AUBURN — The Maine Country Music Hall of Fame bids farewell to Slim Andrews, Hall of Fame co-founder and country music legend. He was born Leonard “Slim” Andrews Huntington, Jr. in Boston, Massachusetts. On Jan. 15, the Maine country music icon went “sing and strum with the angels” at the age of 90.
Most recently, Slim Andrews resided in Auburn, Maine with his wife, Carole Ann. Slim was a country music singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist. He co-founded the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978, and in 2008 was instrumental in establishing the Hall of Fame Museum in Mechanic Falls, the only such museum east of Nashville.
He was inducted into the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame in 2002. Until very shortly before his death, Slim was very active in the day-to-day affairs of the Hall of Fame, serving as chairman of the induction committee and tour guide of the museum. , par excellence. He has made several recent appearances on local television, including Maine Public and WMTW Channel 8.
I cherish fond memories of Slim – a kind, warm-hearted gentleman with a quick wit and a brilliant sense of humour. He had a way of making those he met feel like old friends. He put people at ease and valued them, respected them and liked them. His endless knowledge of Maine country music history was astounding.
Slim has always been dedicated to family, work and music. He was a man who faced many challenges and losses in life, but who bravely persevered, giving his all no matter what. “I have been blessed,” he said through it all, as one door closed and another opened.
Jim Flynn of Lewiston, a good friend of Slim Andrews who himself died in 2019, was a notable country music songwriter and educator from Maine. The excerpt below is from a tribute Jim wrote in 2018, highlighting Slim’s life and legacy:
“Slim Andrews will be remembered by the Maine country music community 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 into the during 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.
“As a dedicated country music artist, who was always Slim’s first love, he spent seven decades on stage. It all started in 1942 when Slim gave his first public performance at the age of 11 when he won a talent contest at the Community Theater in New Auburn, Maine. Seventy years later, Slim is still actively engaged in Maine country music.
“Slim was born on June 14, 1931, in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. After spending the first six months of his life in Boston, Slim and his family moved to Auburn and remained there until his mother’s death. -beloved in 1944.
In 1946 he moved back to Dorchester, Mass., and it was then that Slim spent his life in second gear. After graduating from high school, and later, thereafter, his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, where Slim occasionally entertained fellow troops on special assignments while stationed in Germany, he returned home and married his high school sweetheart and fathered five sons and a daughter.
From 1952 to 1954, he mainly played in churches with an accordionist on Sunday evenings. In 1958 he started a band called The Berkshire Mountain Boys based in Brockton, Mass., and for the next 13 years Slim and The Berkshire Mountain Boys played a lot of country music.
“Slim returned to Maine in 1971 and began to influence the direction Maine country music would take. He and Gini Eaton, who later became his second wife, ran a country music establishment in Windham named The Silver Spur, featuring live country music and dancing.
Soon Slim and Gini formed the booking agency Slim Andrews Enterprises, which brought many well-known artists from Nashville to Maine, other New England states and upstate New York. Slim and Gini presented the first State of Maine Country Music All-Star-Review of Top Maine Talent which included other award-winning New England artists.
In 1977, with Barry Deane, they founded the Maine Country Music Association, the first of its kind in Maine. Slim became its first acting president. In 1980, Slim was recognized by the Maine Sunday Telegram as one of the most influential driving forces in Maine country music.
“With the leadership Slim continued to provide, the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame was established in 1978, followed by the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame Museum in 2008, now located at the Silver Spur in Mechanic Falls. If you’ve never seen it, you’re missing out on an outstanding presentation of Maine’s country music history.
“In addition to Slim lending his strong administrative skills to the advancement of country music in Maine, he was still making over 70 live appearances a year. He was also recording albums of songs he had written and other which he had written with his son, Jamie Huntington.
“Slim Andrews is one of the most popular independent country music artists on the International Independent Country Music Radio Network and Joyce Ramgatie’s International Top 200 Artists and Top 40 Singles chart.
“In 2017, Slim’s songs were played 85,139 times on Indie Radio, he appeared on 95% of the top 200 artists released that year, and he also appeared on 45% of the top 40 singles. He recorded a new song called “In My Old Pickup Truck”, a tribute to Johnny Cash, which was released to radio in early January 2018.
“What’s so special about this recording is that it was Slim’s first new recording in seven years, that it was recorded at the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and that due to Slim’s loss of vocal power resulting from his battles with throat cancer, he decided to recite the song’s lyrics instead of singing them. This took courage from him as he had never done a full recitation before on any of his recordings.
“Each of Slim’s songs averages 14,000 listens a year. The fact that Slim, at the age of 86, is generating more airplay than ever before in his life and reaching millions of listeners in the process, is absolutely astounding. It’s a feat never equaled by an 86-year-old Maine country music artist in Maine country music history.
“Before the end of 2018, Slim is expected to have a three-year record of playing his songs 200,000 times on independent radio. “Slim Andrews is one of a kind. His courage and perseverance over the years is extremely admirable. He had several bouts of cancer, including throat cancer. He lost two wives and three sons to various illnesses, yet somewhere along the way he found the strength to write a song called “Born To Win.”
“He also wrote an award-winning song called ‘The Fall of Our Lives’, a tribute to his current wife, Carole Ann, who is loved not only by Slim but by all who know her. Where God finds such inimitable men like Slim I can’t say I can say Slim Andrews is in a class of his own Jim Flynn, Lewiston, 2018.
For more information, search Wikipedia for a detailed summary of Slim Andrews’ early life, military service, musical career, and awards, including a comprehensive discography; or visit the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Mechanic Falls, Maine.
The Museum is open seven days a week by appointment. To book a tour, please call Ken at 207-654-2227 or email [email protected] Donations in Slim’s memory may be made to the Maine Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, PO Box 62, Athens, ME 04912.
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