Andy Shauf – The Hotel Café Andy Shauf – The Hotel Café

Photos and word by Natasha Aftandilians


Hailing from Saskatchewan, Andy Shauf is one of the best acts to come out of the Canadian folk music scene; the singer-songwriter is a master of carefully honed but intriguing folk-pop songs. Wednesday night at The Hotel Café was his introduction to the uninitiated in Los Angeles, and his short performance made an undeniable impression.

Opening with “Wendell Walker,” from his latest album The Bearer of Bad News, Shauf entranced the small but rapt audience with the haunting 8-minute ballad. It was one of those rare but cherished moments of absolute silence during a show that is almost impossible to achieve in Los Angeles; the room fell quiet for the entirety of that first song, a rare show of respect and appreciation where the phones are put away and every eyeball is fixed to the stage.

Behind his guitar, Shauf cuts a diminutive figure, and his apparent shyness as his face was veiled behind a mop of long hair made him all the more endearing. Keeping stage banter to a minimum but always cracking a smile when chatting with the crowd, it was hard not to be charmed.

Shauf’s songs are deceptively simple, but when accompanied by a clarinet, piano, and violin on stage they take on a new vibrancy. Tracks like “You’re Out Wasting” climax with the trilling of a jazz piano and a plinking xylophone—not the sounds you necessarily expect to hear in a pastoral folk song. His voice was gorgeous but restrained; he gives the sense that there is unbridled passion lurking under that placid surface. But even without the flair of a more flamboyant singer, Shauf’s music thoroughly captivated that audience for 45-minutes and by the end of his set, that fog of serenity he had brought with him was lifted, leaving everyone feeling distinctly more at peace. Leaving the stage with the crowd already pleading for his speedy return to Los Angeles, it looks like Shauf is winning people over wherever he goes.

Andy Shauf – The Hotel Café

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