The goal was simple: produce a CD of original music (and come
up with a new band name). It was a year-long goal ending on September
29, 2004 between Craig Wescott and Andy Stover. This day was their
shared 30th birthday. They just wanted to keep their music alive.
What was being kept alive was about two handfuls of informal gigs
at coffee houses in Houston, TX four years prior under the (highly
original) name "The Craig & Andy Band".
Shortly after those Houston gigs, Andy headed for Santa Monica,
CA, and Craig for Branson, MO, leaving their acoustic guitars a
couple thousand miles apart. That distance made the goal even more
exciting. It took over a year's time and included writing songs,
countless emails, cassette tapes through the mail, a brief meeting
in New Mexico, some home recording in Santa Monica and Branson,
and some expert mixing by Tom Gass, a fairly new friend of Craig's
at the time.
Then, there it was...a completed self-titled Lee Jacket CD, just
in time for the CD release party in a coffee house right off Baylor
University's campus, where both attended. The rest of the "tour"
was planned based on where the guys were going to be at the same
time, which amazingly was four other places in two months.
Individually or paired up, Craig and Andy's lives are not decorated
with striking music credentials. That being said, Craig did co-star
in the Branson United Methodist Church Easter Cantata when he was
12. And, there was the time that Andy sang a solo-spot with a makeshift
junior high choir boy-band…that group performed a rendition
of the New Kids on the Block classic “You’ve Got the
Right Stuff”, complete with dance moves and all.
a little about craig
Growing up in Branson, a town where eight million visitors a year
come to watch live music shows, Craig always seemed to keep music
in the shadows except for a few instances. There were the church
choir and school band days, and there were countless songs sung
in the shower, even now. In college, he sang the bridge of Queen’s
Bohemian Rhapsody with the backing of his fraternity in an all-university
He finally picked up a guitar halfway through college, and it wasn’t
long before he was singing old country (and western) songs with
Stanley Whisenhunt, a long-time family friend, in his parents' living
room in New Mexico. The captive audience of family and friends still
hear the same songs out of Craig and Stan they’ve been hearing
for years, listening as if they’ve never heard the set before.
These days, Craig stays in tune by singing and playing bass and
acoustic guitar on his church’s praise team. Also, after Tom
Gass helped Craig mix the Lee Jacket CD, they found some musical
connections of their own. In 2006, under the name of Mile Zero,
they started playing gigs around Branson. In the summer of 2008,
they were joined by Allison Hamm, a truly amazing violinist. Mile
Zero plays about two dozen gigs a year in the Branson area.
When he is not working, etc. or piddling with music, he spends
his time chasing girls (wife Amy and daughters, Caroline and Claire).
a little about andy
Andy is a music lover --- The first song Andy ever heard was probably
The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel, because his father
used the album to rock him to sleep in the wee hours of the night
during his first year. The first song Andy ever loved was Celebration
by Cool and the Gang circa 1980
.the young kindergartner was
able to dial-in the tune on the AM radio loaned to him by his parents.
Andy started to hear music in his head in 1982, when the tune Ebony
and Ivory haunted his sleep, waking him up at night
he could hear everything
the lyrics, the melodies, the instruments
the voices Stevie and Paul. He could swear that the
old AM radio was still turned on even though it was unplugged.
Andy was forced into piano lessons by his parents at age 5
the disciplne of practice, Andy tried to get out of going to lessons
whenever he could. But Andy started to realize that he loved making
music, as it was a whole new way to hear & feel music. So Andy
kept taking piano lessons long after his parents stopped making
him go (and yes, he kept up the pretense that the lessons were obligatory
around his school buddies). Andy first picked up the guitar when
he was 16 and learned how to play the Big 3 chords for
songleading in youth group and at Young Life. Continuing to play
into college, he did a lot of listening and (playing along with)
the Eagles, Crosby Stills & Nash, James Taylor, Rich Mullins,
and Dougie Maclean.
Andy married another music lover, Anna. The pair moved to Los Angeles,
where they love to catch gigs that come through town -- some faves
are Ray LaMontagne, Josh Ritter, The Frames, and M.Ward
and Anna sing and play together at their home, holding private concerts
for their baby boy Henry Jake who at less than a year old
is already going for the guitar. Music is everywhere!.
says the Baby Einstein book -- indeed it is.
a connection was made...
Craig and Andy did not cross paths until graduate school, where
they ended up sharing almost every class together and found out
they shared the same birthday as well. Even better, they proved
to be a relatively dangerous QB/WR combination on the football field.
But still, no guitar connection was made at that point.
It wasn’t until months later in Houston (where they landed
jobs at a former large accounting firm that shall go unnamed) that
Andy brought his guitar over one night and they started picking
around. That evening, they discovered a quick musical chemistry.
Their music took an early influence from the harmony-centric sound
of Celtic folk and the likes of Simon & Garfunkel. This relaxed
style seemed like the right kind of music for coffee houses in Houston
and a great way to spend an occasional Friday night.
The name "lee jacket" is after Craig's favorite college
guitar-playing jacket. It is his dad's old jacket from when he sold
tractor equipment in west Texas. The jacket is rough and worn, but
it’s also relaxed and familiar and has a bit of character.
So too is the music – the sound is natural and eclectic. So,
what started with a few coffee shop gigs and a long-distance CD
project, will continue on with a few more gigs...there may be years
between them...there may be several in a year...maybe another CD
someday. It's really hard to tell. We'll slip the lee jacket on
whenever we can.