An earful of buzzin’ for this band

BHS grad Andrew Joslyn (above) decided that despite his training he wouldn’t follow a hard-core classical path. Instead, he helped form Handful of Luvin’. The band will play on the Waterfront Park stage this evening.  - Courtesy of Andrew Joslyn
BHS grad Andrew Joslyn (above) decided that despite his training he wouldn’t follow a hard-core classical path. Instead, he helped form Handful of Luvin’. The band will play on the Waterfront Park stage this evening.
— image credit: Courtesy of Andrew Joslyn

Fiddler Andrew Joslyn returns to the island tonight with Handful of Luvin’.

It’s been seven years since Andrew Joslyn left Bainbridge High School to pursue a music degree at Western Washington University.

Armed with a violin and a classical background, Joslyn quickly realized he needed something else besides the regimented schedule and requirements of a university music major to keep his musical passion alive.

“I’m not Jascha Heifetz or a hard-core classical violinist and I’m definitely not a morning person,” said Joslyn at his current home in Seattle. “I just thought, there is no way I am going to make it like that.”

So he dropped his major to a minor and started experimenting with fellow Western alum and singer/songwriter David John Wellnitz.

“I was an RA when I met David John, and we put on a concert for the students and I heard his music for the first time. I was just amazed,” Joslyn said. “We started playing coffee shops together… from there it morphed into this bizarre musical project for me.”

Joslyn is returning to the island with a 5-string electric violin, a menagerie of effects and a group of talented musicians better known as Handful of Luvin’.

Handful consists of Wellnitz on guitar and vocals, Patrick Files on bass, Michael Knight on drums and Joslyn on fiddle/violin.

They’ll showcase their talents this evening at the Waterfront Park summer concert series.

Handful comprises a fine mix of experimental violin/fiddle on top of John Mayer-esque songs with undertones of harder blues rock, Celtic riffs and classical compositions. It’s a new music sensation that has lately been generating well-deserved hype in the Northwest.

The group generates a lot of their own buzz with an extensive gigging schedule that sees them covering a swath of the Northwest I-5 corridor on any given week.

The four-member band recently got back from a West Coast tour as well, and hasn’t stopped for a break yet.

“Let’s see, this week we have three shows, I think next week we have four shows,” Joslyn said as he tried to recall dates and times.

“Our talent manager has been talking about playing Korea and doing an extensive East Coast tour and I’m just like…wow.”

The band has been featured on radio station 103.7 FM “The Mountain” and was the station’s local access artist for a month, which helped give it a solid 200-person following at most of its shows.

“I think the Mountain thought we were just a college band and we wouldn’t be going anywhere. I mean, if I got our first album in the mail that is what I would think,” Joslyn said, recalling their first hastily recorded album in a basement in Bellingham. “I am curious to see what they think of the next album.”

That album, “Land of Giants,” offers an energetic follow-up with enough pop for radio and enough technical prowess to silence the most persistent music snob.

The album was produced by Steve Adamek, a Seattle rock legend who produced Left Hand Smoke’s last album and was a songwriter for the 1980s Seattle band the Allies.

“He had mentioned he wanted to produce us and I called him up when we were looking at making this recording and said, ‘we really need your help’,” Joslyn said. “We’re four guys with strong egos and we needed a good objective outside view for this album.”

The concert in the park comes two days before the band’s anticipated official release party for its new album at Seattle’s Showbox Theater. However, Joslyn said the band will sell copies of the CD at Waterfront Park to those who can’t make the four-band event.

This will be Handful’s first show on Bainbridge; Joslyn says he’s eager to come back to share his music with his hometown.

“Last time I was there I did a lot of music with Alan Simcoe; we played a lot of swing and jazz,” Joslyn said. “Music on the island has changed now. It seems like it is really being promoted and being encouraged, which is a lot different from what it was when I was in high school.

“I don’t know what our reception will be like, but we do have a lot to offer.”

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