Artist: Andy Budd Album: Ragtop Monterey Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh       For far too many years there has been a shortage of good, old fashioned, homespun Americana humor and hubris within the music scene.  Sure, country music has tossed it’s share of fun anecdotes via artists like Brad Paisley and Toby Keith but the wit and witticism of Grandpa Jones and the forefathers seems long left in the dust.  Thankfully, the past few years have seen a resurgence of artists like Antsy McClain and Paul Thorn who are passionate enough and, yes, quirky enough to bring down home warmth and tongue-in-cheek laughter back to the airwaves.  With the release his latest album, Ragtop Monterey, it’s safe to add Virginia’s Andy Budd to that growing list.   Budd is the real deal, although technically not even a professional artist.  He’s a guy that’s “worked in fast food joints, bussed tables at restaurants, worked as a bartender, cab driver, and even that old clichéd job where he toiled as a ditch digger” until finally landing a gig at a car lot that would be his ticket out of mediocrity.  He moved up through the organization, eventually purchasing a Chevrolet dealership and several used car lots.  And it was after winning a new guitar in a promotional contest at the dealership that his musical dreams, long having lain dormant, were reignited.   And listeners have every right to be thankful that they were.  Ragtop Monterey is a solid collection of ten quick songs, each one in and out and, like a good southern gentleman, careful to not overstay its welcome.  Yet each, in it’s time allotted, leaves much room for thought, pondering, and a keen desire to hear it again.   Budd scored a coup with producer Chip Hardy (Waylon Jennings, Reba, George Strait), whose production simply allows Budd’s songs to speak.  And while this album is chock full of great playing and players with guys like Smith Curry (Steel guitar, Dobro, Mandolin, Banjo), Coleman Murphy (Electric guitar), and the great Hank Singer (Fiddle) among others, it’s the song songwriting skills of Budd and his heartfelt delivery that makes these songs truly sing.     “Old Freight” gives a rousing start to the album with the wishful thought of leaving all and heading south to “sing my songs for tips and beer”.  “If You Did That Today” is a clear album highlight with it’s recollection of days gone past (“Momma smoked her Viceroys while in the family way/Drank whiskey thru five pregnancies and we turned out OK”) and it’s contrast with the PC of today (“They’d throw your ass in jail if you did that today/They’d send out social services and take your kids away/The world we live in now ain’t like back in the day”).   Things slow down a bit with the lovelorn heartbreak of “Don’t Bother Callin’” and the subtle tearjerker “Godspeed”.  Story songs “Ol’ Work Truck” and blues-tainted “Baa Baa Black Sheep” provide some interesting filler as the title track brings things to a mid-tempo shuffle. “Time Won’t Do It” offers up a lover’s lament as “Bread Upon the Waters” places things back into perspective with the lyrical question, “There’s givers and there’s takers son/Which one will you be?”   The most fun this album delivers is found in the quirkiness of “He’s Still Missing Her” with a full-on, tongue-in cheek tale of a friend fallen under the spell of love.  Of course, things take a turn for the worse as Budd sings: “He’s still missing her/But his aim is getting better/He’s gonna take her out/But it won’t be for dinner/She’ll be swimmin’ with the fishes/In her new cement shoes/He says he ain’t afraid of prison/He’s got nothing left to lose.”   Budd’s online biography says it best: “Andy Budd may be an artist of some obscurity but he shouldn’t be”. If you’re a fan of soulful sounds and lyrics with a smile in their eye, you can’t go wrong with Andy Budd and this gem of an album, Ragtop Monterey.       Reviewed by Andrew Greenhalgh Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)    ” - Andrew Greenhalgh

— Independent Music Reviews

Artist: Andy Budd Album: Ragtop Monterey Review by Nick DeRiso     The story of how Andy Budd came to make this record is uniquely American.  A car dealer by day, Budd always wanted to be a country singer.  With support from his family and staff, that dream was made real on Ragtop Montgomery, recorded in Nashville with veteran producer Chip Hardy (Waylon Jennings, Reba McIntyre, George Strait).  In keeping, the album often reflects the nation’s long-held wandering spirit, its soaring desire for adventure.  They’ll be time for tales about trucks and girls, and for a few family remembrances, along the way.   “Old Freight,” the restless opening track on Ragtop Montgomery, rattles out with a melancholy wail, “I have had enough of having these cold shoulders,” Budd sings, with a knotty confidence.  “I need sunshine on my shoulders.”  Meanwhile, buying a new car, in the title track, becomes a symbol of new freedom in the title track.  A young man, on his way out of his parents’ home, stops to take in the wisdom of years from his mother on “Bread Upon the Water.”  Referencing a number of truisms about life, some Biblical, Budd explores the larger questions that face every traveller.   While a sense of exploration, of heading on to new things, permeates Ragtop Montgomery, Budd takes time for a peek or two in the rearview mirror.  It wouldn’t be a country record without a few broken-hearted laments, anyway, and Budd nails them.  “Don’t Bother Calling,” framed by Smith Curry’s oh-so-lonesome steel guitar, is perhaps the album’s most conventional track, but it’s sung with deep conviction.  “Time Won’t Do It” catches a second gear, turning a simple reflection on loss into this soaring anthem for the forlorn.  On the swaying “Ol’ Work Truck,” he falls in love with a beat-up vehicle with a for-sale sign on the dash.  The tune eventually becomes a celebration of “the skill and strength of the working man from days gone by.”     Budd’s carefully crafted “Godspeed” reflects on a life-long fellowship in the hard moments after a friend’s passing.  He doesn’t get lost in these quiet moments, though.  They pass like highway markers, as Budd moves on to the next thought, the next tall tale.  He doesn’t take himself too seriously, and a flinty sense of humor underscores the homespun brilliance of Ragtop Monterey. “If You Did That Today” takes a winking look back at the innocent, sometimes dangerous ways of yesteryear, from riding a motorcycle without a helmet to a mom’s dearly departed trust in society at large.  “She left us in the car when she went into the grocery store,” Budd remembers.  “You can’t get away from that stuff anymore.”  Budd’s clearly having fun as he continues to tick off a series of long-gone traditions over a shambling bluegrass-inspired beat.  There’s walking home alone from school and smoking while pregnant, driving without a seatbelt and playing with fireworks.  “They’d throw your ass in jail if you did that today,” he merrily concludes. “They’d send out Social Services and take your kids away.”     Later, on “He’s Still Missing Her,” Budd recounts the story of a dysfunctional relationship through the eyes of a group of buddies who insisted that this woman was bad news from the start.  “Bought that danged engagement ring,” Budd cries, in obvious wonder, as Hank Singer saws happily away on the fiddle.  “I can’t believe he sold his boat to buy that stupid thing.”  After the guy finally gets fed up, Budd adds a light-hearted twist.  “He’s still missing her, but his aim’s getting better,” Budd sings. “He’s gonna take her out, but it won’t be for dinner.”   Finally, we learn about the childhood travails of a pair of trouble-making siblings in “Baa Baa Black Sheep,” which begins with a perfectly appropriate electric-guitar squall by Coleman Murphy.  “The two of us,” Budd adds, “lived up to our Daddy’s fears and our Momma’s tears.” As Ragtop Monterey disappears over the next ridge, you imagine Budd’s steel-toed boot mashing the gas pedal all the way down.  He’s hopeful, maybe a little scared, but there remains the last twinkling of a smile.     Review by Nick DeRiso Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)    ” - Nick DeRiso

— Freelance Music Reviews

Artist: Andy Budd Album: Ragtop Monterey Review by Dan MacIntosh     Maybe people don’t notice CD packaging much anymore. That’s because folks download so much of their new music. But those that download Andy Budd’s new Ragtop Monterey disc will miss out on some mighty nice artwork and booklet design. There are plenty of photos of the Mercury vehicle where this collection gets its name. And each page with a song title on it has the tune listed the way it might look in an old jukebox. It’s just all so classy.   Budd wrote these songs and recorded them at Studio 515 in Nashville, TN. The album is traditional country music, with just a touch of bluegrass. All the songs are sung well, with Budd sounding a lot like Billy Joe Shaver.  Billy Joe saturates his vocals with a sense of amassed wisdom, and one can also hear a bit of that knowledge in the way Budd sings his songs.   The funniest song in this collection is called “If You Did That Today.”  It’s a fun crack at political correctness gone crazy. “Momma smoked her Viceroys while in the family way,” Budd sings proudly, “Drank whiskey thru five pregnancies and we turned out OK.” Health nuts might look back at such seemingly surprising success stories and most likely call them medical miracles. “They’d throw your ass in jail if you did that today.” Indeed, they wouldn’t let momma smoke and drink like that today, that’s for sure.   Budd includes a written dedication in the booklet that reads: “This album made possible by the staff and customers of Country Chevrolet in Warrenton, VA. Also, 100% of artist proceeds from the sale of this album benefit Habitat For Humanity and Boys & Girls Club, Fauquier County, VA.” And Budd’s love of motor vehicles runs through this CD. The title track, “Ragtop Monterey” is an upbeat, piano-driven country ode to an old favorite car model. Another one, “Ol’ Work Truck,” is also a song dedicated to a steady work vehicle. In the song “Baa Baa Black Sheep ” Budd even mentions selling cars for a living.  However, the song “Baa Baa Black Sheep” is about more than just selling cars. Budd begins it by singing, “My momma raised five children and she was proud of three.”  One of these siblings is his sister Jean, who “fell for the drummer in a rock-n-roll band,” and the other is Budd, who plays guitar and sells cars. This whole premise is built upon how one views a family black sheep. Apparently, mommas love teachers, business people and journalists more than musician’s wives and guitar pickers. But there are also plenty of evil business folks, ineffective teachers and wrong-headed journalists. So sheep color is all in the eye of the beholder, in the end.   Budd begins and ends his CD with songs about escape. The banjo-augmented “Old Freight” imagines getting away from the cold weather, to live in a warmer climate. “Godspeed” is of a much more permanent nature, as it salutes a friend that’s passed on.   Chip Hardy produced this CD, and has given it a good, clean sound. This is traditional country music, with plenty of steel guitar, dobro, mandolin and banjo. It’s relatively acoustic, but not so much so that it sounds like old time music. Yet it’s traditional enough that it won’t remind you of the big, shiny pop production that ruins so much supposedly country music in Nashville. It’s sometimes difficult to imagine Andy Budd as a car salesman. He just comes off far too honest and sincere to ever sell anybody an unnecessary extended warranty. But then again, maybe he’s doing a sales job on us all with this recording. And if so, we’re falling for it hook, line and sinker. So, to paraphrase Neil Young, long may you run, Andy Budd!       Review by Dan MacIntosh Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)  ” - Dan MacIntosh


    Artist:  Andy Budd Album:  Ragtop Monterey Review by Andrea Guy     Andy Budd is a name most people won’t recognize, but after listening to Ragtop Monterey you’ll be wondering why that is the case.  Andy’s music fits somewhere in the country/folk/Americana area. Many of the songs are laced with humor, but every song isn’t about laughs and feeling good. Andy has a few serious numbers on Ragtop Monterey to give the album balance.   Andy’s voice is an acquired taste. It’s almost like Bob Dylan with a twang, and like with Dylan, it’s the lyrics that pull you in.  Budd has something to say, be it life, death or just about anything in between. It is impossible not to chuckle when listening to “He’s Still Missing Her.” This song could get lumped into the clichéd “somebody done somebody wrong” song, but one listen to the chorus and all the other songs with a similar theme just disappear.  “He’s still missing her, but his aim’s getting better. He’s gonna take her out, but it won’t be for dinner. She’ll be swimming with the fishes in her new cement shoes. He says he ain’t afraid of prison, he’s got nothing left to lose.”  Those lyrics speak volumes about a man that has had enough from his woman. That’s not the only song that shows off Andy’s great wit when it comes to songwriting. “If You Did That Today” is a song about how things have changed over the years, in a humorous vein best illustrated by the line “If you’re not at every soccer game, there will be hell to pay. Yeah, you’d probably go to jail, if you did that today.”   Songs like this will have people thinking of Jimmy Buffett’s early material. They are funny and have a touch of that down home feel that can be attributed to 70s rock and country.  Andy Budd is spot on with his lyrical observations of life. The songs on Ragtop Monterey are about blue collar America. They speak to the men and women that are out there leading the not so glamorous lives.  “Ol Work Truck” is one of the songs that is full of imagery. It is easy to see the old man who has to part with a vehicle that is really part of his life. This song has the stamp of pure country music all over it.   Family plays a part in many of the lyrics on Ragtop Monterey. “Ba Ba Black Sheep” is a song about a brother and sister that didn’t quite turn out the way mom and dad wanted them to.  This one might just be a little autobiographical too. “Bread Upon The Water” is a song about a mother giving advice to her son on his leaving home.  The title track is another song that paints a picture of a rather unique family. “Ragtop Monterey” is a catchy tune about a grandma’s flashy 59 Mercury.  These songs make you want to get to know the family Andy is singing about, because they have to be fun people.   No matter the subject matter, Andy seems to have the right words. His songs speak to the heart, but none more so than the album’s closing track “Godspeed.”  It would be difficult to find a song that was quite as fitting a tribute to a friend that has passed on.  This song will bring tears to even the hardest individual.   Andy Budd fits into the country genre more than many of the major players. His songs will be a delight to the people that want more “traditional” sounding country. There’s no sign of pop creeping into Andy’s songs, and that’s what makes them stand out.  Ragtop Monterey is country music, but more than that, it is good country music.     Review by Andrea Guy Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)    ” - Andrea Guy

— Andrea Guy Music Reviews

Warrenton, Virginia - February 1, 2011 Topic: New CD Release Title: Ragtop Monterey Artist: Andy Budd (ASCAP) Publisher: AGB Management, Inc. Label: Red Bush Records Warrenton, Virginia’s Andy Budd may be an artist of some obscurity but he shouldn’t be. Andy is firing on all cylinders on his third studio album, Ragtop Monterey. Great songs and great musicianship abound on this CD. There are no blistering or moaning solos, and this lets the authenticity of the lyrics shine through. Andy may not be a professionally trained vocalist but his vocals fit perfectly with the folk driven style of Americana that he writes. Budd exhibits a maturity and a depth of style far beyond most of what you hear in the Alt. Country/Americana genre today. Listeners will also like Andy’s sense of playfulness. While he is a serious songwriter, he doesn't take himself too seriously. Veteran Producer Chip Hardy (Waylon Jennings, Reba McIntyre, George Strait) gives us a real taste of that Nashville Sound, the likes of which hasn't come off of Music Row in decades. Chip’s experience really shines through in the mix and thoughtful arrangements. Ragtop Monterey was recorded at Nashville’s Studio 515 where Chip put together a wonderful assemblage of some of Nashville’s best studio and touring players backing Andy, including Smith Curry on dobro, banjo, mandolin ,and steel. Coleman Murphy is spectacular on electric guitar. Andy Most and Mike Waldren provide the exceptional acoustic guitar work. Mike Kelly provides subtle harmonies and legendary Hank Singer provides a haunting fiddle. From the opening burst of bluegrass style guitar picking and the raspy vocals on the new-grass “Old Freight” and throughout this disc, Andy Budd has crafted an incredible blueprint for a near-flawless roots record. Standout tracks include the lively title track “Ragtop Monterey”, the mournful "Godspeed”, the nostalgic & funny “If You Did That Today” " and the hysterical (although not PC) “He’s Still Missing Her (but his aim is getting better)” This is a CD that keeps growing on you with each listen. Fans of Hayes Carl, Early Jimmy Buffett, Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Todd Snider would probably enjoy this CD. Andy Budd’s “Ragtop Monterey” is a keeper for sure. Available locally at Drum & Strum Music located at 2nd & Lee Streets, Warrenton and Borders Books in the Warrenton Village Shopping Center or online at, itunes and other online retailers.” - A. Geoffrey

— Press Release

Too Proud To Whitewash - Too Proud To Paint - "Didn't expect that his 2nd album could be better than his first. But....., it is!!!! What can we expect from this singer in the near future?? Great artist!!!!!!!!!!! And.... I agree, Jimmy Buffett for president, but only with Andy Budd as his vice president!!!” - Harry Boerman

— Veluwe FM, Radio Putten,Radio Ermelo - Zutphen, Netherlands

Saints and Scoundrels - BRILLIANT - EXCELLENT! We have enjoyed it immensly, and have added many tracks to our playlists. Andy's presentation, style and personality reflected in the tracks is very refreshing.” - Graham Barclay

— Soundwave FM Radio - Napier, New Zealand

Times Community Newspapers - Nov. 16, 2008 Fans of Alternative Country / Americana music- will find a lot to like on Andy Budd’s latest CD , “Too Proud To Whitewash – Too Poor To Paint.” The words are smart, the rhythms compelling, and folks will be humming the tunes of many of the songs for days after hearing Andy’s latest. Like Andy’s first CD, “Saints and Scoundrels” which came out in 2006, “Too Proud To Whitewash – Too Poor To Paint” includes several songs that are autobiographical in nature, Most notably track 3 - "This Crazy Dream." Andy’s “crazy dream” for 30 years has been to become a familiar singing voice on the airwaves; but fear of taking the risk and leaving his “safe familiar path” has kept him from chasing his dream – until now. In “Another Fall from Grace,” Andy expands on how tough the “money driven” music industry can be on artists who want to write and sing in their own style, but are left behind by fickle trends and fads. Take heart. As he says, “It’s better to be a used-to-be than to die a never-was.” Not shy about commenting on those modern trends and fads, Andy skewers the pop culture embraced by the television networks on “I Can’t Watch My TV Anymore,” and debunks the drama and negativity so often seen in others on “No Cause for Singing the Blues.” As he optimistically sings on that track, “The path that I follow is filled with tomorrows.” In a similar vein, on “Too Poor to Paint,” Andy describes the travails of a foolish man who has chosen to live way beyond his means in pungent, believable terms. No doubt, listeners will pick up on two colorful phrases in the song, “too proud to whitewash, too poor to paint,” and “all hat, no cattle,” and what they convey, and will use them to describe other people they know in similar situations. Three songs in particular show how Andy has expanded his songwriting horizons on this latest CD. “Time Won’t Do It for Me” blends a country beat with folk, reminiscent of the intonations of Gordon Lightfoot. It is a beautiful song that makes a simple statement: his heart is broken, and will never heal. On “Don't Bother Calling,” Andy tells of the painful break-up of a 20-year friendship. If those two songs are vague about how the singer/writer came to those points in his life, the track “Matthew 5:16” is quite clear. Believing that one has not become the man his adored father was is a recurring burden for many sons, and it happens just about every other generation or so. Andy’s father was a warrior - a decorated career Marine officer - who took a path Andy did not follow. Only after the truth is revealed in scripture does he learn that “There’s a different mission here on earth for every mortal man, and to be the man your father was is not part of the plan.” On all three of these tracks, the band and singers do an outstanding job, adding depth and feeling to Andy’s words. Of course, not all of the songs on “Too Proud To Whitewash – Too Poor To Paint” are serious. Andy has a lot of fun with the rollicking “Jimmy Buffett for President” (also released on a single), “Have I Got a Deal 4 U,” and “Take Me Back to Mayberry,” a nostalgic return to the rural Southern village that was the scene of the Andy Griffith Show of the 1960s. We get it! With its wide range of message and melody, “Too Proud To Whitewash – Too Poor To Paint” should score well on the Alt. Country scene. It is already one of my favorites, and belongs in your music collection as well. “Too Proud To Whitewash – Too Poor To Paint” will be available in November through, itunes and other online retailers. - John Toler” - John Toler

— Times Community Newspapers

Artist: Andy Budd CD: Saints and Scoundrels Home: Virginia Style: Country Quote: "Andy Budd's album is an enjoyable and fun slice of country with a lot of wisdom thrown in." By Jana Pochop Andy Budd sounds like the kind of seasoned and hardcore honky-tonker you run into at the side door of a club because he's taking a breather in the middle of a 4-hour set before he has to drive across the state for another gig the next night ... all while keeping his Wranglers starched and his boots shined. Budd has lived quite the life and it shows through his music. The aptly-named Saints and Scoundrels takes the listener through Budd's examination of all those characters he's met in life and at all those clubs he gigs at, and it does so in a very personal way. Saints and Scoundrels kicks off with "Full Speed Ahead," a toe-tapping tune that sets up Budd's philosophy of life. The resounding line throughout is, "I'd rather live one day like a lion than a thousand days like a sheep." The whole CD is peppered with some tasty steel guitar licks from Bruce Hoffman and fiddle from Wayne Massengale , evident on "The Day I Said Goodbye" and "Redneck Heaven." Budd's sense of humor also shows up during "Redneck Heaven" - a western swing influenced tune, but his clever witticisms pop up all over this album and it keeps listeners on their toes. Lines like "I've got them Nashville shut-down, busted ego blues; He said you ain't good enough to swim in this talent pool," are ironically ... very Nashville. It works well. Budd's themes drift from character story-songs (Redneck Heaven) to personal autobiography, like the chorus to "What Would I Do Without the Music": Stress and worry become strangers I regain my sanity Better than Prozac or alcohol The music is my therapy ... It all adds up to an interesting collection of life from Budd's perspective. The album winds up with a critique of roadside America, "Anytown USA." "Wendy's, Outback and Applebee's; an IHOP, a Dominos, and KFC. Mickey D's, Long John Silver's and Family Tree. Some are so blind they just can't see, looks like suburban sprawl to me." Who hasn't thought that when driving on I-AnyNumber? "This little town's not ours anymore, it belongs to all those big chain stores." Andy Budd's album is an enjoyable and fun slice of country with a lot of wisdom thrown in.” - Jana Pochop

— Indie Music Magazine