Organizers of the Orange Loop Rock Festival announced details for the event Monday.
The three-day festival is scheduled to take place June 10-12 at the Showboat Festival Grounds in Atlantic City, NJ. Tickets and VIP passes are available now. Weekend general admission tickets are $144.99 plus fees and VIP passes are $449.99 plus fees.
Single day tickets for Friday, June 10 are $19.99 plus fees while tickets for June 11 and 12 $74.99 plus fees for each day. Children’s weekend general admission tickets are $54.99 plus fees. Tickets are also available in four-packs for $474.99 plus fees and in two-packs for $259.99 plus fees.
Approximately 17 bands are scheduled to perform at this year’s festival, including and not limited to John 5, Chevelle, and a trio of tribute band that take on classics from Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, and Foreigner.
The festival’s full lineup is noted below.
Friday, June 10th
Foreigners Journey ft. Constantine Maroulis – Tribute to Foreigner & Journey
Ozzmosis – Tribute to Ozzy Osbourne
The Four Horsemen – Tribute to Metallica
Saturday, June 11th
Stephen Pearcy – The Voice of Ratt
Sunday, June 12th
Stone Temple Pilots
Puddle of Mudd
Treach of Naughty by Nature
More information on the 2022 Orange Loop Rock Festival is available along with all of its latest news at:
Guitar virtuoso John 5 has extended his upcoming spring/summer 2022 tour.
The tour, which is in support of his latest album, Sinner, was originally scheduled to launch April 21 in Roseville CA and to end July 11 in New York, NY. Now the tour has been extended with its new launch date set for April 19.
An additional date of May 9 has also been added. Additionally, John 5 has added a performance May 16 in Alexandria, VA to his tour. His performances in Ottowa, ON; Toronto, ON and New York have now been rescheduled from July to June. The new schedule also moves the previously scheduled June 6 Quebec, BC from July 6 to June 8. The whole thing now winds down June 12 in Atlantic City, NJ.
The full, new schedule is noted on the tour poster above. John 5 originally announced his forthcoming tour in December. The Haxans will still serve as support for the tour.
“I’m so excited to hit the road and see old friends and new friends alike,” John 5 said. “I’ve been so thrilled by the reaction to the release of Sinner. I can’t wait to get on stage and truly bring the songs to life for the first time with my fans. Having The Haxans join us on this tour is going to be so fun. Their brilliant “monster party” energy will be a perfect opener for my crazy stage show. This tour is going to be a lot of fun. Don’t miss it!”
Sinner is available now through Big Machine Records. More information on John 5’s new album and tour is available along with all of his latest news at:
John 5 will head back out on the road in support of his latest album next spring.
The virtuoso guitarist (a.k.a. John Lowery) is scheduled to launch the next leg of his tour in support of his latest album, Sinner April 21 in Roseville, CA. The tour is scheduled to run through July 11 in New York, NY. It features scheduled stops in cities nationwide, such as Flint, MI; Winston-Salem, NC, and Austin, TX.
Lowery said he is looking forward to getting back on tour next year.
“I’m so excited to hit the road and see old friends and new friends alike,” he said. “I’ve been so thrilled by the reaction to the release of Sinner. I can’t wait to get on stage and truly bring the songs to life for the first time with my fans. Having The Haxans join us on this tour is going to be so fun. Their brilliant “monster party” energy will be a perfect opener for my crazy stage show. This tour is going to be a lot of fun. Don’t miss it!”
Tickets and VIP packages go on sale here at 10 a.m. EST Friday here. The Haxans will serve as support on select dates. The tour’s schedule is noted below.
The SINNER Tour
N American Dates 2022
Thu 21 Apr Roseville, CA Goldfield Trading Post
Fri 22 Apr Garden Grove, CA Garden Grove Amphitheater
Sat 23 Apr Las Vegas, NV Vamp’d
Sun 24 Apr San Diego, CA Brick By Brick
Tue 26 Apr Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theater
Thu 28 Apr Austin, TX Come And Take It Live
Fri 29 Apr Houston, TX Warehouse Live
Sat 30 Apr San Antonio, TX The Rock Box
Wed 04 May Belvidere, IL Apollo Theater
Thu 05 May Joliet, IL The Forge
Fri 06 May Flint, MI Machine Shop
Sat 07 May Pittsburgh, PA Jergel’s
Sun 08 May Sellersville, PA Sellersville Theater
Wed 11 May Poughkeepsie, NY The Chance
Thu 12 May New Bedford, MA The Vault
Fri 13 May Derry, NH Tupelo Music Hall
Sat 14 May Hartford, CT Webster Underground
Sun 15 May Annapolis, MD Ram’s Head Onstage
Wed 18 May Winston-Salem, NC The Ram Kat
Fri 20 May Atlanta, GA Vinyl
Sat 21 May Daytona Beach, FL Welcome To Rockville
Wed 06 Jul Montreal, QC Foufounes Electriques
Thu 07 Jul Ottawa, ON Brass Monkey
Fri 08 Jul Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
Sat 09 Jul New York, NY Iridium
Sun 10 Jul New York, NY Iridium
Mon 11 Jul New York, NY Iridium
Sinner is available now through Big Machine Records. More information on John 5’s new album and tour is available along with all of his latest news at:
And then there were two. Phil’s Picks is officially down to two year-ender lists on the music side as the countdown to the year’s end itself continues. The first of this year’s last two music year-ender lists comes today in the form of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.
This year’s list is packed with content from so many established and new acts. From up-and-coming hard rock act Antisaint to veteran thrash band Exodus to guitar virtuosos Gus G. and John 5 and more, this year has seen so many great hard rock and metal records. Suffice it to say there has been so much great hard rock and metal this year that it has been extremely difficult to compile this list, but it was created.
As with every list from Phil’s Picks, this collection features the year’s top 10 new releases and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15. Those honorable mention titles are just as deserving of applause as the other featured works. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Hard Rock & Metal Albums list.
PHIL’S PICKS’ 2021 TOP 10 NEW HARD ROCK & METAL ALBUMS
1. Accept – Too Mean To Die
2. Atreyu – Baptize
3. Exodus – Persona Non Grata
4. Michael Schenker Group – Immortal
5. U.D.O. – Game Over
6. Artillery – X
7. Gus G. – Quantum Leap
8. John 5 – Sinner
The Three Tremors – Guardians of the Void
Antisaint – Vaticinate
Bullet For My Valentine – Bullet For My Valentine
A Killer’s Confession – Remember
The CEO – Redemption
Tremonti – Marching in Time
Skarlett Riot – Invicta
That’s it for this year’s hard rock and metal albums. While even the hard rock and metal community has wrapped things for this year, things are already gearing up for 2022, with new releases already coming from the likes of up-and-coming hard rock act Bloodywood, veteran acts Hammerfall and Annihilator, and even from Saxon and Stabbing Westward. That’s all just in the first quarter of 2022, too.
In other words, the first half of the new year is already gearing up to be very exciting for all the hard rock and metal fans out there. Until then though, there’s still one more music year-ender list from Phil’s Picks this year before the attention turns over to the best of this year’s new TV and movie releases. Stay tuned!
The rock community turned out a whole bunch of great new content in 2021. From established acts to the up-and-comers, to the veterans, acts from across the rock community gave audiences plenty of reason to be happy this year. Now with only 21 days left in the year, that flow of new releases has slowed, though there is already lots of rock to look forward to in 2022, beginning early in the year. Until then though, Phil’s Picks has its annual list of this year’s top new rock albums to share.
As was the case with all of the other lists, this one was not easy to craft, either. Pop Evil returned this year with its powerful new album, Versatile. Liquid Tension Experiment (which is essentially the side project of three of Dream Theater’s members) returned for the first time in some years with its third record, too. Up-and-coming neo-classic rock band Greta Van Fleet worked hard this year with its new album to show that it wants to be known as its own act, not just a Led Zeppelin knockoff. Between this record, the others noted here and so many others, this year’s list of top new rock albums is diverse.
As with every other list presented by Phil’s Picks, it consists of the year’s top 10 new albums and five honorable mentions for a total of 15. Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top 10 New Rock Albums.
PHIL’S PICKS 2021 TOP 10 NEW ROCK ALBUMS
Liquid Tension Experiment – 3
John 5 – Sinner
Billy F. Gibbons – Hardware
The Dead Daisies – Holy Ground
Mason Hill – Against The Wall
Candlebox – Wolves
Marc Ribler – The Whole World Awaits You
Myles Kennedy – The Ides of March
Pop Evil – Versatile
Dropkick Murphys – Turn Up That Dial
L.A. Guns – Checkered Past
Foo Fighters – Medicine at Midnight
Grand Royale – Carry On
Styx – Crash of the Crown
Greta Van Fleet – The Battle at Garden’s Gate
That’s it for this list, but wait, there’s more! Yes, there are still two more music lists to go before the attention turns to the best of the year’s new movie and TV categories. Stay tuned!
John 5 unveiled the latest single from his new album and its video this week.
The guitarist (a.k.a. John Lowery) debuted his new single, ‘Land of the Misfit Toys’ and its companion video Tuesday. The song is the second single from his new album, Sinner, which was released over the weekend. Lowery released the album’s lead single, ‘Que Pasa,’ and its companion video in early September.
Lowery discussed the song and its video treatment in a prepared statement.
“Land Of the Misfit Toys” is my favorite track on the record,” he said. “It’s a real epic and the longest track on the new album. I was watching a documentary on David Foster and how he would produce, arrange and build songs which really influenced me on the arrangement and production of this track. The camera that was used to film the video for “Land Of The Misfit Toys” was the same camera that was used to film the new Matrix movie that is coming out in December, which is pretty cool.”
“The video tells the story of the 10 year old John Lowery (played by my producer’s son), who stumbles into this haunted house and becomes possessed by an entity that causes him to start playing guitar and wearing the makeup,” adds Lowery. “At the end of the video, he fully becomes John 5. Everybody knows that I’m a big fan of horror so this was a really fun video to make alongside director Chantal Savage.”
In the case of the song’s arrangement, Lowery opts for a decidedly prog-rock/metal approach. Lowery’s guitar work here is immediately comparable to works from John Petrucci (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment). That is evidenced through the richness and heaviness. The harmonics that Lowery uses here add even more to that sense. The solid time keeping here and the bassline works with Lowery’s own performance and the song’s overall production to make this song so immersive, engaging and entertaining in its own right.
Sinner is available now through Big Machine Records. More information on John 5’s new album, single, and video is available along with all of his latest news at:
John 5 officially returned this weekend with his latest album, Sinner, and the album got some added attention Saturday night in Martinsville in the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ Dead On Tools 250 race. It was featured on the #8 JR Motorsports car, driven by Sam Mayer. Mayer had a very respectable finish in fourth place after starting 11th. Mayer’s strong finish — despite being caught in an early-race incident — with the album on the car is a positive sign for the album’s success. The album is, in fact, a winning new offering from the veteran virtuoso guitarist. That is proven from the album’s outset to its end. Its arrangements are diverse throughout, putting his talents on full display. One of the most notable ways in which that diversity is exhibited is his take on the timeless Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell song, ‘Georgia on My Mind.’ The song will be examined shortly. ‘How High The Moon,’ the album’s midpoint, is in direct contrast to the aforementioned closer. It will be discussed a little later, as its comparison to that composition clearly shows the record’s musical diversity. ‘Land of the Misfit Toys,’ a later entry in the record, is just as unlike the other noted songs are as they are from one another and from the rest of the album’s entries. It also serves to show the album’s diversity, and so will also be discussed later. Each song noted here is important to the whole of the album. When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s entries, the whole makes this record one of the best of this year’s new rock albums.
John 5’s latest album, Sinner, shows that sometimes, just sometimes, sinning is not a bad thing. That is because the 10-song record offers so much musical diversity, just as in each of his existing records. One of the most notable of the album’s entries is its closer, which is a cover of Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell’s timeless song, ‘Georgia on My Mind.’ Originally composed way back in 1930, it has since been made most famous by the late, great Ray Charles. John 5’s rendition here stays true to its source material in the sound while clearly giving the song its own unique identity. Where the Carmichael/Stuart rendition is known as a full orchestra/band arrangement, John 5’s take on the song is still unique in its own right. In the case of John 5’s rendition, his simple guitar approach is more akin to works from famed jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery than the fuller arrangement from Carmichael and Gorrell. Even with that approach, John 5’s approach is still so fully engaging and entertaining. The arrangement here is just John 5 and a subtle beat on the hi-hat and brushes mixing things on the snare. It is such a beautiful, enjoyable rendition that makes for a unique but great finale to this record. It is just one of the songs worth hearing in this record, too. John 5’s take of ‘How High The Moon’ is another work that is well worth hearing.
For those who might not know, ‘How High The Moon’ was originally composed in 1940 by Nancy Hamilton and Morgan Lewis. It was featured in the Broadway revue, “Two for the Show.” John 5’s rendition gives the classic a completely different identity. In this case, John 5 (a.k.a. John Lowery) opts for a more rockabilly approach to the song than the much slower, romantic approach taken in the original composition. What is so interesting to note is that even being more energetic here, this take on the classic still works. It works because in this case, it could portray someone who is just head over heels for another person. The energy here would seem to exude such strong, positive emotion. The original meanwhile is just more of a sensual (for lack of better wording) approach. To that end, Lowery’s rendition, with its swing style drumming and infectious guitar line really just makes the rendition here so enjoyable. It is completely unlike so much of the album’s other works. Thus showing the diversity noted earlier. Showing even more of that diversity is the album’s late entry, ‘Land of the Misfit Toys.’
One of the many originals featured in John 5’s new album, ‘Land of the Misfit Toys’ is just as unlike the other songs examined here as they are from one another and from the rest of the album’s songs. In the case of this song, Lowery opts for a more prog-rock/metal approach. Lowery’s guitar work here is immediately comparable to works from John Petrucci (Dream Theater, Liquid Tension Experiment). That is evidenced through the richness and heaviness. The harmonics that Lowery uses here add even more to that sense. The solid time keeping here and the bassline works with Lowery’s own performance and the song’s overall production to make this song so immersive, engaging and entertaining in its own right. It shows even more, the diversity noted here. Taking that into consideration, this song and the others examined here work with the rest of the record’s compositions to make the record in whole a solid presentation that is unquestionably one of the best at least of this year’s new rock albums.
John 5’s new album, Sinner, is another successful presentation from the veteran virtuoso guitarist. The 10 songs featured in this record – a mix of originals and covers – continue to remind audiences why he is such a respected member of the rock and general music communities. That is because they present so much diversity and talent from Lowery and his fellow musicians from start to end. When the examined songs are considered along with the rest of the album’s works, the whole makes Sinner a blessing from John 5 and company.
Sinner is available now through Big Machine Records. More information on John 5’s new album is available along with all of his latest news at:
The guitarist (a.k.a. John Lowery) is scheduled to release his new album, Sinner, Oct. 29. Pre-orders are open.
In anticipation of the album’s release, Lowery premiered the album’s lead single, ‘Que Pasa,’ and its companion video Friday. The song features a guest appearance by Megadeth front man Dave Mustaine. It features a musical arrangement that is easily comparable to works from fellow guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani.
The video for ‘Que Pasa’ features Lowery and his fellow musicians on stage in order to give audiences a look at what a live John 5 show looks like. Mustaine shows up on video singing the song’s only lyrics, “Que pasa, people/Que pasa.” Yes, it is that simple.
Lowery spoke highly of Mustaine during a recent interview.
“I have such an appreciation for Dave, and I love his voice, guitar playing and songwriting. And he kills it on ‘Que Pasa,'” he said. “It was such a joy to have him on this track.”
Lowery also discussed new album.
“When people hear this record, I want them to say, ‘Oh, that’s John 5,’” he said. “What you get with Sinner is the best of me. I just want to write memorable riffs that people will enjoy. When I sit on my couch and play my guitar, I play the same things you hear on the instrumental records. It’s honest. It’s real. It’s not a façade. This is how I play. This is what I love to do.”
The track listing for Sinner is noted below.
JOHN 5 | SINNER
01. Welcome To The Island
02. For I Have Sinned
03. Euphoria (feat. Carla Harvey)
04. Que Pasa (feat. Dave Mustaine)
05. How High The Moon
07. Land Of The Misfit Toys
08. Crazy Little Thing Called Love
09. This Is How I Do It
10. Georgia On My Mind (feat. Peter Criss)
More information on John 5’s new album, single, and video is available along with all of his latest news at:
Performance times for the festival were announced Wednesday through a news release distributed to the media. The festival’s unofficial start is scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. ET Thursday with a performance by Devium IV on the Deb Concerts Stage.
Thursday night’s kickoff continues at 8:05 p.m. with a performance by Dead Metal Society. The Iron Maidens follow at 9:30 p.m. Stephen Pearcy, the voice of RATT will headline the evening’s events at 10:50 p.m.
Friday’s official launch opens at 11 a.m. on the Deb Concerts Stage with a performance by Straight Six. Lovesick Radio, Outlaw Devils, Travis Bond & The Rebel Souls, and Color of Chaos keep things moving from 11:50 a.m. through 2 p.m.
Liliac closes out the performances on the Deb Concerts Stage at 5 p.m., but before that, Plush will take the stage at 4 p.m. on the Renegade Stage. Half an hour later at 3:30, From Ashes To New will open the action on the Renegade Stage.
Performances from the likes of Tremonti, Candlebox, and Sevendust are also scheduled for Friday. Rob Zombie is scheduled to headline Friday’s events at 10:45 p.m. on the Freedom Stage.
Slipknot is scheduled to headline Saturday’s events at 10:45 p.m. on the Freedom Stage. Prior to its performance, other bands, such as John 5 and the Creatures, Zero 9:36, and Pop Evil are also scheduled to perform.
Also scheduled to perform Saturday are the likes of Butcher Babies, School of Rock, and Falling in Reverse.
Sunday will see its own wide array of acts scheduled to perform. Among those scheduled to perform Sunday are The Hu, Puddle of Mudd, and Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals.
The full rundown of performance times for this weekend’s festival is noted below.
Thursday, September 2
DEB CONCERTS STAGE
10:50 PM – Stephen Pearcy The Voice Of Ratt
9:20 PM – The Iron Maidens
8:05 PM – Dead Metal Society
7:00 PM – Devium IV
Friday, September 3
10:45 PM – Rob Zombie
8:45 PM – Chevelle
6:55 PM – Sevendust
5:40 PM – Candlebox
4:30 PM – Ayron Jones
3:30 PM – From Ashes To New
9:55 PM – Grandson
8:05 PM – Tremonti
6:20 PM – Austin Meade
4:00 PM – Diamante
3:00 PM – Plush
DEB CONCERTS STAGE
5:00 PM – Liliac
2:20 PM – Color Of Chaos
1:30 PM – Travis Bond & The Rebel Souls
12:40 PM – Outlaw Devils
11:50 AM – Love Sick Radio
11:00 AM – Straight Six
Saturday, September 4
10:45 PM – Slipknot
8:45 PM – Anthrax
6:55 PM – Pop Evil
5:40 PM – Badflower
4:30 PM – Bones UK
3:30 PM – Butcher Babies
9:55 PM – Falling in Reverse
8:05 PM – Jelly Roll
6:20 PM – Zero 9:36
4:00 PM – All Good Things
3:00 PM – School Of Rock
DEB CONCERTS STAGE
5:00 PM – John 5 And The Creatures
2:20 PM – Rocket Science
1:30 PM – Fist Of Rage
12:40 PM – 90LB Wrench
11:50 AM – Mind Of Fury
11:00 AM – The Rumours
Sunday, September 5
8:45 PM – Halestorm
6:55 PM – Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals
5:40 PM – Motionless In White
4:30 PM – Steel Panther
3:30 PM – Stellar Ascent
9:55 PM – The Hu
8:05 PM – Andrew W.K.
6:20 PM – Knocked Loose
4:00 PM – Cory Marks
3:00 PM – Jeris Johnson
DEB CONCERTS STAGE
5:00 PM – Puddle Of Mudd
2:20 PM – Budderside
1:30 PM – Paralandra
12:40 PM – Severmind
11:50 AM – Jessikill
11:00 AM – Chaotic Resemblance
A three-day pass is required to attend the Roadhouse Pre-Party on Sept. Thursday. Doors for the Roadhouse Pre-Party open at 11 a.m. Festival grounds open for the festival daily at 2 p.m.
Rocklahoma is presented by AEG Presents.
More information on Rocklahoma is available along with all of the festival’s latest news at:
Up-and-coming guitarist Jared James Nichols headed out on the road last week with fellow guitarist John 5 as part of John 5’s new headlining tour. Nichols’ dates in support of John 5 are in support of his new, forthcoming EP, Shadow Dancer, which is scheduled for release Sept. 17 through Black Hill Records. Nichols was nice enough to take some time out of his already busy schedule to talk with Phil’s Picks about that record, his future music plans, touring, and being recently named a Gibson Brand Ambassador. Nichols’ interview with Phil’s Picks is featured below to enjoy.
PP: This year has proven to be pretty busy for you. You’ve been named a Gibson brand ambassador, you’ve got a new EP on the way, which has already produced two singles and companion videos, and you’re touring with a guitarist in John 5 who is very well-known to say the very least. How are you handling it all? It’s got to be pretty overwhelming.
JJN: Absolutely! I feel so grateful and honored to be having such a monumental year. These are serious dreams come true, to be honest, I never dreamed this far! Earning a title as a Gibson brand ambassador is easily one of the coolest things that I have ever accomplished. And to be back on the road? Amazing! The fact that I’m releasing new music as well is the complete icing on the cake! We still have quite a bit of time left in the year to keep on making moves.
PP: Touching on your forthcoming EP, Shadow Dancer, which is scheduled for release Sept. 17 through Black Hill Records, it is your third EP, if my recollection is right. You released Old Glory and the Wild Revival in 2013 (which I had the honor of reviewing), Highwayman in, I believe 2016, and now you have this one coming out next month. What specifically to you sets your new EP apart from its predecessors in terms of its musical and lyrical content? Where do you think it stands overall in comparison to those records?
JJN: I know that it is very cliché to say this upcoming release is so much more than anything else. But, this record encapsulates everything I have been striving to achieve in my recorded music! This EP is set apart not only by the prowess which it was recorded but also the thought and motivation that went behind it. We recorded live in a room together! We recorded to tape! No computers, no editing, just real music. We wanted these recordings to serve as a menu for our upcoming live shows. What you hear recorded, is what you get live! In terms of lyrical context, I dug deep. I tried to expose the feelings and thoughts that I have been having the past 17 months of being off the road. Simply put, this EP encapsulates who I am and where I am going to musically.
PP: Changing gears to your live schedule, you, again, are set to tour alongside John 5 this summer. Knowing Mr. Lowery’s pedigree, what was the first thing that went through your mind when you learned that you had been tapped to join him for his latest tour?
JJN: I better practice! John is such an amazing guitarist, musician, and songwriter. I feel honored to be on the bill with John. When we met, I realized aside from being an incredible artist, John is a sweetheart of a guy. I’m so lucky to be able to travel playing music with so many heroes and flat out legends, including John!
PP: What are your thoughts on getting out in front of audiences again, now that live music is back? Additionally, there have been a lot of reports of the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading. Are there any concerns by you, John 5, or anyone else as to the possibility of live music getting shut down again as a result of this? If that happened (god forbid), what kind of impact do you think it would have on live music and the economy in whole?
JJN: I can express from everyone on this tour that we want to be as safe as possible! With that being said, we are all so excited to be back out playing music in front of live audiences again. To be honest, this has been the biggest thing missing in my life, playing live shows. We can only do as much as we can when it comes to seeing the future. Every day we wake up and assess the reality of our current situation. Day by day, we will do our best to rock ‘n’ roll. If we end up getting sent back home due to health concerns, then that is what it is. Health and safety first over everything!
PP: Along with touring with John 5, you are also scheduled to perform at Metal in the Mountains this year. For audiences who might not already know, the festival was canceled last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What was your initial reaction at learning that you had been tapped for the festival this year?
JJN: Thrilled! We can’t wait to go and rock at the festival. It’s always super fun being on the road and being able to experience all different types of gigs. Whether that’s clubs, theaters, festivals, or anything in between! I think that we will bring our own unique Brand of bluespower to the bill.
PP: The MITM festival is going to have a wide array of act on the bill this year. From the hard rock of Soulfly, to your bluesy southern rock-tinged sounds, to the nu-metal of hed (p.e.) and others, there is a lot for audiences to enjoy. What does it mean to you to be among that extensive range of bands scheduled for the festival?
JJN: It’s so awesome. It’s honestly what I love about music, being surrounded by all different genres and we all complement each other. I’m so grateful that the style that we play can fit in with so many different acts. It’s always really fun for an audience to get so much variation at a festival, so I truly believe this will be a special one!
PP: Which band(s) are you most looking forward to see at Metal in the Mountains this year? Are there any that, again looking at the scheduled, that you would really like to tour and/or record with?
JJN: All of them! A ton of bands that I love and respect. Also a ton of bands I’ve never seen live, it’s going to be awesome! There are so many bands I would love to tour or record with. Rival Sons, blackberry smoke, gov’t Mule, the list goes on and on! I’m truly looking forward to the future and sharing the bill and recording with a ton of different influences that I have.
PP: Staying on the topic of playing live, what has been the response among audiences to your music? Have you been able to gauge maybe “x” or “y” song is getting more response than “a,” “b” or “c”?
JJN: Totally! I always try and read the room. Every show it’s a little different, sometimes we really want to hit the audience over the head right away and not let up until the end. Other times we want to slow it down or maybe get funky. I can say with absolute certain tea that our new songs are really connecting with audiences. Whether it is Bad Roots or Skin ‘N Bone, they are connecting.
PP: Looking at your social media channels, your established audiences are offering a lot of support for your upcoming live dates, all included. What does that support mean to you as an artist who is technically still considered up and coming?
JJN: It means everything. My biggest goal is to play for as many people as possible and to share my music across the world. The true reality is the engagement and interaction with fans. Especially online, it means so much! Also, when I see all of the connection happening, it gets me pumped up! I feel very grateful and honored to have people excited about what I do. I’m just so excited to be able to be out and play in person for them.
PP: Changing gears a little bit, what exactly does being a “brand ambassador” entail? You obviously are playing Gibson guitars, but what else if anything does that entail if anything?
JJN: If anything, it signifies and solidifies my relationship with Gibson. It means there will be more guitars coming, more development and partnership with the brand. For me, it’s home. It signifies that my relationship with Gibson is more than just a name on the headstock, it embodies a massive piece of who I am as a guitarist.
PP: One last question to round everything out. Thank you again, by the way, for your time. We’ve already pointed out here that your coming EP has produced two singles. What are your personal favorite songs from Shadow Dancer and why? Additionally, do you think audiences will see a full-length album from you in the near future, considering you will have released three EPs as of next month.
JJN: Absolutely, expect an album. I have a lot of things up my sleeve for the near upcoming future. Get ready for that. As far as my favorite songs of the EP, it’s hard to pick! There are special elements in each song that make me love them. Different emotions, energy, soulful intensity in each track. That might be the hardest question!
More information on Nichols’ new honor, tour, and music is available along with all of his latest news at: