Spafford has revealed that Cory Schechtman (The New Motif) will join the band as its new, permanent keyboardist. This news comes after Andrew “Red” Johnson earlier this week announced he will be leaving the band after 11 years of service.

In a post to social media, Spafford—comprised of guitarist/vocalist Brian Moss, bassist/vocalist Jordan Fairless, and drummer Nick Tkachyk—wrote, “We would never look to replace Red musically and personally as those things are irreplaceable; rather, we look forward to allowing someone to join in to what we have created and imprint a new and unique voice in the musical conversation we all cherish so much.”

Schechtman already has some history with the band, as he filled in for Red at four shows back in September. When Red was called out to tend to “family medical issues” back in Arizona, Schechtman took his seat on keys for a run of Northeast concerts. During that run, the ensemble established an instant musical and personal rapport that laid the groundwork for the ultimate lineup change.

“Before the first note was ever played together there was an undeniable connection with Cory and that chemistry was met equally on stage in the 4 shows we played together in September,” the band wrote. “Cory’s ability to step in and provide not only what the songs require, but also the patience and thought that heavy improvisation demands, is something we respect greatly. He is a master of his craft who has spent a lifetime dedicated to its pursuit and we know without a doubt that Cory has the dedication and talent to take Spafford to the next level.”

The band also gave Schechtman a chance to introduce himself.

Hi everyone, Cory here.

I know the news about Red has hit a lot of people hard — I’m a fan, too. I am honored and humbled with the responsibility of helping to bring Spafford’s music through the next chapter.

Without knowing it, I’ve been preparing for this my entire life. I made the decision in my childhood to dedicate my life to improvisational music. It’s a living thing that even science cant explain. It’s the transformative power of improvisation that moves me the most.

My musical personality is influenced by Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, John Medeski, Jeff Beck, Weather Report, GD and so much more.

As a lot of you know I played 4 shows with Spafford back in September when Red needed a sub. I was, quite frankly, astonished at how great it went – on and off stage. Brian, Jordan, Nick and Red are terrific humans. When I got the call that Red was walking away and the band had chosen me, I went right to the shed and have been there since working my ass off.

While my thoughts are with Red and his family, I’m also psyched to be joining the Spafford family and meeting many of you.

Let’s jam.


This is not the first lineup change for the Flagstaff-bred foursome, who in 2017 said goodbye to drummer Nick Tkachyk. For two years, Cameron Laforest filled in behind the kit until Jazz Fest 2019 when he rejoined the group in New Orleans.

Red will perform his final show with Spafford on New Year’s Eve at The Marquee Theater in Tempe, AZ. The date holds special significance to the foursome, as the band formed on New Year’s Eve 2009. For tickets and a full list of upcoming Spafford tour dates, including the band’s upcoming winter jaunt and first shows with Schechtman, visit head here. See the full post from the band below.


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