With 11 albums and more than two decades of serenading the South Bay, Andy & Renee of Hard Rain aren’t newcomers to the scene. Singer-songwriters Renee Safier and Andy Hill and band members Jim Vermilya, Kirk Makin, Dave Batti, John Hoke and Marty Rifkin have earned a variety of recognitions, from L.A. Music Awards’ “America Group of the Year” to International Acoustic Music Awards’ “Best Duo/Group.” The band’s PBS Special Concert, filmed at the University of Colorado early last year, is currently being considered for an Emmy.
This May, the duo will release its twelth independent album and embark on a summer-long tour in the Midwest, Vancouver and along the West Coast. But before they leave, the band will put on its 23rd annual Dylanfest, an all-day music tribute festival featuring many L.A. musicians, on May 5 at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center.
“We’d really like to thank our fans and friends for voting for us,” Safier said.
Andy & Renee with Hard Rain: Redondo Beach. andyandrenee.com
Runner-up: Pennywise, Hermosa Beach. pennywisdom.com
Since a chance meeting at the University of Denver, Andy Hill and his partner Renee Safier, have carved out a unique musical niche for themselves in the Los Angeles scene and beyond. Their performances – more than two-hundred a year – are as much social gathering as musical event. Part fan family reunion, part rock & roll tent revival, their incomparable live shows attract a large, enthusiastic, and fiercely loyal group of fans. Andy and Renee provide a much needed connection with live music to their audiences, whether in an intimate House Concert or at a large festival. Their music never fails to move you, your feet, your heart, or, most often, both.
As a songwriter, Andy Hill is a student of the folk and rock classics – Van Morrison, The Band, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon, and Bob Dylan – and it shows. Boundary-pushing use of the language, sweeping vocal harmonies, unforgettable melodic content, and tightly crafted arrangements are all hallmarks of his writing and producing style. As one reviewer said of Renee, “…Safier’s voice oft drips with an aching sensitivity filtered through delicate beauty and a fragility that would break and disappear in less capable hands…”.
Andy & Renee, along with their band Hard Rain, have taken their unique sound and multi-instrumental skills (as well as being riveting vocalists, they both play guitars and keyboards) to venues large and small all over the world. Local Southern California highlights include House of Blues and the El Rey Theatre in Hollywood, and the Grand Annex and the Hermosa Beach Civic Theatre as well as playing to several blocks of a packed beach at the Hermosa Beach Summer Concert Series. They have also played at the Telluride Blues Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, Napa Valley Folk Festival, Sierra Songwriter’s Festival, Winery Music Awards, the Bob Dylan Festival in Alba, Italy and the Fringe of the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland.
Their thirteen CD and two DVD releases have won them countless awards, including: LA Music Awards “Americana Group of the Year”, “Best Duo/Group” for the International Acoustic Music Awards, Singer Universe “Best Vocalist” Finalist, Honorable Mentions in the Billboard World Music Awards, Malibu Music Awards, “Kweevak.com “Top-40 CDs of the Year, runner-up for Best Folk Act in the Crossroads Music Awards, and a two year run in the Musician Magazine “Best Unsigned Band” Semifinals. Their PBS Concert Special, “Black Box Opens-Andy & Renee”, filmed at the ATLAS Black Box Theatre at the University of Colorado, Boulder, recently won a Regional Emmy.
In 2005, Renee Safier, showcasing her prodigious blues and jazz vocal chops, won the Telluride Blues Festival Acoustic Blues Competition, receiving a rousing response from the 12,000-plus festival crowd. She has returned every year since for successful performances during the 3-day festival. In addition to all this, Andy Hill and Renee Safier are about to celebrate their twenty-fifth year hosting their own Dylanfest. What started out as a small once-a-year backyard party where a loose conglomerate of close friends would take turns performing Dylan classics all day and well into the night (or until the cops came), has evolved into a full blown 8 hour music festival attended by hundreds of fans and featuring many of L.A.’s top musicians.
Andy Hill and Renee Safier both live in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.
Some words about Andy & Renee:
“America’s best kept secret….”.
B. Noel Barr, Random Lengths
“Andy Hill is rapidly becoming a songwriter to watch…”
Michael Sullivan, Here, There and Everywhere E-Zine
“Safier’s voice oft drips with an aching sensitivity filtered through delicate beauty and a fragility that would break and disappear in less capable hands…”
Mark S. Tucker, Folk Music Exchange