Andy Novara

Andy hails from Jamestown, ND, and kicked around Maryland during his childhood, but his formative years were spent in Marion Illinois. When he spent summers working at the Cypress Creek Wildlife Refuge as a kid, he was first exposed to bluegrass music. Dave Prosser, an outstanding banjo player from Kentucky, always had bluegrass music blaring from his truck and it was then that Andy found an interest in the music of Tony Rice, Bill Monroe, and Earl Scruggs.

At the same time, Andy became interested in jazz music. After high school, he studied under Fareed Haque at Northern Illinois University and finished his Jazz Performance degree at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. During this time he played everything from jazz to pop country and was inspired by many musicians along the way. Gigging in venues as disparate as the New York City Jazz Festival to Nashville's famed Station Inn. Novara has also completed his Masters Degree in Jazz Performance/ Education in 2018. Novara has studied with such master musicians as Bobby Hicks, Mike Compton, and Rick Haydon.

Since the age of 16, Andy has been teaching guitar, banjo, fiddle, and mandolin. He currently teaches private and group lessons at the Saint Louis Folk School where he is the Program Coordinator for the school's ensembles and instrumental classes. In addition to the Folk School Andy has been heavily involved in Jazz Saint Louis’s Violin program. Novara has played with or shared the stage with many veterans in both the bluegrass and jazz scene. Novara has played with such musicians as Dave Evans, Curtis Burch, Jason Carter (Del McCoury), Ryan Cavanaugh, Danny Roberts (The Grascals) Mike Bub, Ray Cardwell, and Pat Flynn among many others. Novara recently completed a Bill Monroe transcription book which has been met with great reviews in national publications. Andy currently gigs with virtuoso banjo player Mark Raborn, with Nashville bassist Sam West, Pinecastle recording artist Ray Cardwell and with Andy's current traditional bluegrass project Riverbend which has just recently been signed to Nashville’s EMG record label.