As a singer-songwriter-guitarist, Vicky Andres has been very active in music: as a member of several bands over the years, then a stint as a solo artist and now one-half of a duo, joined by her musical partner, Max McFarland, creating thought-provoking songs that will move the listener on many levels. From her home in Rockland, Andres and McFarland chatted, before settling in for an evening of rehearsing, about their team-up, their goals and what folks can expect from their appearance at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, July 29.

Q: Well, I’m very pleased to be able to chat with both of you today. I’d like to start with you, Max, if I might. I’m very curious about the instrument you play; it reminds me a little bit of a Chapman Stick.

McFarland: Yeah, totally. It’s an 11-stringed bass, but there’s a lot of the same concepts as a Chapman Stick with two-handed tapping, but it still tunes like a guitar.

Andres: And, it’s usually the first thing people ask us after the show: “What are you playing?!” It’s like definitely an attention-getter for sure.

Q: Let’s talk a bit about this gig you’ve got coming up.

Andres: Okay, it’s at the Unity College Center for the Performing Arts on July 29 and it’s the first show we’ve done in a while in a theater situation. We really try to get those kinds of gigs more, because it’s an all-original act, so we’re excited to play there, for sure.

Q: Do you have any physical albums out at the moment?

Andres: Well, I have three. Max hasn’t played on those because we met after those came out, but we hope to record something soon because we’ve got more than a CD’s worth of newer music that we’d like to get down on tape, which Max would play on.

Q: Do your older songs change much with the addition of Max?

Andres: Oh, yeah, I think they’re way better with him. You see, Max and I have been playing together for about a year, so he’s really gotten to a point where he can hear what the song means The songs really are dramatic (and) Max is really sensitive to that.

McFarland: Yeah, it’s cool, too, because we went from me learning all these songs she had written, and the bass player on her old albums was my old guitar teacher, so it was kind of fun learning those lines, but now being able to put my own thing on her songs does give (them) a different vibe. I can get in there and change things up a little bit, putting my own influence on (them).

Andres: And it’s incredible, too.

Q: As far as the touring goes, do the two of you get around much?

Andres: We play anywhere we can. We’d go all the way up to Houlton if we had a gig up there what was worth it, but recently we’ve been playing the midcoast area, and we’re trying to get into Portland and the Brunswick area.

Q: Is it hard to break into new venues?

Andres: It’s very difficult, especially if you’re originals.

McFarland: Yeah, all-originals can be a little hard to sell to audiences a lot of times just on the fact that they haven’t heard it before, so they don’t even know if it’s good or not. So, it does take a while to get your names out in the right places.

Q: Well, the advantage to doing theaters like the UCCPA is that the people that show up are there to listen, not try to talk over you at a bar or club.

Andres: Absolutely, exactly. So they’re there to listen. I think that the theaters and the colleges and festivals are really good listening audiences.

McFarland: And that’s a good thing for Vicky’s music in that she has a lot to say in her lyrics, and she spends a lot of time crafting, not only the intention of her words, but also the rhythmic device of each syllable and each word. And, to the extent that I can do that with my own playing, so when you get to places that you can have people actually listening and paying attention to what you do, it’s a huge payoff. You put so much time into it that it’s nice to be appreciated.

Q: Now Vicky, what can folks expect from your upcoming show in Unity?

Andres: They can expect a show that’s going to take them on a journey, because the songs are very emotional, and they’re bit and energetic. They touch on just about every emotion that a human could have.

McFarland: Absolutely. And, we try to go for as much performance as we can. We don’t have like a multimedia show, but just with our physicality and presence, we try to give everything we have and make people feel engaged, like they’re actually seeing something really happening.

Q: Yeah, I got that from watching the videos on line.

Andres: Nice, nice.

Q: Have you ever done that venue in Unity before?

Andres: No, but I played there years ago for a benefit, so I know the room has great sound, but to do a show of my own, never.

Q: And seeing this is an area debut for the two of you, is there anything you’d like to have passed on to the folks thinking about heading to the UCCPA next Friday night?

McFarland: Yeah, we’re definitely excited.

Andres: Yeah, we’re thrilled to be doing it, and people should definitely come and check it out because it’s worth the time for sure. I think it’s going to be a good show. Oh, and we didn’t find out until recently that Jason Dean will be joining us on drums at that show — we weren’t sure until just recently.

McFarland: And he is an amazing musician and an amazing drummer, so it’s really fun to play with him; he definitely hits our vibe. We’ll be the power trio.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 47 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.