Nick Nace has just completed his new solo album. It’s titled Wrestling With The Mystery and drops on October 25th. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Nick Nace is a singer/songwriter and guitarist who spent his younger days listening to the Beatles, The Band, Beck, and Queen. Infected by the acting bug, he relocated from the legendary Great White North to the famous Great White Way. Later inspired by Bob Dylan, his interests began to expand and change.
He formed his first music act, a folk duo named A Brief View of the Hudson, with a buddy from acting school. After an EP, a full-length album and the soundtrack for Tell Your Friends! The Concert Film!, he became more interested in songwriting and moved to Tennessee in 2015. Currently based in Nashville, his rockin’ resume also includes tours in the US, Canada, and Ireland. He has also performed at the Mississippi Songwriters Festival, the Dripping Springs Songwriter Festival and took top honors at the Gulf Coast Songwriter Shootout.
Nick Nace’s signature sound is a mix of music genres including Americana, country, country rock, and folk.
Wrestling With The Mystery
Wrestling With The Mystery features Nick Nace on acoustic guitar and lead vocals. He is backed by producer John Latham (electric and acoustic guitar and vocals), Steven Cooper, (electric and acoustic guitar), Chase McGillis (electric and upright bass), Erin Nelson (drums), and Megan Palmer (violin and vocals). Brian Wright, Sakky Jaye, Gabe Masterson, Chris Moyse, Adrienne Pacheco, Latham, and Palmer appear in the chorus.
Track by track
The 12-track disc opens on “One More Song.” It makes it immediately clear that Nace is not afraid to write what he knows. This is a song about both his exit out of the Big Apple as well as a personal relationship.
The second selection is “Back On The Radio.” This is a song ready-made for a TV or movie soundtrack. It’s new and original but yet friendly and familiar. “My voice sounds like two packs a day . . .” Gotta love it (even if it is thankfully inaccurate.)
The next number is “Fly In A Bottle.” It’s a regretful and reflective There’s a lesson for us all in this song-story.
Nace goes off in a different direction with “Wine & Dine.” The story of this tuneful track is not totally unexpected and unfortunately is not foreign to a lot of guys. It’s followed by “Her Favourite Dirty Joke.” This is a slow dance track that speaks to a certain side of a particular woman that is perhaps not unknown to some.
“Old Records” musically makes a poignant point or two including: “Old records still play.” As with the rest of the material here, it is effectively and efficiently delivered too.
“Moonbaby” follows. It’s another nice number and was co-written with Jamie Lou Connolly worthy of inclusion on an intimate road trip or weekend getaway.
“Wake Up Next To You” is one of the best bits here. No doubt this love song goes over great with the gals.
“White Trash Southern Belle” may not be PC but it sure is fun. It was co-composed with Michele LeBlanc.
Not to be confused with a type of tomato, this “Arkansas Traveler” stands as yet another example of Nace’s tuneful talents. It’s a single about betrayal, temptation, and the overall frailty of the human condition. It has a slight Texarkana feel that works well.
“Clarksdale Katie” is yet another slow, sad song-story. The signature sound remains solid and consistent.
The closing cut, “Grandpa’s Old Guitar,” is a bittersweet musical mourning for his late grandfather. On his official website, Nace spoke of the song.
“It’s the true story of my Grandpa’s old Gibson guitar he bought for $50 after getting back from WWII. He loved to play guitar and sing old folk and country songs. He would play it at family picnics and gatherings, and towards the end of his life, he offered to pass the guitar down to me.
But the day I went by his place to get it he wasn’t home. Two weeks later he went into the hospital and never came out. My grandmother eventually gave it to me but I never got a chance to have that moment with my grandpa and I’ll always regret not making it back over there before he passed away.”
Overall, the album is a collection of sincerely-written and presented songs. They are often catchy and have a consistent melodic flow and unity. The stories are at times touching and always personal. His music has been compared to that of Hayes Carll, Slaid Cleaves, Justin Townes Earle, and James McMurtry.
So check out Nick Nace’s Wrestling With The Mystery and you might agree it’s the kind of music we need “Back On The Radio.”