Nick Brown is a singer and songwriter based in Madison, Wis. A longtime musical collaborator and bass player, Brown released his debut album, “Slow Boat,” in 2012. The snow-country-tinted and heartfelt album was particularly well received among fellow malcontents and shiftless romantics.
Brown’s second album, the EP “Contender,” features the skilled hands and musically proficient minds of longtime Madison players and bandmates Andrew Harrison (electric and pedal steel guitars), Ben Wolf (drums, percussion, synths), Rusty Lee (keys, synths) and Pat Logterman (upright bass, gourd banjo).
Released in 2017, the album is sonically a much larger animal, with colorful flourishes and bursts of energy surrounding songs concentrated on displaced hearts, matters of endurance and the curative power of music itself.
"Folk rock musician Nick Brown has the heart of an artist and the head of a journalist. His new record, Contender, ties the two together with lean, clear imagery and fully realized compositions."
"The band comes through on this with an apt mix of punch and slyness. Wolf and Logterman give the song a propulsive swing, while Lee and Wolf’s organ chords and synth lines add a cheerful sheen to the verses and a bouncy little hook on the chorus. Between the verses, Harrison’s burly, cutting melodies help to add a bit of suspense to the everyman’s cyclical misadventures."
“Nick Brown’s first album begins with the somber, arresting ‘Living That Way’ and proceeds to resourcefully bounce in all manner of directions, all the while retaining sparse, dignified arrangements. Brown plays with classic-country tropes on “Light Beer And Heavy Hearts,” goes on a smart-assed journey of disappointment on “Factory Farms,” takes a jaunty gambling trip to Canada on “Hold On Windsor.” Though this naturally makes for a slightly uneven experience, it’s also one of rewarding surprises, and one of the best singer-songwriter records a local artist has released in recent years.”
“Sonically… numbers like the country & western swingers ‘Play That Song,’ sound decades older, coming across like recordings put to tape at Memphis’ famed Sun Studio back in the 1950s.”
The Cap Times:
CT: What’s your favorite cover song to play (if you don’t do covers … why not)?
NB: We don't do covers. We focus exclusively on inferior versions of our own songs.
Live at the Shitty Barn in Spring Green, Wis. Video by Dave Kreisman and Connie Ward. Studio Version on "Slow Boat"