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Andrew O’Dell Releases Four-Song EP Act II

News--Act II

What does a priest do on a three-month sabbatical? Well, if he’s a priest whose ambitions listed on his senior yearbook page were “to one day love God with all of my heart and soul and mind” and “to become a Rock n Roll star with good morals,” he just might pick up his guitar and record a few songs!

In fact, that’s exactly what our own Andrew O’Dell did last summer, and he officially released his four-song extended play (EP), Act II, on December 31. What a way to close out 2023!

Andrew wrote and rewrote the four songs over a span of almost 30 years: two when he was in college, one when he and his wife, Ellen, were expecting their first child in the early 2000s (that child, Lily, provided backing vocals on that track!), and the last just a couple of years ago. And if not for an encounter last year with Patrick Schlabs, Canon for Cultural Engagement at the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul, those songs may have remained works-in-progress––on paper or for Andrew’s own ears only.

“We were working on some music for the clergy conference,and I happened to have my notebook of original songs with me,” said Andrew, “and when Patrick saw them, he said, ‘Hey, have you ever thought about recording those?’”

Andrew hemmed and hawed at the idea. After all, he had long ago put a lid on his dreams of stardom after deciding that perhaps his songs weren’t for other people, that maybe they were simply God’s way of helping him get through difficult times or put words to things going on inside that he couldn’t quite articulate––but Patrick gently persisted. And Andrew opened his mind to the idea that maybe his songs––which explore the gamut of emotion and milestones, from the wonder and joy of impending parenthood to the curiosities of middle age, from grief over a life cut short to our call as Christians––could be helpful to other people, too.

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“I really am hoping that these songs will be a gift to someone,” Andrew said. “Maybe they’ll make someone laugh or encourage someone or maybe even help to give someone some hope as they face the challenges of life.”

Act II is available for streaming and download on all of your favorite platforms. Or contact Andrew directly at andrew@saintphilips.church if you prefer something you can pop into your CD player.

Above: Andrew O’Dell performs a song from his new EP at his December 29 release party. Photo by Mims Weldon.