Tubby Love is the real deal. And his new record, wouldn’t you just know it, is called The Real Thing.
With a broad–brush talent for creating memorable melodies, a crystalline tenor singing voice and the sort of passionately positive life–view you find amongst hippies, born–again Rastafarians and people who like to surf, Mr. Love has crafted a five–song EP overflowing with good–vibey musical richness. Accompanied by the Midwestern band Vasudo, he’ll debut the record with a June 2 show at Live Wire Music Hall.
Tubby Love is Andrew Terrett, a 2006 graduate of Savannah Arts Academy.
That, as the song says, was long ago — he is now a thin, healthy, reggae–singing, life–loving, spiritually–questing vegetarian.
Ah, but back in the day .... “Yes, I was one of the bigger guys,” Terrett explains, “but still got lots of love from the ladies, and from my friends.
“Every time I would come into a room, my best friend would be, like, ‘Tubby Love!’ The reason I used it as an artist name is to me it represents massive love. Big love, you know? It was kind of like accepting who I am.”
He was one of those people for whom music is all–encompassing. “I wrote my first song when I was 10 or 11,” he says, “for a girl. And it got her attention. And I thought ‘Oh, man — this could be something serious here.’
“I was very curious about God and spirituality in the universe, as we all are as human beings. I was writing songs about that, more in the singer/songwriter kind of fusion vibe.”
Terrett studied classical voice and opera at Georgia State University, and was offered a scholarship in songwriting from Boston’s Berklee School of Music.
“I feel like you can’t really teach people how to write songs. It’s really a gift that you channel, and you learn by experience. It’s all about what you’ve experienced, and putting that to music.
“But they gave me a really big scholarship! So I decided to stick with it.”
It was in Boston, Terrett says, that he made the decision to “re–invent” himself, “in a brand new city where I didn’t know anyone.”
And it was during this period that he fell head–over–Huraches in love with reggae music.
Financed through a successful Kickstarter program and recorded on a chocolate farm in Hawaii (no kidding), The Real Thing features Aaron Lipp of Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad on keys, drummer Elijah Ray from Band of Light, and producer extraordinaire Will Lydgate on bubbly bass (his family own Steelgrass Farm, where the recording studio is located).
The music covers supremely cool progressive reggae (“Miracle,” “Simple City”), uptempo Afro–Cuban jazz (“Afro”) and even a country–gospel tune (“Shining”). The title song is an infectious R&B shuffle.
Still, every song has what T.L. calls the “Aloha Vibe.”
“You can call it reggae,” says Terrett. “I’ve been calling it ‘roots from the soul.’ Because every track is different; it’s a very eclectic album with lots of different styles. Reggae is definitely an essential style on there, and of course I have a big love for reggae.
“It’s just songs that are deeply rooted in me, that deal with experiences that I’ve had in my life. I just get ‘em out any way that they want to come out. I really don’t have much control over it. Especially in this day and age, when we’re influenced by so many different genres. I grew up listening to the radio, and when I got to Berklee, all these styles came at me.”
The Real Thing was conceived as the first part of a recorded trilogy; Part Two, an all–acoustic album featuring guitar, mandolin, standup bass and Dobro, drops July 4.
“The reason I’m doing this trilogy is because there’s so many sides to me,” he explains. “Musically, I’m so passionate about so many different things. But it’s all rooted in the soul.
“And Part Three is where I’m getting five different bands to play five different songs of mine with me. They’re bands that I look up to and have heavily influenced me. Bands that I love.”
Tubby Love CD Release Party
Where: Live Wire Music Hall, 307 W. River St.
When: At 10 p.m. Saturday, June 2