Regardless, he's a new artist to us here at ELAH, and we're open for anything! Plus, I've met Nico - cool guy, deserving of a listen for sure.
"Rollin' and Tumblin'" kicks things off with a out land folk sound that takes you right down home. God, hear those strings. I haven't heard something like this since back in Tennessee. Vocals, as they come in, are distant and subtle, really telling the story on their own without shoving it down our throats via the mic.
Things flow into "Last Fair Deal Gone Down" that I barely realized it was time to get typing again. There was applause in-between, prompting me to include the note from this page that this was recorded live in Fairchild Chapel in Oberline, Ohio, so this distant-er sound makes a lot more sense. This had to be a great experience live where you were more left to get lost in the musical sound as much as take in the lyrics.
"Let Your Light Shine on Me" is another ease-you-in time. While the sound is seamless, believe me when I say you'll stay interested in his finger work throughout. Now in this one, I'm not feeling the vocals quite as must. Something's off in the tone of them in comparison to the music backing him. The song struggles to find its place as a whole t my ears, but I hear the effort and appreciate that more than anything else.
The strings take complete control in "The Sailor's Grave on the Prairie." It's hard to hold attention or speak a truth today with simply and instrument and no words to draw in. And I'll admit - I'm totally a lyrics-first kind of girl. However, this song speaks for itself. It speaks like its title claims and it's absolutely beautiful. There's just no need for any more layers.
"Goin' Down South" brings vocals back in via a darker route. I feel like this voice was made for a higher register, but it holds its own as the hard sound pours on out. I love the sentiment in this as well. It's as escape of sorts and a relief in some way. I can't totally explain what this one means to me, but it can mean something to you if you let your mind get a little lost for three and a half minutes.
We're closing in on the end of this performance and recording. "Turning" gently comes in, layering sweet strings and just being generally relaxing. I mean, it's not as clean as those relaxation CDs you used to hear at Target (I know I'm not alone there), but the grit is what makes it a little more heartfelt and a little more personal.
"Dabney" closes things out with a little more of a regular rhythm to follow and tap along to. In the middle, there's this story about Pecans and cracking them open; nice to have a little personal time with the audience amidst the playing. Lyrically, the song's a little sad, but at the least reflective and sweet. It's a nice ending, wrapping up the mood and talent we've been witness to throughout the album.
I dig all of this. It's sweet and gentle and just a nice experience. Nico builds an atmosphere that seems just lovely and good to be in, and the fact that this comes across recorded and I didn't have to totally miss out on the live show after all make it all worthwhile.
Check him out and show support at: http://hearnico.bandcamp.com/