Kentucky-born and based in Cincinnati, Ohio, singer-songwriter Nicholas Johnson’s story is not a typical one, including moving to Milan, Italy and then getting kicked out of the country. Bringing it all back home on his fourth release, the seven-track album spanning twenty-six minutes, Shady Pines Vol. 2 (Ninja Jam Records), Johnson follows-up 2017’s Shady Pines Vol. 1 to complete the vision he originally had for the two-part project.
Shady Pines Vol. 1 (Ninja Jam Records) was the first half of the collaboration that found Johnson teaming up with acclaimed producer and engineer Patrick Himes (Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, Lilly Hiatt) with the goal in mind to craft a recording that matched the intensity of his live shows. The result is a fiery brand of roots and rock that manages to sound both achingly familiar and fiercely original.
Building upon Vol. 1, Shady Pines Vol. 2 combines his Southern and Midwest roots into a sound that is best described as Southern roots meets Midwest rust-belt rock: Heartfelt, earnest, melodic, and true to the soil he was raised on. Paying homage to the likes of Tom Petty, Jeff Tweedy, and even Bruce Springsteen, Johnson creates a rock record that has as much grit as it does polish.
The result, as he says, is an album that “genre hops a bit but it’s essentially Americana with an edge: peppered with rock and a little punk.”
Today Glide is offering a premiere for the video for “New Vampire,” a late-night, Americana sleeper rich in vocal harmonies, rustic charm, and a soothing rhythm section. Filmed in the darkened confines of what appears to be a pretty badass dive bar, the video captures Nicholas in his element under the red lights and close to the stage. There is a strong alt-country element to this song, bringing to mind the likes of Whiskeytown, Jason Isbell and Butch Walker, complete with some downright solo guitar soloing, and signaling that Nicholas is definitely an artist to watch.
Nicholas describes the inspiration behind the tune and video:
“New Vampire” was shot at Hi-Fi in Cincinnati which gave us the dark/moody but sexy atmosphere that matched the vibe of the song. The song is a depiction of the lurking heart of darkness and consequent restlessness of modern American life. It’s a narrative that takes a closer look at the things that pull and tear us apart – then feed on us.