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the band

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 stage competition.

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….shunning 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….Andy 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.

lee jacket

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.


Copyright 2004 - Lee Jacket