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Palatine native to debut new album at Christmas show
By Eileen O. Daday | Daily Herald Correspondent
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Published: 12/20/2007 12:10 AM

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The third annual Christmas show on Saturday at Durty Nellie's in Palatine will offer a rare opportunity for rock music fans to hear cuts from an album before it's released.

At 10 p.m. Saturday, Palatine native Andrew Ripp returns to headline Durty Nellie's, as he's done for the last two years on the weekend before Christmas.

The 2000 Palatine High School graduate now living and working in Los Angeles returns this year amid much excitement, as his long-awaited first album is due to be released early next year.

"It took three tries and nearly four years, but it's finally done," says Ripp, who arrived back in the area last week.

Between the writing process, on which he collaborated with singer/songwriter Randy Coleman, and finding different producers, he ultimately went with producer Dan Lavery, who now plays bass for The Fray.

The recording process wrapped up just last week, Ripp adds, and he's finally satisfied with the product and proud to see his name attached to it.

"It took a while, but I wanted to tell my story, and figure out what it was I wanted to say," says Ripp, 25, who describes the album as featuring acoustic rock, "but very melodic and soulful."

He says he didn't discover music until his sophomore year at Palatine High School, when his mother signed him up for some voice lessons at their church, Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington.

About the same time, Ripp picked up the guitar; he found himself jotting down lyrics and notes during his high school classes.

Within six months of graduation, he tossed caution to the wind and headed to Los Angeles to follow his dream of making it in the music industry. Within months he attended a concert performed by Coleman, who is the son of actor Dabney Coleman. He was determined to work with the recording artist.

One of the first songs they had planned for Ripp's album ended up drawing the interest of pop rock musician Ryan Cabrera. He recorded Ripp's song, "Shine On," for his album, and wound up taking it to a Top 40 Billboard hit.

Despite having to return to the drawing board, Ripp says, working with Cabrera gave him much needed legitimacy.

Since then, Ripp has opened for other singers in Los Angeles, including Tom Morello, at a Hotel Cafe appearance, as well as Jason Mraz, Ben Harper, Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and B-Real and his hip-hop group, Cypress Hill.

Still, Ripp says he's excited to play before his hometown fans.

"It's more like a huge reunion," Ripp said. "I really feel privileged to be able to come back and play."

If you go

What: Andrew Ripp headlines the third annual Christmas show

When: 10 p.m. Saturday

Where: Durty Nellie's, 180 N. Smith St., Palatine

Cost: $6

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