is from an under saddle LR Baggs piezo into an AEG acoustic amplifier. When he wants to beef things up he digs out his custom bound Fender Telecaster or his 1959 Reissue Gibson 335 with 0.11 gauge strings played through a Fender Blues-De-Ville amp.