The Undertow Collective began in 1996 as a group of friends sharing ideas, resources and a love of music. We work closely with a select roster of artists we love, respect and call our friends. Our goal is to create a friendly and productive environment for these people to make music while keeping their integrity and artistic vision intact.
It’s always exciting and flattering to hear from people who like what we do. Our focus is doing a great job for a few artists instead of doing a half-ass job for many. There’s only so many hours in a day… we all have families and like to see them sometimes. With that said, we love hearing new music. A link to your website, Soundcloud or Bandcamp page where we can hear a few songs is always appreciated. Please don’t send CDs by mail or MP3s by e-mail. We’ll get in touch if we fall in love with your music and think we can assist you in some way.
And let’s think about this for a minute… do you really need a manager? Do you need the kind of management we provide? We’re not the kind of managers who find big records deals and make people famous overnight. We work with established, career-minded artists to help organize, manage, protect and grow their ongoing artistic and business endeavors.
You probably have a friend who’d make a great manager. Find someone you trust and who’s willing to work hard. Someone you like hanging out with, someone who understands what you’re trying to do, someone who will always tell you the truth. That’s probably the best situation for any artist. It’s a simple business model… work hard, be nice and have realistic expectations. Be prepared for success, but don’t expect it. Everyone will be happy if you do it that way.
We like meeting new people and talking about what we do here. You’re welcome to stop by with an appointment if you happen to be passing through Champaign IL. Address available on request. Email
Who We Are
Bob Andrews : Artist Manager
Bob grew up in Nashville and got his start in the music business in 1991 working at the historic Hewgley’s Music Shop. In 1993, he stumbled into a job as tour manager for Uncle Tupelo through a friend’s recommendation and worked with the band until their final show in 1994. He continued as tour manager for Wilco during the recording and touring of their debut album in 1995. Needing a break from constant touring, he joined his friends at Undertow in 1996 to help create a DIY record label and artist management collective. Over the years, the management roster expanded to include The Bottle Rockets, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, David Bazan, Marie/Lepanto, Overseas, Pedro The Lion and Will Johnson.
Jayne Ballantyne : Artist Manager / Living Room Tour Coordinator
Jayne is a native of southern Illinois where she was involved in a number of musical and theatrical productions. She eventually moved to central Illinois to finalize her college career at Millikin University and emerged with a bachelor’s in Music Business. Starting out as an Undertow intern in 2014, she assisted on a number of projects before taking over the day-to-day management of our Living Room operations. In her spare time Jayne enjoys cooking, cat photos, and smashing the patriarchy.
Ward Gollings : Mail Order Manager / Tour Logistics and Production
Ward is a long-time friend who joined Undertow in 2016 after many years of running venues, tour management and production for festivals. He overseas mail order operations and touring logistics for our artists. We can’t decide if he’s a Ninja or a Jedi. Either way, we’re happy he’s here.
Chris Grabau: Project Manager
Chris grew up southeast of the Devil’s Promenade in Joplin, Missouri. A musician that has played in numerous bands over the years, his current band is Magnolia Summer. In addition to his own musical endeavors, Chris has helped others make records since he was a teenager by creating album artwork, producing recordings, and serving as a guest musician. In 2001, Chris began working with Undertow to help coordinate album releases for several bands.
Mark Ray: Spiritual Guidance
Mark Ray came up with the Undertow concept back in 1996. He is responsible for the amazing package designs, posters, and over-all vibe of Undertow. He’s an award winning director and designer who has done short films and videos for Son Volt, Dolly Varden, Centro-matic, his own bands Waterloo, Camerado, and many international commercials. Mark lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and two kids where he runs the well-respected branding agency, North.