Only months after his Grand Ole Opry debut, Parkersburg’s Jake Eddy joins forces with legendary mandolinist Andy Statman for March 22 Athens show

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Most people would never think of simply emailing one of their creative heroes to solicit a collaboration.

Jake Eddy is not “most people.”

Jake is Parkersburg’s own flatpicking extraordinaire; one of the rising stars of the contemporary bluegrass world. Last year, he managed to find the email address for Andy Statman, renowned klezmer clarinetist and one of the most revered and important mandolinists of all time, and recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ prestigious National Heritage Fellowship.

Jake sent Andy a message.

Fast forward to March 2022, and Jake and Andy not only have a slew of upcoming dates performing together, they’ve got a record entitled “Nor’ Easter” due out this spring via Wondertone Records.

As a part of that boatload of performances, Jake and Andy are stopping in Athens for a show on Tuesday, March 22 at Arts West (132 West State Street).

Jake and Andy
Andy Statman (left) and Jake Eddy (right) will perform at Arts West Tuesday, March 22.

Andy said he looked Jake up right after receiving his email.

“I was immediately intrigued and I looked up some videos — I guess YouTube is, in some ways, the musician’s best friend — I guess it’s not the publisher’s best friend, but it’s the musician’s best friend,” said Statman. “I saw immediately that he was this incredible guitarist that I just wasn’t aware of because I don’t travel generally so much in the bluegrass circuit. I sort of interface with it, but I don’t really travel nationally in that circle.”

For Jake, seeking the collaboration with Andy was not only about initiating contact with a musician whose discography had left an impression on him.

“So I put out a record last year of my own. I was really happy with it and I’m glad of everything that’s come from it. But I felt like I was starting to fall into the trap of like making Nashville records and doing the Nashville thing a little bit too much. It was getting really clean and really polished. And I wanted to do the music that I enjoy — I wanted to improvise more and play with more spontaneity and with a smaller group and with players that I looked up to,” said Jake.

The two have found it enormously rewarding to work together.

“Jake, like I say, is a phenomenally creative guitar player, just in terms of his phrasing, his note choices — where he places the notes. The feelings that he brings to the music. And he has phenomenal chops!” Andy said. “He can pretty much do whatever he feels like doing. He’s an amazing player and just really fun to work with.”

“Andy’s playing is different. It’s hard to explain, but the thing that I find so inspiring about it is that Andy’s somebody who is really familiar with traditional mandolin playing. He’s great with all the Bill Monroe stuff, and knows a million tunes — but his improvising is from another planet,” Jake said. “It’s rare you find somebody that can do the really condensed, old school style, potent kind of mandolin playing, and then also can really stretch out and go out on a limb. It’s crazy. It’s really exciting. Andy really kind of brings us to his world. He’s a pretty demanding player. And he’s the man, for sure.”

Over the course of the past several years, Jake’s unrelenting dedication to his art has catapulted him into the national spotlight – the young artist even made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry last year. It’s been a while since he’s played in his hometown region.

“It’s exciting, but it’s gonna be different. In past times when I played in Athens, it was during some of the formative times in my life. A lot of times I was playing in Athens, I felt like I was searching for things in my playing and digging for something new. And now, you know, now I feel like I’m playing like me,” Jake said. “It’s exciting to bring something more complete.”

Andy Statman and Jake Eddy will perform at Arts West in Athens on Tuesday, March 22 at 7 p.m. ET. Jake’s brother, bassist Carter Eddy, will be joining Jake and Andy on bass. Click this link to buy tickets for the event.