Country music fans across the Pine Tree State are mourning the death of Maine Country Music Hall of Fame founder “Slim” Andrews, who died Jan. 15 at age 90 after a long battle with cancer.
“I cherish fond memories of Slim – a kind, warm and gentle man with a quick wit and a brilliant sense of humour. He had a way of making those he met feel like an old friend” , said Hall of Fame Outreach and Community Development Coordinator Maria Holloway.
Andrews has dedicated his life to his passion for country music and has been promoting and highlighting the genre in Maine since the 1970s. Longtime Lewiston-based country musician Jim Flynn wrote about Andrews in a tribute of 2018: “The Maine country music community will remember Slim Andrews as a dedicated country music artist and as a leader and catalyst for the growth of Maine country music during the 70s and 80s and throughout the first two decades of the 21st century. Slim Andrews’ influence on Maine country music has made it one of the most popular performing arts in the state of Maine.
Born Leonard Andrews Huntington Jr. in Boston on June 14, 1931, Andrews moved with his family to Auburn as a baby. He remained there until the death of his mother, Daisy Huntington in 1944. He moved to Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood in 1946.
Andrews first performed music for an audience in 1942, at the age of 11, in a talent show at a community theater in New Auburn. He had also performed for fellow servicemen during World War II, and in 1952 his career as a country music singer began in earnest playing in small churches. In 1958 he formed the Berkshire Mountain Boys, with whom he played until returning to the Auburn area in 1971.
Upon returning to Maine, Andrews continued to support country music by establishing the Silver Spur in Windham, which featured live music and dancing. From there, he and his then-wife Gini Eaton formed the booking agency Slim Andrews Enterprises, which he used to bring Nashville-based musicians to Maine, New England and northern England. New York State.
Andrews and Eaton then created the first State of Maine Country Music All Star-Review of Top Maine Talent, which featured local and New England-based country music groups. They also collaborated with Barry Deane in 1977 to found the Maine Country Music Association. Andrews founded the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978 (an associated museum would be added in 2008) in Mechanic Falls.
According to Flynn’s tribute, Andrews came to the attention in 1980 from the Maine Sunday Telegram, which took note of Andrews’ influence in country music. Alongside his leadership roles, Andrews continued to perform his own music, at one point making as many as 70 live appearances a year. He even recorded a new song, “In My Old Pickup Truck,” a tribute to Johnny Cash, in 2018, despite having throat cancer. Tribute Notes by Flynn Andrews recited the song’s lyrics instead of singing them.
Andrews was himself inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002. He is survived by his children, Daniel, Tracy McCrillis, Jamie Huntington and Harold Baily; her stepchildren, Scott MacDonald, Shawn MacDonald, Joan Austin, Eliza Fulton, Susan Fraser and Robert Eaton; and grandchildren.
Holloway said Andrews’ family will announce a celebration of life ceremony this spring. Donations in Andrews’ memory may be made to the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, PO Box 62, Athens, ME 04912.