It has been almost four years since Seth and Scott Avett debuted Rejects in the Attic at an intimate Merlefest songwriter’s workshop. That morning, fans nestled into the 200-seat auditorium with grand hopes that they would witness something truly special. I doubt that any of us were prepared for this song and the palpable heartache that echoed through Seth’s microphone. Once an orphaned sheet of scribbled lyrics buried in a disheveled pile, Seth dusted off Rejects, dismantled it and pieced it back together, replacing Scott’s pain and vulnerability with his own.
As fans, we speculate on what may drive the emotion behind such a heavy song–despair, regret, shame, hopelessness. Though we will never fully understand the twisted path a song takes from start to finish–even when written by two brothers, years apart–it was clear that on that day, as Seth sat with his journal and heart left open for the world to see, the pain behind those lyrics being uttered in public for the first time was fresh and present and very personal.
Seth’s face told a story of sleepless nights and mental anguish. With eyes shut, the weighty lyrics left his lips to find sympathetic ears and sturdy shoulders. Suddenly, we realized that we were there to share the burden. We held our breath and took it in, collectively acknowledging the therapeutic exchange that was unfolding before us. We were not just a passive sounding board that day, but rather a living, breathing levee taking on a flood of emotion. And just when we thought the chairs may buckle beneath us, Seth opened his eyes, looked to the sky and asked us for more. We obliged, hopeful that whatever role we played that day for him allowed those holes of pain to be filled in with new found joy.
As Seth closed the song, an almost embarrassed smile spread across his face like that of a grade school kid who just finished reading aloud his first poem in English class. That bashful authenticity reminded us all that even though we often find ourselves separated from them by a steel barrier or tour bus window, we are all just a bunch of rejects riding through this crazy, beautiful, painful experience together.
Deep beneath the muddied surface of the Tar River and the sifted soil of tobacco fields lays the history of our state. Layered stories from past generations have formed the foundation upon which all other stories are told.
This month, local songstress Rebekah Todd adds her own stories to the thick NC bedrock with her first LP, “Roots Bury Deep.” Funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign, this 9-track album proves to be a soulful folk gem with shades of jazz and funk that paints across the canvas of genres, all while maintaining a cohesiveness that keeps the listener engaged.
With this album, Todd enlisted some of the best that Greenville has to offer. Local musicians Demetrice Everett (drums), Chris Knuckles (saxophone), Evan Roberson (trombone), William Seymour (bass), and Brandon Shamar (keys) lend their talents and create a more textured auditory landscape that enhances Todd’s traditional folk sound. The final product takes listeners on a journey from the deep, dark corners of loss and despair to the wide-open, bright spaces of love and hope.
The album opens with “Devil’s Gonna Buy,” a ghostly, Bourbon Street bender flushed out with whiney trombone and eerie background vocals fit for the dark, gritty alleyways of New Orleans. This track jumps right into “Closer To Dead,” which shines with gospel undertones as the organ and saxophone emerge in line with the supernatural opener.
The catchy radio hit “On The Run” features a punchy cadence and baseline reminiscent of Paul Simon’s “Graceland.” While the title may imply runaway-bride-syndrome, this track is all about empowerment and drive — an important message for anyone who may need a nudge in life. The stripped-down acoustic “Thinking About You” takes a softer, day-dreamy glimpse into Todd’s past, where she opens up about the gripping realization that life is quite incompatible without love.
On “Tornado,” Todd channels her heartaches into powerhouse vocals and tempts the heavens, while reminding listeners that the only way to trump adversity is to face it head-on. “Your Smiling Face” is a toe-tap-clapper with a steam engine drum line fitted with enough spunk to become a crowd favorite.
Todd’s songwriting truly gleams on “Old Days,” a track that traces Todd back through time where she bears the pain of loss, but finds comfort in reliving memories and relishing in the little signs from above. The title track “Roots Bury Deep” follows, and proves once again this songstress’ lyrical prowess as she belts “Let me take you back to the rhythm/Back to the time when you felt only love in my arms/Let me take you back to the country where your roots bury deep/And the soil is rich for all.”
The album closes with “Wishing Well,” an eight-minute magical woodland wonder that captures Todd at a vulnerable crossroad, gazing into her reflection and foreshadowing her path. The horns on this track fade in gently to compliment Todd’s vocal tones and ride the song out as an instrumental. Roberson and Knuckles trade off leads, as if improvising a conversation between Todd’s yesterdays and tomorrows. This track is a beautiful tribute to the fragile nature of life and all of the events and decisions that guide its course.
Throughout “Roots Bury Deep,” Todd’s superb songwriting ties itself closely to the earth — the soil, the roots, the elements. In a world bogged down by technology and the next new trend, Todd keeps things clean, simple and organic, focusing on the most primal of emotions.
Todd’s poignant and powerful vocals reign supreme on each track, with the force to puncture even the toughest of exteriors. However, it is clear to any listener that the backing band elevates Todd’s signature sound to an entirely new level. The horns and organ pull out a speakeasy soul from Todd’s voice that was not yet fully developed on her 2011 EP “Forget Me Not.”
Overall, “Roots Bury Deep” translates as a potent collection of Todd’s most intimate stories. The album reveals that Todd has matured not only as a songwriter, but also as a performer as she displays a renewed confidence in her music. As with any artist, it is important to evolve and grow, and with this album Todd shows that she is capable and comfortable in her own skin, all while staying grounded by her roots.
“Roots Bury Deep” will be released officially February 18, 2014, and will be available on iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and more. For more information about her Greenville and Raleigh album release parties, be sure to keep up with Todd on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or at www.rebekahtodd.com.
To kick off the new year, Evolution of a Fan caught up with Americana singer-songwriter Jiggley Jones, out of Coatesville, PA. Last year was a huge year for Jones, who took home the Songwriter of the Year award at the 2013 International Music and Entertainment Association Awards (IMEA), which was held in Ashland, Kentucky. Jones took some time to chat with us about his music, fans, and family.
Evolution of a Fan: How did your upbringing affect the type of musician you are today? What kind of music were you exposed to at an early age? Jiggley Jones: I only dabbled in music when I was really young, singing at church and playing the clarinet in elementary school. It wasn’t until my later teens that I started to get serious about my love for music. I think the radio was my main influence musically when young and as I got older and bought my own albums I was finally able to branch out a bit.
EOAF: What does it mean to you, to have won the 2013 IMEA Songwriter of the Year award?
JJ: Wow, “Songwriter of the Year”. This is my forte, my bread and butter, my contribution. It means everything to me to be recognized for that!!
EOAF: What is your songwriting process like? JJ: I do try to block out time to write because I really need to focus on the mental side of the music without distraction. I usually start with a guitar chord progression or “riff” and then I’ll “scat’ sing a vocal melody over that. I might even put in some vocal harmonies before I sit down and painstakingly work out the lyrics. Usually they will be based off of how the music is “moving” me at the time.
EOAF: What types of things/events/experiences inspire you to write? JJ: Everything I’ve stumbled across in life inspires my lyrics. Mostly I generalize so the listener can put their own life into the song. Once in a while I get more specific but overall music means emotion.
EOAF: How does “storytelling” play a part in your music? JJ: I have told a few specific stories in the past but I feel the story is up to the listener to develop in their own mind.
EOAF: Why type of venue/music event do you enjoy playing the most? JJ: I really like the coffee house or small “tight” room/bar. The sound quality is usually perfect for what I’m doing which most of the time is me with my acoustic guitar and maybe one other instrument at most.
EOAF: What do you enjoy the most about performing live? Any specific experiences that stand out from your shows? JJ: There’s an energy in the air that can’t be simulated in any other situation. There’s always that pressure to get it right and perform with the emotion that you need on a consistent basis. So playing live pulls out that inner you and when you’re on, you’re on. It’s always nice to get those compliments at the end of the night also.
EOAF: Which musician/band has had the most profound influence on your songwriting/performing? JJ: Classic rock was always my go-to influence. I still listen to it today. Mix some old Neil Young with some acoustic Led Zeppelin, and throw in some Eagles and Steve Miller and there you go.
EOAF: What musicians would you have on an iTunes playlist? JJ: Other then the ones I just mentioned I would go more current and throw in some Blackberry Smoke, Zac Brown, Dave Matthews, and maybe go real old school with Mozart.
EOAF: Is there a story behind your name? If so, care to share? JJ: Well it’s certainly not that interesting of a story but Jiggley is a real nickname that I’ve had for years. I was at a party one night up in New York and that name got stuck to me during the night somehow and of course that spread like wildfire. Everybody that ran in that circle of friends called me that from then on. Fast forward a handful of years and when this project started I thought I’d use my old nickname just for fun. Everybody once again seemed to like it, so it stayed.
EOAF: In our crazy technology driven world, what is the best way for you to get the word out about your music? What seems to work best (word of mouth, social media, etc.)? JJ: Definitely social media. Because of that I have an international fan base instead of just local and I’ve never left the country, so that pretty much sums it up.
EOAF: What kind of support have you received from the music scene in PA? JJ: I love Pennsylvania and you’ll find just as many music lovers around here as anywhere else. The one problem with being from rural Pa is that there aren’t a lot of original venues around and you have to travel. As far as support goes, I have a lot of old friends from my local area who follow my social media sites.
EOAF: What do you think of the re-emergence of “roots”/”Americana” music in the mainstream? Good, bad, indifferent? Any rising acts that you really like? JJ: Man if it weren’t for the re-surgence of Americana/roots stuff I think I’d be in big trouble as a songwriter, lol. I have to say that I do like The Lumineers and I think that they and maybe Mumford and Sons have really given Americana that “mainstream” push. I’m sure there are plenty of others I didn’t mention also.
EOAF: What was your experience like writing music for various MTV shows? Have you watched MTV lately? Do you think it still is an important avenue for musicians? JJ: There are other music video choices these days which is great. MTV specially, though the innovator of the popular music video, has changed away from that format it seems. Maybe YouTube has something to do with that I don’t know. We didn’t write music specifically for MTV, they actually picked up what we had written and used pieces of it on the shows as soundtrack stuff.
EOAF: How has your work with Bright Star International changed you? Why is this charity so near and dear to your heart? JJ: To be honest, though I am on the Bright Star roster, I haven’t worked with them yet. I am definitely looking forward to working with them and the various charities that are involved with children. I have three youngsters myself and they mean the world to me. It kills me to think that there are kids out there that don’t have the opportunities to thrive in life. Bright Star themselves are not a charity but an organization that hooks artists up with charities. What a great idea !!
EOAF: Have you always been a Taylor guitar guy? Tell us a bit about your guitar and how it helps you tell your story. JJ: This is my first Taylor and I don’t think I’ll ever change from that. One day I picked up a friend’s Taylor and instantly fell in love with it. I just wish I had enough money to go out and grab up a few more of them. It’s mainly a comfort thing and that means a lot to me as I’m playing for long periods of time. The feel is great, the sound is great and the quality/workmanship is great. What more can I say.
No matter how you feel about it, listener-supported music is here to stay. Gone are the days of scraping pennies together to record and master an album in your mom’s basement. Thanks to social media and websites like Kickstarter and PledgeMusic, independent musicians can call on their fans from across the globe to lend a hand in the recording process–at least the financial side of things.
For many fans, this new forum provides an affordable conduit to “back” a musician or band that they really love. In return for their donations, fans not only get to feel more connected to the music, but also typically receive some sweet personalized merchandise or experience from the musicians/bands. From signed lyric sheets to house concerts, musicians have a chance to get really creative with the lists of “prizes” for their backers. But here’s the kicker (no pun intended): If the project’s goal is not 100% met, backers get back their money and the musician gets nothing. It’s all or nothing, folks!
As a fan who backs projects from time to time, there is something rewarding in making a contribution and following the progress of a campaign. Checking-in to see how much money has been raised and what prizes have been snatched up, along with receiving updates from the musicians themselves, can really be fun. Recently, I pledged $50 to Scott Miller and The Commonwealth’s new album, and was happy to learn that they have surpassed their goal, and I will be one of the first (among the other 334 pledgers) to hear the album once it is completed.
Currently, I am following Rebekah Todd’s Kickstarter campaign. Rebekah is gifted singer/songwriter/guitarist out of eastern NC who is gearing up to record her first LP at the end of July. I interviewed Rebekah last year, and learned all about her musical influences, which range from Susan Tedeschi to Lauryn Hill. Her music is dripping with a muggy southern soul that speaks to the trials and tribulations of life, death, love, heartbreak, and everything in between. There is an historic air in her songwriting that pays tribute to those who walked before her, as if perhaps she was born in the wrong century or recalling experiences from a past life. From her 2011 EP, “Forget Me Not“, Rebekah’s songwriting and performing has evolved, and she’s found a keen balance between the ghosts that haunt her and guardian angels that protect her. Her music–her voice–reaches into your heart and makes you feel not only her own joy and pain, but your own, as well.
For me, that is what music is about, and why I believe that Rebekah’s Kickstarter is one to watch. Take a listen to her story, consider backing her project, and share with your friends.
Thus far, the height of my musical “career” was winning first place at my elementary school talent show for singing I’ve Been Working on the Railroad. I was five. I was a complete ham, and wanted to be a star. My older brother told me the only reason I won was because I was cute–fair enough. Fast-forward almost 30 years, and I’ve realized that my feverish desire for stardom is much better served in the confines of my car and home, rather than on the main stage. Instead, the main stage should be reserved for those people who possess that innate gift of musical creativity and mastery that inspires and makes us feel alive. It was a pleasant surprise when I recently stumbled upon one of those people right here in eastern NC.
I was introduced to Rebekah Todd when she opened up for Paleface at The Tipsy Teapot in Greenville, NC a few months ago–a lone young lady on stage with just her acoustic Alvarez guitar and a mic. She did a quick mic check, and politely introduced herself to the audience. I watched and waited, thinking how brave she was to get up there and sing by herself. I was envious and impressed before even hearing her voice. And then she sang. A boisterous yet angelic, soulful, bluesy voice filled the room, and I was floored. Who had been hiding this homegrown gem, and why hadn’t I heard of her before? She quickly captivated the crowd with original songs like Jordan, Citizen, Gallows, Little by Little, and Walked Right Through Me. That evening, as her powerful voice echoed off of Tipsy’s glossy, cherry red walls, I was happy to tag along on her musical journey.
A few weeks after the show I sat down with Todd to talk about her music and big plans for the future.
Todd grew up in the small town of Benson, NC and was surrounded by music as early as she could remember. At eight years old, she started formal piano lessons, but soon figured out that the structure of reading music didn’t quite fit her style of learning.
“I play by ear 100%, so I don’t read music unless you have a sheet with chords. If it’s the notes on the staff I can’t do it at all. When I was eight, I figured that out. I remember my teacher was teaching me the Titanic theme song. I was reading it on the paper and I got a note wrong, so I stopped looking at the paper and listened and figured it out. She yelled at me and told me I had to read the paper, and she was really mean so I dropped it and never went back,” she recalled.
Soon thereafter, Todd’s father suggested she learn how to play the guitar. She fondly remembered those early memories of her dad and his love for music.
“[My dad] was classic rock all the way. It’s pretty cool because it really influenced me. I am happy that I know all of these artists now because I meet people my age who say, ‘Who are the Beatles, or who is Bob Dylan?’. He was musical and played guitar and he was the one who taught me. He bought me this crappy Washburn guitar that was black, and when I was eight I thought it was awesome,” she said with a chuckle.
Rebekah Todd @ Tipsy Teapot
She continued to laugh as she told me that the first song he taught her to play on the guitar was WildThing. Todd and her father continued to play together at home until she started playing in different high school bands with her friends. Over the years of playing with her dad and others, Todd pulled inspiration from a wide range of musical genres, which has shaped the music she writes and performs today.
“I went through the classic rock phase, and then I really got into people who had a soulful voice, like Lauryn Hill, who is one of my favorites. I literally wore her CD out [The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill]. Now I am into the more bluesy sound with singers like Susan Tedeschi and the Derek Trucks Band. I really admire artists like that,” said Todd.
Though she can cover songs ranging from Led Zeppelin to Katy Perry, Todd’s bread and butter is in songwriting. To date she has recorded about 16 original songs, but admits that there are many more waiting the wings that need to evolve a bit before she will bring them into the studio.
“Sometimes I will be sitting and playing and [a song] will come then, and other times I will get a tune in my head and I will literally pull my cell phone out, hit video, hold it out, and sing into the video. I used to carry around a tape recorder before cell phones. I think that started because when I was really young my parents bought me a karaoke machine that I could put a tape in and record my singing and listen to it. It’s funny how the steps that your parents take totally mold what you become,” Todd shared.
Songwriting for Todd is a very natural, organic, and “in-the-moment” process. Her songs are passionate and moving because they are honest. Like most artists, Todd finds inspiration in her life experiences and channels those emotions into her songs as well as her art.
“One time I played with this band called Cool Hand Luke out of Tennessee and Mark came up to me and said, ‘I really like your music because you are honest with what you are going through and what you are feeling’. Ever since he said that I took it and tried to apply it to everything I was doing. I’ve come to find that people can relate to your stuff if you are brutally honest with your feelings because then they can say, ‘Oh yeah I feel the same way’. With my situation now, with having a loss in the family, everyone can relate. Sometimes it’s hard because you really have to go into your emotions and that can be painful. It’s the same with art. You pull it out and you put it on a canvas or put it into a song and hope that people can relate to it,” she revealed.
Having just graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from East Carolina University, Todd is ready to hit the road and share her music with the world. She’s completely devoted to throwing herself into writing and touring as much as she can, while maintaining a realistic outlook. She knows that with a hopeful heart must also come a level head, and she’s willing to put in the time and work to pursue her dream.
“It’s tough as an acoustic girl to say, ‘I promise that I can bring it’. It’s something you have to slowly prove and know the right people. I am working on it. It’s a weird road. A lot of people say I should think about getting a band. That could be cool, but I just don’t feel right with it right now. I feel like I want to prove to myself that I can do it without the band. I just graduated and I have all of the time in the world,” she said with a hopeful grin.
So far she’s got a great start with several club shows and festivals booked across the state, and hopes to add a small northeast tour towards the end of August. In between shows Todd will continue to write songs and dabble in her second love, painting. Though Todd admits to being very comfortable in the “opener” slot, I suspect she’s going to be pushed out of her comfort zone fairly soon. She wont be able to hide in the shadows of bigger acts for too long. The main stage awaits her.
To learn more about Rebekah Todd’s music and upcoming shows, please visit her website.
While standing at the base of Hunter Mountain shortly after Nicole Atkins’ Mountain Jam set I received a text that simply read, “At the bar”. After nearly three days of music and mayhem in the Catskills of NY, a stripped down interview at the bar was exactly what I needed, and apparently what Nicole needed, too.
A fun and relaxing two days of catching up and performing with old friends, like The Avett Brothers, had turned into a long, hurried day that began a little too bright and early for this blue-eyed siren. Nicole dragged herself out of bed at 7am that Sunday morning to “re-learn” the electric guitar parts of the songs she was going to perform later that afternoon. While Nicole writes and arranges each part of her songs, she leaves the playing of those parts to her band, The Black Sea. Unfortunately, her guitarist Irina was unable to make the trip to Hunter as she was still recovering at home from pneumonia. Prior to stepping on stage, Atkins was feeling a bit disorganized and unsure of how the set would come across to the audience. I assured her that while Irina’s absence may have changed the “feel” of the set, her flawless vocal performance and funny commentary (“this song is about punching a girl in the face“) between songs worked perfectly together and came off naturally to the audience. She let out a sigh of relief and said, “Good, I was worried!”
Nicole, who grew up in Neptune, NJ, wasn’t raised on radio pop and that was evident by the list of both well-known and obscure artists she rattled off as we discussed her musical influences. At the tender age of 12, Atkins picked up a guitar and began to play and write songs. While not musicians themselves, her parents always made sure to include music in her upbringing. Nicole fell in love with the music that echoed through her childhood, including the gritty blues of Joe Cocker and the psychedelic rock of Steve Winwood (she was quick to clarify Traffic-era Winwood, not cheesy-pop-era Winwood). She quickly developed a style of her own that was rooted in rock-storytelling, and found inspiration from hometown surroundings like the Shark River.
After playing gigs at local coffee houses during her high school years, Atkins left Neptune and headed South to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Illustration at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Nicole immediately immersed herself in Charlotte’s music scene, making friends with the local best-of-the-best, including members of The Avett Brothers, and joined various bands. Atkins smiled as she reminisced about her time in NC, “I basically paid thousands of dollars of tuition to play in bands.” Her musical tastes quickly expanded to include the country-folk-rock sounds of artists like Townes Van Zandt, Uncle Tupelo/Wilco, and Wiskytown/Ryan Adams. With these sounds came fresh ideas and a melding of old and new styles. In the years that followed, she returned home and commuted between NJ and NYC to continue to play and bring her new sound to the city.
Years passed and Nicole gained the attention of a few record labels in NYC. After a bidding war in 2006, Nicole signed with the major record label Columbia, and released her first album, Neptune City, a year later. After two years of touring and promoting Neptune City with her band The Sea, the money ran out and Atkins left Columbia as a solo artist again. On most accounts, the story read that Columbia cut ties and The Sea walked out on Nicole. However, Atkins quickly dispelled what may be written about that chapter in her career. “My band didn’t walk out on me,” she stated frankly. “I just couldn’t pay them, so they had to find something else to do. I was trying to figure out what to do after all of that happened. Some people suggested that I go back to school, and I was like, “and do what?” All I wanted to do was make my music, and that’s what I did.” A difficult break-up with her then-boyfriend soon followed, but she stayed committed to her music and reached out to other artists who would ultimately help her rise from the ashes.
Between 2009 and 2010, Atkins signed with a smaller independent record label, Razor & Tie, and began recording her second album, Mondo Amore. She wanted to produce an album that was completely about the songs and the story, rather than about “selling the sexuality” of being a female singer/songwriter. In an effort to combat what Atkins calls this “Anti-Cobain” attitude of women in today’s music industry, she enlisted a guitarist, bassist, and drummer to help her tell her story. “I can’t do this on my own. I need my band in order to get out the message.” Her new band, The Black Sea, helped her create what Nicole called a “slide rock epic album that plays out like a mafia movie soundtrack”. Mondo Amore took a departure from the string and piano based tones of Neptune City, and replaced them with Irina’s haunting guitar riffs. “Basically [Irina] turns my country songs into these psychedelic freak-out songs, and it works,” Nicole added with a big smile. When asked if the writing and recording process with Razor & Tie allows her more artistic freedom than with Columbia, she responded, “It really just depends. For the most part while I was at Columbia I had a great support system. But, this one woman was working with us at Columbia and she came to me one day and said, ‘Hey, you just went through a really bad break-up. You should use that for your next song’.” Nicole laughed and gave me a look that said “are you f**king kidding me, lady!” Anyone who pays attention to Nicole for even 5 minutes could predict that she doesn’t work that way. Atkins marches to the beat of her own drum, on her own time, and with her own rules.
Mondo Amore, which loosely chronicles some of the lessons learned from the dissolution of her personal and professional relationships, was released in February of this year. Nicole Atkins and The Black Sea immediately hit the road to promote and celebrate the album. However, touring funds and resources were not as fluid as they were when she was signed with Columbia. But this Jersey girl wouldn’t let that stop her. She called on the generosity of her fans to help supplement the cost of a touring van in exchange for hand-painted tote bags and access to her personal art webpage to view her paintings and illustrations. And guess what? It worked. She raised enough money to buy a van to cart around her band and equipment from venue to venue. “I painted 52 tote bags!,” she said through a laugh as she began scrolling through pictures of each of them in her phone. “Can you believe that!? The cool thing though is that the music has given me an intro back into my drawing and painting.” While she admits that drawing and painting don’t pay the bills, her artistic talents have helped fund a dream that has been in the works for a long time now. It is safe to say that she is the driving force behind her own professional fate. Money’s tight so she works her ass off to make sure good things happen. She takes time to connect with her fans and goes out of her way to make new ones. When she’s on tour, she sublets her apartment and crashes with family and friends to save money. Does this sound like the life and attitude of an entitled trust-fund baby? I don’t think so. She is a pure American dream.
Careful where you walk...
If I could go back and witness the evolution of Atkins’ sounds and style, I would pay special attention to when and where she developed the soulful, rich tones of her voice. While her speaking voice is soft and demure on stage, her powerful singing voice is hauntingly beautiful and evokes instant emotion in her audience. Her lyrics are raw, honest, and cathartic, so much so that her audience finds their own stories being played out in her songs. Combine the voice with her songwriting brilliance, and you have a musical experience that stares you down and dares you not to feel, not to remember, and not to fall in love with her.
Per Nicole’s suggestion, we ended our interview with a shot of Maker’s and ventured off to the artists tent where vendors were giving away free Merrill shoes. Free shoes!? I suppose when you make a mountain full of people happy with just the sound of your voice and the words in your soul, you deserve at least a free pair of shoes. I thanked her and let myself out, surely not worthy of backstage schwag. My admiration for Nicole’s creativity and talent definitely grew that afternoon, but I was even more taken back and appreciative of how candid she was with me. Her ability to stay genuine yet persistent during her career has undoubtedly allowed her to create the life she’s dreamed of ever since she first picked up that guitar 20 years ago.
For more information about Nicole Atkins, visit her website and buy her music.
Thank you Nicole for your time and conversation at the bar. It’s going to be tough to top that interview!