by Elisabeth Fuchsia
I first met Andrew Joseph Weaver at the Spotty Dog in Hudson, NY. A longtime friend of my bandmate (and Thing in the Spring founder) Eric Gagne, he was living relatively nearby, in Chatham maybe, and had come out to see us play what I think was our third show ever. After I made my way through a weird and mostly embarrassing set, Weaver, who always seems to be calm and soft-spoken, was nice enough to talk to me for a while about the summer I spent at Tanglewood in high school like he believed I had once been a passable musician. He graciously didn't mention that my borrowed amp had its tremolo setting turned all the way up for the entire set. This was possibly because he'd been unable to hear me; I'd also had the volume turned nearly all the way down the whole time as well. I'm sacrificing my own dignity for the inclusion of this story because I can't think of a better indicator of his relaxed, friendly vibe.
We crashed with him the next time we came through Hudson, a few months later at the beginning of a ten day tour, and had a dreamy night at his place in Kingston that set the mood for the rest of the trip and further reinforced my initial impression of his character. A few months after that, we were out on tour again, this time nearly a thousand miles away in the south, when we heard from our good buds Mail the Horse that he'd joined up as their new drummer. Their previous drummer always had what seemed to me to be a kind of head-in-the-clouds kind of style, heavy on the back end of phrases, erring sometimes maybe a little behind the beat. It's a tricky thing to pull off, but he did it well and with purpose, and it worked with their sound. I assumed Weaver would nestle seamlessly into that chill spot, so I was surprised the next time I saw them. He hovered efficiently close to his kit, playing tightly wound, purposeful parts full of coiled up energy that propelled songs I'd heard hundreds of times (I repeat-listened to their 2015 Gates Motel for a few months) into somehow entirely new, but still comfortable, places.
I couldn't totally reconcile my experience of his quiet, laid back personality and his on-stage drive with Mail the Horse until I saw him play his own music. He and his bandmate, Donny Amidon, had driven to The Thing in the Spring from their set at Bonnaroo to make Weaver's set opening the Saturday daytime show at noon. I only managed to catch a couple songs of it between other responsibilities, but it helped everything make a little more sense to me. His voice, quiet but not without power behind it, floated over his guitar's running, almost percussively arpeggiated chords. That night, when my team and I realized we'd have a couple openings to shoot the next morning, I asked Weaver if he might be interested in coming out to the Macdowell Dam and shooting with us. It turned out to be windy and bright, neither of which are ideal for filming a live acoustic performance, so we walked off the side of the road over rocks covered in tiny wild strawberries to try to find a spot to shoot where we could shield at least our microphones a little, figured this boulder was as good a place as any, and shot this video.