Andrea von Kampen should be your next folk obsession! (Our friends The Ballroom Thieves and WXPN’s Bruce Warren are already fans!) Earlier this month, the Nebraska-based singer/songwriter released the whimsically woodsy That Spell (courtesy of Fantasy Records), the follow-up to her debut LP, 2019’s Old Country. The songs found on That Spell are a collection of majestic musings Andrea has had throughout the pandemic, from thoughts on things she’s read and watched, to childhood memories, and gut reactions to the world in which we currently live. Andrea von Kampen just kicked off a batch of live dates and tonight she will be headlining The Loft at City Winery. She recently took some time, while gearing up for tour, to have a chat with me about what she’s been up to and what we can expect tonight.
Izzy Cihak: I know that you’re based out of Nebraska, which I have to admit I know absolutely nothing about. What’s the music and arts scene like there?
Andrea von Kampen: It’s an eclectic scene for sure. Nebraska invests in their local artists, galleries, museums, tech startups, restaurants, etc. and there really is quite a bit going on here. It’s also a large state, so the southeast (where I’m located) and the west are totally different cultures.
Izzy: I know you just released That Spell. How do you feel like the album compares to your debut LP, Old Country? Does it feel like a natural progression, or were you trying anything new on this one? Or a bit of both?
Andrea: A bit of both I’d say. We’re naturally growing and changing all the time so it’d make sense that this record would feel different than Old Country. I think the songs are more fleshed out musically and lyrically. I also wanted to spend more time in the studio (Okay, let’s be real, I had way more time to spend, haha.) and work on different techniques. Stuff like doubling instruments, vocals, adding lush strings that bolstered the songs. I wanted to do things in a fresh way while still sounding true to myself.
Izzy: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences?
Andrea: The most prominent influences are probably social issues, poetry, Sufjan Stevens, and the plains of Nebraska.
Izzy: Have you gotten any favorite responses to the album yet, whether from critics, fans, audiences, or just friends or family? (I know you work/play with your brother, so I’m assuming the family is pretty in the loop with everything.)
Andrea: I think hearing random people from my past get really excited about the album is so rewarding. When they start to ask me questions about the meanings behind things or stop my Dad to chat at his school, that’s pretty cool.
Izzy: This is a really big question, but what have been some of the highlights of your musical career so far?
Andrea: Ooo big question. The first time I played a song live and people sang along to the words it felt like a pretty big deal. Other highlights have been opening for artists I’ve been massive fans of, selling tickets in cities I had never been to, and having people message me from all over the world about how my songs have meant something to them.
Izzy: You have kind of a lot of upcoming live dates, including a stop at our very own City Winery. What can be expected of the live show?
Andrea: Yeah! I’m so excited to be back on the road again. The shows will be intimate and acoustic as I get back at it. Fans can expect a lot of hilarious stories and some new songs as well.
Izzy: Are there any dates you’re especially excited to play, or cities you’re just especially excited to visit or revisit?
Andrea: Obviously City Winery in Philadelphia! Haha, but for real, it’s my first time playing a show here. I’m also excited for my opening dates with The Wood Brothers.
Izzy: Finally, what’s next for you, after this batch of dates wraps? Anything you’re especially excited about for the end of 2021?
Andrea: After my tours wrap, I’ll be releasing some new Christmas music and hopefully hunkering down to write some more music.