Andy Raven began playing solo gigs in Reading having failed to adequately sustain the required rigour necessary for The Southern Cathedral Singers, The BBC Symphony Orchestra, The Henley Symphony Orchestra and bands in Bath and Birmingham.
Raven still argues that it was an aversion to the institution rather than a pure lack of talent and problems associating with other musicians that led him to performing solo, and of course the honesty of only being able to kick your own ass if things go wrong (frequently).
Raven is now writing his own blend of gutsy folk or 'urban folk' on guitar, piano, violin and didgeridoo, with the inimitable rhythms of Reading's own dog on the drums, the cabron on the cajon, Rikk Smith.
Raven's debut CD 'Searching...' was described by Biz Magazine (the forerunner to Unsigned Showcase) as "not the sort of album that announces itself loudly, but slip into its understated textures and you'll discover one of the most warmest, thoughtful albums to come from a local artist in a long time", declaring Raven as "Reading's answer to Billy Bragg". CDDK rates Andy Raven's songs as "powerful and intimate songs with witty and intelligent lyrics", and Verity Sharp of Radio 3's Late Junction said "We like your song but we won't be playing it on our show". To his knowledge, neither Steve Lamacq nor Terry Wogan has heard of Andy Raven, nor do they realise that he is slowly, but surely being 'Too Ugly'.
Last year Raven won the Reading heat of the Society for the Advancement of British Arts competition for new bands, and ended up third in the UK final.
Recently he has been playing gigs in Reading, Oxford, Brighton and London, and is a regular contributor to the Reading Beer Festival and Bohemian Night, also playing at the Bracknell Outthere Festival and on the fringe of the Cambridge Folk Festival last year.
His latest CD The Man Who Talks includes the hard-hitting Money Talks, and will no doubt be whole-heartedly hailed as a small success in large circles, or hailed a large success in small circles (or just a small shiny circle with a hole), and will be thoroughly and irrevocably dismissed by all the major political parties. There will be no election.