Equal parts folksinger and American roots-rocker, Nick Pagliari makes classic music for the modern world. It’s a sound anchored by heartland hooks and sharp songwriting, delivered by a Renaissance man whose background is every bit as diverse as his art.
With his fourth record, Hard Lessons (due out July 22nd), Pagliari turns the challenges of the present into Americana songs that provoke and pose questions. These are stories about division, inequality, and challenging times, rooted in the well-worn warmth of Pagliari’s voice. He wrote and recorded the album during a global pandemic that found him on the front lines, working overtime as a nurse anesthetist.
Long before he balanced his songwriting career with his commitments as a husband, father, and healthcare professional, Pagliari grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. He was raised on the sounds of the South — soul songs, rock classics, twangy Telecasters, gritty Gibsons — and the soundtrack left a permanent mark, laying the foundation for the music he’d make after moving to Nashville as a young adult. He eventually spent more than a dozen years in Nashville, releasing two acclaimed albums along the way. Although he later moved to Austin to accept a new job in the medical field, his songwriting roots proved impossible to leave behind. Recorded alongside producer Jon Estes during a return trip to Tennessee, 2020’s Midway was a salute to the music of his childhood, with songs influenced by Muscle Shoals recordings, Motown hits, Stax bands, and the classic craftsmen who came before him.
Hard Lessons arrives two years later and reunites Pagliari with many of his Midway collaborators, including Estes (Abigail Washburn, Langhorne Slim), drummer Jamie Dick (Rhiannon Giddens, Milk Carton Kids), and guitarist Jeremy Fetzer (Steelism). Unable to travel due to Covid restrictions, Pagliari recorded his vocals and guitar parts at home in Austin, earning credit as the EP’s co-producer and co-engineer. He also reached out to a number of guests, including guitarist Sadler Vaden (Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit) and vocalist Alexis Saski (Tennessee Muscle Candy), to add their own contributions. The result is a record of taut, textured Americana songs, written by a lifer who’s spent the better part of two decades exploring the peaks of American roots-rock.
Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the album’s title track, which definitely sets the tone for the rest of the album. Kicking off with bright acoustic guitar, Pagliari channels the likes of Tom Petty as he spins a vivid lyrical tale about a young woman hitting the road on a hardship-filled adventure. Pagliari seems to be channeling a range of emotions that connect to the listener while tapping into his own brand of everyman Americana-rock. Ultimately the song signals that Pagliari is a strong songwriter capable of crafting powerful songs.