SONG PREMIERE: Nathan Kalish Brings The Bravado On Guy Clark Styled “Kalimotxo”

Over the course of two years spent out on the road, tirelessly playing show after show, Nathan Kalish cultivated a collection of story songs grown from not only his own life experiences but also incorporating the experiences of the people he encountered along the way. His 10th album, the self-produced Songs for Nobody (out 4/10), shows you a secret world via Kalish’s unique outsider perspective. Through his cutting and intimate lyrics, he transports listeners to the passenger seat of his touring van, to a phone call with a loved one and behind the lens of a magnifying glass aimed at the darker shades of American culture.

Kalish has lived the life of a curious wanderer, taking his music to town after town while creating a catalog of songs that act as colorful snapshots, like polaroids in a family photo album. He’s released nine albums over the course of his career, shared the stage with Lucinda Williams, Molly Tuttle, Lucero, Steve Miller Band, and earned accolades from Rolling Stone Country, Saving Country Music among others.

Because of his father’s work as an evangelical missionary, Kalish and his family never stayed in one place for too long. After living for a few years in Austria and Prague, the Kalish’s returned to their home country of America. During his middle school years in Chicago, Nathan started playing in local punk and hardcore bands while learning to play guitar, bass and drums. As he grew older, he took odd jobs to help finance his passion. With his band The Wildfire, Kalish hit the road hard for three years, honing his craft while enduring a grueling and extensive schedule of shows across the U.S. and Europe.

After leaving his band in 2012, he found himself at a personal crossroads. After enduring a stressful few months while living in Michigan, he opted to leave it behind and once again get back on the road. After forming a new band, The Lastcallers, he got back to the basics and returned to intensive touring. Eventually, after two records released and many, many gigs together, Kalish needed a change and opted to go solo.

During this new chapter, Kalish drove from city to city, acting as a driver for Lyft while trying to evolve his creative processes. Life, as it tends to do in times of transition, began to throw him curveballs. After a few financial setbacks and a change in policy from Lyft that only allowed him to drive in one city, he chose to take a chance and settle down in Nashville.

Taking a breath from the strain of life on the road enabled him to create his 2018 record I Want to Believe. Produced by David Beeman (Pokey LaFarge) at Native Sound in St. Louis, the album showcases Kalish’s unique and wide-eyed perspective, set alongside engaging honky-tonk ready instrumentation.

Kalish’s newest LP Songs for Nobody was recorded at Nashville’s Trace Horse Studio and provides an auditory evolution of that engaging, mysterious psych-folk sound. Finding inspiration from acts like Darrell Scott and Daniel Romano, Kalish brings a gritty moodiness to his expertly-blended traditional country elements. By recruiting incredible locally-based talent that includes acclaimed guitarist Laur Joamets (Sturgill Simpson, Drivin N Cryin) and pedal steel aficionado Adam Kurtz (American Aquarium, Joshua Ray Walker), Kalish tapped into the magic of Nashville’s tightly-knit creative community to bring his vision to life.

“It was a big communal effort,” Kalish says. “I had my road band and a bunch of additional friends all track it live in the studio. Sometimes we would have 8 people working toward a common goal. It’s very much a Nashville album… almost all of the friends who are on it are people I play with in town on the regular. This recording is in a way saying ‘yes’ to that level of collaboration.”

The result of that collaboration is an LP filled with heart-wrenchingly honest and reflective songs that leave a lasting mark on anyone who listens.

Glide is proud to premiere “Kalimotxo,” the first track off of Songs for Nobody, a throwback country folk nugget that harkens the work of Steve Earle and Robert Earl Keen. Kalish delivers with an aged bravado that conjures images of 70’s wood paneling and neon beer signs. 

“My friend and I were making/drinking the namesake cocktail and he told me I should write a Guy Clark style song about them,” says Kalish. “I think I failed to make it like a Guy song but I succeeded in making a song about an alcoholic drink. Pretty sure the only next logical step is going toe to toe with Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville chain. Look out parrot heads! Kalimotxo Island (TM) will soon be in every shopping mall in the world!

But seriously, this song is about watching (from a healthy admiration and non-creepy distance) an ex carry on her life in a new romance and successfully start a family in a successful relationship, while you are still having memories about your youthful and carefree days in the distant past.  We definitely drank a few on the last day of these recording sessions. I’m planning on making them for the album release party as well. 50% Mexican coke with 50% any cheap red wine is the ticket. My buddy jake puts a “splash” of bourbon in his but he is insane! Don’t drink and drive!”

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