A walk across the country unexpectedly inspires Suttons Bay musician

Apr 12, 2018

A couple years ago, Chris Andrews, a senior at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, realized he was addicted to his smartphone.

“It was something I was using as a crutch,” he explains. “Something that I was using in moments of boredom, moments of anxiety, or a moment of silence in a group of friends – we’d all reach for our phones.”

Chris Andrews is from Suttons Bay, and he started a project called Let’s Talk.

Chris Andrews walked across the United States in an effort to highlight the value of face-to-face communication.
Credit Tyler Stone

He crossed the United States on foot from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. His goal was spreading a message about the value of face to face conversation in our digital age, and not only the importance of connecting with others but also connecting with ourselves. 

“I think now is when we really need it,” says Chris.

Along the way, Chris spoke to hundreds of people — on the streets, in schools, at their front doors. He says he wanted to gather information to hear how digital devices were affecting other people’s lives. 

“So that’s the stage that I’m at now,” he says. “Taking what I’ve gained from my trip and sharing it with a community in various forms.”

One of those forms was an unexpected debut music album. As Chris got ready to embark on his 210 day journey, he packed a push-cart full of supplies — a tent, sleeping bag, dehydrated food and big jugs of water. Then, the day before his trip, his fiancees' father gave him a guitar.

“I thought, ‘Gosh, I already got so much stuff. But, this might be an opportunity for me to record and to capture what I see,’” Chris recalls.  “Then I tried to put it into my cart, and it fit with an inch to spare and I thought, ‘Ok, I gotta take it.’”

Music became something Chris played in his tent at night. He’d sit and think about the people he met that day.  As he traveled East to West, Chris says the land opened up and so did his ability to slow down, reflect and write songs. By the end of his trip, he had a Ziploc bag filled with twenty-something songs inside. Those songs were the inspiration for Chris’ new album “Angelfish”.

Songs for a music album weren’t the only unexpected thing to come out of the journey, either. Chris had $4,000 when he started, but by the end of his journey he had $6,000 — all donated from people he met on his trip.

He decided to use that money to hire a small film crew to film him during the final stages of his trip. 

“When you rely on others, you truly engage with them honestly, then that’s where everything happens,” Chris says in the film. “That’s where the creativity happens, that’s where productivity, where love happens, it’s where the flavors of life actually are experienced. But that only happened because I was going three miles an hour. That only happened because I was going slow, because I began to think for myself, because I began to really listen to other people.”

The short film is called, “Let’s Talk” and premiers at the City Opera House in Traverse City on April 19.

'Let's Talk.' will premiere at the City Opera House in Traverse City on April 19.
Credit Chris Andrews

“I think that fear is at the center of all of this,” Chris says. “Why do we run towards what’s comfortable? Because it’s scary – talking to people is scary, it’s uncomfortable, it’s slow, it’s not the quickest, fastest thing. It’s never going to compete with technology in that way. But it frickin’ blows technology out of the water in another.”

Chris Andrews will be at the City Opera House on April 19 for the premiere of his short film “Let’s Talk”. Afterwards there will be a Q&A session and Chris will be playing music from his new album “Angelfish”. Click here for more information.

Click here for more information.