with Grease, Grit and Grime opening
The Center for the Arts presents
Friday, April 21, 8:00PM
$17 Members, $24 General Public
(Ticket price includes $2 facility fee. Does not include applicable fee for online purchases.)
“Merging diverse influences—vintage soul to classic rock, psychedelia to jazz fusion—Moss offers plenty of space for his five-piece to create fresh-sounding compositions.” – Relix
A conversation with guitarist and blues aficionado, Nick Moss, is never dull. The 16-time Blues Music Award nominee is one of the top draws on the blues circuit and one of the most exciting, dynamic performers working today. And work he does. He and his band play venues, clubs and festivals world wide and maintain not only a grueling tour schedule, but an active recording schedule as well. Nick is a gifted storyteller, a songwriter that takes his craft seriously and a musician with a daunting work ethic. He is a walking encyclopedia of blues and music knowledge, and his deep understanding of the genre shines on the new release From the Root to the Fruit (Blue Bella Records, 2016).
“For the past six years, I’ve branched into more modern and progressive styles of blues. It’s been an education to explore and develop songs for us to take on the road,” he explains. “Our audiences expect the unexpected and in order to give it to them night after night, I devote myself to learning more about the music I play. So while modern and progressive blues has been an element to explore and incorporate into our shows, everything we do is based on traditional blues. Blues is first and foremost an American African art form and is America’s gift to the world. Whether or not people realize it or acknowledge it, the root of all popular music goes back to the blues.”
“From the Root to the Fruit was really born out of the concept that American music is connected by the blues and each generation adds something new to the mix. I made the decision a couple of years ago to do a double record, sort of a concept album, as my band was learning some traditional blues tunes for our shows,” says Moss. “The guys in my band, true to form, were adding something new to the blues mix. Part of the growth I want to showcase with From the Root to the Fruit wasn’t only my own development as a band leader, but the incredible musicianship of the people I play with. Nightly, the people I am on stage with simply amaze me.”
Recently, Moss and former bandmate Michael Ledbetter (a distant relative of Lead Belly, who will do select dates with NMB in 2017), were invited to play a tribute event for Lead Belly at Carnegie Hall. “I heard Lead Belly songs when I was a child,” says Moss. “My Grandmother, of Austrian and German decent, played harmonica and sang “Good Night Irene” to me when I was little. She learned those songs when she was growing up during the 1920’s and 1930’s, which is evidence of how the blues seeped into culture and became popular music.” Ledbetter has been with The Nick Moss Band for five years and contributed half the songs on From the Root to the Fruit, an accomplishment Moss encouraged and is proud of.
“The more traditional blues record of the double disc set is a little looser,” says Moss. “There’s a little bit of 40’s and 50’s jump blues, 60’s and 70’s style blues, Texas style, Chicago, and uptown blues. The second CD encompasses a more progressive look at the blues; it’s more modern and experimental. It’s blues with a soul and garage punk sound with some Rolling Stones blues tossed in for good measure.”
“People are always debating the blues; what it is and what is is not and should not be. There are purists who believe true blues cannot be played by people with long hair wearing holey jeans and tee shirts,” says Moss. “To me, a pure approach to the blues has more to do with the emotion the music evokes and the heart of the player; what someone looks like says very little about their musical heart.”
Moss tells the moving story of his little daughter’s heart moment as she listened to Ella Fitzgerald.
“When my daughter was a toddler, she was sitting in her car seat and I had Ella Fitzgerald playing on the sound system. I noticed she was very animated in the back seat. She was singing along and moving her arms and then she just started staring forward.”
“I said, ‘Honey what’s wrong?’
And she said, ‘Daddy, why does my heart hurt?’”
“And that is really it, isn’t it? Music elicits a right reaction, a heart reaction, whether you’re three or thirty or ninety. My mission with my music is to reach like minded people. I want to reach people with music that want to be reached.”
From the Root to the Fruit was released on the Blue Bella label May 20, 2016.