At 27 years, Amarillo native Andrew Akins has already amassed a veteran resume for any musician. He's shared stages with modern poets such as Ryan Culwell, Natalie Schlabs and Charles Johnson, and even opened for lyrically-renowned heavy outfit Silent Planet. He's developed a devoted local following, performing for over a decade. He's self-produced two EPs and two full-lengths. But it's his latest LP, Parables, that pulls the curtain back on why the singer-songwriter can leave crowds speechless.
Born in Nashville to a musical family, Akins relocated to the Texas panhandle he calls home after just nine months. Brief stints learning piano and guitar as a youth didn't stick, but he continued to learn by listening to songs and playing them back by ear. By high school he was writing songs, ultimately cutting a five song demo album dubbed The Quiet Wild in 2013. This humble demo album was met with over 2000 streams and nearly 500 downloads on Bandcamp and resulted in Akins performing in numerous coffee shops and small venues around town.
By 2015, Akins had healthily performed the local circuit and was armed with new material. He teamed up with close friend Tanyon Sann Allison to co-produce Wilderness, his first EP, which he dropped in September 2016. This saw him open for Ryan Culwell and Silent Planet, and was met with praise around the Panhandle, including NewSlang Lubbock's honorable mentions for Best Albums of the Year.
After a short break, Akins began recording his debut full-length in November that year, Let the Thief Make Honest Work With His Hands, an autobiographical reflection on his upbringing and what it means to be a son. Self-engineered, produced, mixed, and mastered, it took over two years to complete, releasing in January 2019. Later that year, Akins tabbed four more songs for his moody and obsessive winter brood, The Corner Room EP, recorded entirely in the spare corner room of his rent house.
A pandemic-fueled tumultuous following three years spawned Parables, Akins' latest full-length (January 2023, Yellow Rose Garden Recordings). It features wind-whipped campfire ballads, gothic-Gypsy southern laments, barbershop quartets and blues standards to entreat any background. It's the lyrics, however, that will cause listeners to repeat the album and mine its depths. Parables is Akins' own psalter of his personal struggle with shame, self-doubt and questioning. There is pain and a glimmer of hope, there is deconstruction and reconstruction, there is dissolution and, finally, resolution. No innermost thought, no question is off limits as Akins sonically journeys through his search of belonging. In Parables, his own voice gives everyone a voice.