Photo Credit: Savannah Shaw
Faith, spirituality and finding room for intellectual growth while parsing out a non-secular push-and-pull have long served as rich fodder for many an introspective songwriter. From country music’s enduring man in black, Johnny Cash, to indie rock stalwart David Bazan, the struggle has always been real—fertile ground for harvesting lyrical poetry that hangs in a balance of tension and resolve.
For Athens songwriter and producer Andrew Blooms, born Andrew Huang, this internal struggle remains steeped in quiet imagery and personal metaphors, ever present but never spelled out completely in songs such as “Humility,” “My Time Will Come” and the title track from Blooms’ debut full-length LP, Never a Waste, whose release he will celebrate with a show at the Georgia Theatre Dec. 3. Still, sweetness and innocence guide the billowing atmosphere and non-linear narratives that lie at the core of Blooms’ songs.
In the final moments of the album’s title song, Blooms sings, “I’ve grown to believe that our beauty and pain/ Were strangers who’d meet at the end of the day/ But they’ve always been twins who don’t look quite look the same/ Singing love is never a waste.” The song unfolds around soft metal strings and a delicate beat that pushes the music along. Blooms’ gently booming voice floats on top of the rhythms and melodies, embodying the harmony and existential ruminations that come with experiencing life in real time.
“A lot of the songs on the album are about loss and losing another time in my life,” Blooms says. “But each one is essentially a reminder to myself that nothing is ever wasted—even things that feel like a failure. I am experiencing tons of things that are just failing—old ways of living, old ways of thinking, people, life. It's all a reminder to keep moving forward and to never view anything that breaks as something that was a waste of my time.”
At 26 years old, Blooms says there is no one, single experience upon which the album’s themes and imagery are built. “It's really more about a loss of youth or a loss of understanding of how things used to appear,” he says. “A lot of the songs on this album deal with realizing how messed up I am, as well as everything around me. As you grow older, having that bubble burst, of all the people you looked up to and realizing a lot of them have a lot of issues, you find yourself disillusioned and not knowing who to trust or what can you trust.”
The singer and guitarist who first caught Athens’ attention while fronting the indie rock outfit Mosaic recorded and produced the songs that appear on Never a Waste in his Bloom Sounds home studio. A graduate of the University of Georgia’s Music Business Program, Blooms says the most useful knowledge he’s gained while working in the studio has come from hands-on experience recording, engineering and mixing songs for other local musicians. So far, artists such as Zac Crook, Elijah Johnston, Greg Meredith, Brendan Abernathy, The Little Strong and more have utilized Bloom Sounds’ Pro Tools rig.
Blooms channels the experiences he’s gained from working with his peers into bolstering his own body of songs. The drive to create art and music that is meaningful and makes vulnerable people feel less alone lies at the heart of his endeavors. It’s a quality that takes shape on Never a Waste, most notably in the song “A Day Like This,” which Blooms says is one of the more poignant pieces of music he’s released so far.
“That song is really about experiencing loss, but a lot of songs have a lot of hope, too,” he says. “That's where I find myself,” he adds. “I'm realizing all this crazy stuff about life, but at the end of the day, I'm still a pretty hopeful person. I’m trying to live between those two worlds,” he says, “to live with a sense of balance.”
ANDREW BLOOMS Athens singer-songwriter Andrew Huang performs a set of uplifting folk-pop. Album release show! See story on p. 13.
ELIJAH JOHNSTON Local indie-folk singer-songwriter.
CLOUDLAND Young alt-rock band from Athens.