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Virginia Musician Introduces New Album, New Moniker

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Andy Zipf, of The Cowards Choir, playing a set at Jammin Java, in Vienna, Va.
Jason Hornick
Andy Zipf, of The Cowards Choir, playing a set at Jammin Java, in Vienna, Va.

After more than 10 years in Arlington's music scene, Andy Zipf has earned his fame and name recognition the hard way: with long drives, and hundreds of shows across the country. With his latest album, Reunion, he's tossing his name recognition out the window, recording for the first time under the name The Cowards Choir.

With the new name, comes a new sound. Instead of a stripped-down guitar tracks common to the singer-songwriter genre, Reunion was recorded with a full band, resulting in toe-tapping, infectious melodies.

"The new sound is about capturing the performance," Zipf says. "Maybe showing some flaws, which aren't really flaws, just the humanity in [the music]."

Metro Connection's Emily Berman talks to Zipf about his latest music venture. Following are highlights oF their conversation.

On whether the music will be free to download and his philosophy on sharing music:

"You're not going to make much money with music downloads, unless you're Rihanna. I want people to hear the music and [come out to] see us play in a room. The whole point is to have that human interaction. The way we consume, share, purchase, I think that will continue to evolve. I want people to listen to it whatever way is best for them. If they feel like it's wrong to download for free, it's available on iTunes."

On how his music fits D.C.'s local music scene:

"When I first started playing, the D.C. music scene — Dischord Records, Fugazi — it's intimidating to a guy like me because I don't fit in with that. I think I draw from more of an Americana sound, so the D.C. scene is growing. It's not just hardcore and post punk anymore. When folks think of D.C. they don't think of music and the arts, so I think some of it gets over-shadowed. But I love this area. I'm not trying to be like, 'I'm going to put D.C. on the map!' I'm based here, but I make a living by traveling, so hopefully I can be an ambassador for this area."

On his goals:

"Fame and fortune, that's just smoke and mirrors. That's not my goal. I just always knew this is what I was going to do. I think of it more in a blue collar way. I get up, and I build songs. Sometimes its tighter from month to month, [but] I'm paying my rent. That's success."

[Music: "This will be our Reunion" by The Cowards Choir from Reunion]

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