Who We Are
Since The Woodsheep’s inception in the summer of 2015, frontman
Andrew Preston’s songwriting – experimental, but rooted in the deepest
wellsprings of traditional folk music – and their quirky live shows have become
among the most recognizable mainstays of central Appalachia’s burgeoning indie
scene. Among their hallmarks: soaring harmonies, offbeat instrumentation, literarily
dense lyrics steeped in folk storytelling tradition, all balanced by a healthy
penchant for the absurd.
Woodsheep founder/producer/singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Andrew Preston has been developing his style of deeply personal, narrative-driven lyrics and musically dynamic arrangements since his early schooldays. Inspired heavily by indie pop theatrics like those of The Hush Sound and The Decemberists, as well as the intimate lyrics of John Prine, KT Tunstall, and Regina Spektor, he became a musician organically, teaching himself to play several instruments and to record songs in his grandmother’s apartment. Shortly before The Woodsheep’s founding, Preston was featured in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriter Showcase for his song “The Mountain Wayfarers”.
It was around this time the call to music grew so strong that he decided to enroll in Morehead State University’s Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, earning bachelor’s degrees in both traditional music and psychology. From this came the chance to develop his craft while enlisting help from the thriving arts scene in Morehead, Kentucky.
As a result, a collective of fellow musicians forge the Woodsheep’s theatrical sound. Long-term founding member, Melissa Caskey, offers a sassy-sweet vocal and Julie London inspired jazz bass for recordings and many live shows, while drummer Matt Holleran highlights the band’s characteristic punk undertones. Wyatt Smith, the most recent addition to the band, joins Andrew in completing their Simon and Garfunkel-inspired harmonies. Other touring members for 2018 have included The Price Sisters, Matt Parsons, Sarah Wood, Denise Barbee, and Shayna Blackburn.
In May 2016, The Woodsheep released their debut record Watching Mars, before embarking on a year-long American tour in support of the album. Since their inaugural Appalachian tour in 2015, they have also performed abroad in China in 2017 and again 2018, and most recently in the UK and Ireland. 2018 also saw the release of their sophomore album Sleeping Under Stars, along with an expanded pan-American tour which included the Sidewalk Café in New York City, a Mecca of indie and anti-folk artists who had long inspired the Woodsheep’s signature ‘genre hopscotch’. After over 600 shows throughout the United States and 3 other countries in only 3 years, they are now working on an experimental collection of original songs and Appalachian folk songs scheduled for release in 2019.
From their first gigs in small Kentucky dives to international stadium shows, The Woodsheep have built a committed fanbase and reputation among venues through meticulous work and consistent touring. Even more than commercial success, Preston wishes for The Woodsheep to remain, as they have been since their earliest days, a staple of eastern Kentucky’s small-town communities. Preston frequently offers private lessons on many instruments, as well as lectures in songwriting and music business.
The sound from the mountains of Appalachia has long been swelling at its banks, on the verge of spilling over the confines of folk and electronic music convention. The Woodsheep aim to highlight the diversity, creativity, and storytelling that abound their eastern Kentucky home by shoring up their own roots.
Meet The Band
-banjo, piano, guitar, ukulele
-bass, autoharp, guitar