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Ever-evolving experiences help shape his songs

Andy Du Rego performs as Black Suit Devil, with songs that reflect a variety of influences, from folk to metal. He’s at Block Three Brewing on Mar. 19. [Submitted]

Live music and beer is a fine pairing – just ask Andy Du Rego. As Black Suit Devil, he’ll be performing next week at Block Three Brewing, just one of his upcoming shows at breweries, as he’ll be at Sawdust City Brewing in Gravenhurst two days later, followed by a stop at Walkerville Brewery in Windsor the following week.

It’s a good fit for Du Rego, a Toronto native who now calls Brantford home, as his music is an eclectic mix, with something that’s sure to appeal to the varied audiences that wander into local breweries.

A fan of metal growing up, his original songs occasionally reflect those influences as his tastes evolved into rock, blues and folk.

“I’ve always been a heavy metal guitar player. And then eventually from the metal I got into blues … then decided to do something on the quieter side. But now it’s kind of taking a different role – my first record is very folk, but now it’s slowly incorporating all of my influences,” he said of the evolution of his songwriting.

That can be seen in A Matter of Time, the second full-length album from Black Suit Devil released last fall. The songs run the gamut, from folk and blues to ‘70s rock and New Orleans’ big band sound.

“It’s folk but it’s not. It’s a little bit of everything. My musical tastes are all over the board. So I want to kind of appeal to the same demographic of the music listener as someone who can appreciate good music – forget labels, forget all that, just enjoy it for what it is. I don’t really overthink it,” said Du Rego.

“Each song was a little different from each other and kind of its own thing. For the most part, it all has my characteristics in it.”

The heart and soul of the album lies within its subject matter which touches upon environmental issues, politics, human rights, mental illness, to love and loss and so many things in between, he explained.

The album received good reviews, reaching the top spot on CJSF’s Top 30 albums of the week, as well as charting multiple weeks in the Top 10 Folk/Roots/Blues categories on other independent radio stations on the !earshot charts.

Firefly, the second single from the album, has been nominated for a “Best Rock Performance” award at the 2020 IPMA (International Portuguese Music Awards), being held in New Bedford, Massachusetts on April 25.

“I just found out about that on Sunday – it’s pretty cool.”

He said he’s looking forward to the event, not the kind of thing he could have envisioned when he started putting bands together at the age of 13, the first a “Black Sabbath knockoff,” he laughed.

From the early days of Sabbath, Metallica, along with an eye-opening performance by Green Day at Woodstock ’94, his tastes and songwriting took on influences from the likes of Bob Dylan, Ray Lamontagne, Neil Young, John Fogerty, George Harrison and Chris Cornell.

“My original material was pretty rough back then. But it got a band going. I’ve always, always enjoyed that – once I got into music, it was like it became an obsession,” he said of his start on a path to career in music, one that became full-time about three years ago.

“I wanted to focus on writing my own songs. I’m glad it worked out the way it did,” he said of the road that’s brought him to where he is today.

The road he’s on brings Black Suit Devil – a name that reflects his take on the corporate elite, inequality and injustice being key themes in his lyrics – to Block Three Brewing (2 King St. N., St. Jacobs) on March 19 at 6:30 p.m.

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