About Johnny Nicholas

Johnny Nicholas has  spent a lifetime soaking up the flavor of such vibrant music scenes as Chicago, Southwest Louisiana and Texas (which he’s called home now for nearly 40 years). His music is full-spectrum Americana — a rich gumbo of not just blues, but cajun, swing, folk, and barrelhouse rock ’n’ roll.

Nicholas’ most satisfyingly eclectic collection of original American roots music yet,  Fresh Air has just been acclaimed by Downbeat magazine by being included in their “Best album releases of 2017 list  It finds him drawing on all of the above and deep into his soul for words of wit, wisdom, and heart. As the esteemed writer Bill Bentley puts it best, “He’s someone who cares about being real, and the hell with everything else … .”

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Fresh Air | Now Available

Release Date: August 18, 2016
Produced By: Bruce Hughes

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“Hands down, this is the closest thing to the work of the old Masters that I have heard in ages.  Then again, it comes as no surprise, as Johnny Nicholas has toured and recorded with a virtual “Who’s Who” of the blues including Mississippi Fred McDowell, Robert Lockwood Jr, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Roosevelt Sykes, Nathan Abshire, Robert Pete Williams, Eddie Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, Johnny Young, Houston Stackhouse and Boogie Woogie Red… This is an album that should, if there is and justice or a God in heaven, win multiple Handy Awards.  As things stand at this moment, this would be my top pick for the year.  There are elements of many of Johnny’s influences on the album…but it all ties into the blues. This belongs in the collection of every music lover.”

Bill Wilson
Reflections in Blue

“ “Fresh Air” is a fascinating journey through the better roots music and is an absolute must!”

Lucy Meert
Roots Time Belgium

“It is always an event for us when Johnny Nicholas has a new album.  A talented multi-instrumentalist and engaging singer, his latest is truly a shot of “Fresh Air!”

Sheryl and Don Crow
The Nashville Blues Society

“He’s someone who cares about being real, and the hell with everything else. Those roads usually take him to the blues, but it’s in his own self-reliant way how he gets there which makes for all the fun. These new recordings feel like someone finding their way to the top of the mountain where everything they touch turns true. Nicholas has recorded with all the great bluesmen of the past 50 years, in the process becoming one of them.”

Bill Bentley’s Bandstand
The Morton Report

“A profound sense of knowhow — besides the ultra-cool entertainment — permeates every element of “Fresh Air.” But the ultimate masterpiece here arrives mid-disc, with “Play Me (Like You Play Your Guitar),” a swamp-funky display that calls to mind Tony Joe White at his lyrical best. Nicholas co-wrote the song with the esteemed songwriter Gary Nicholson, and it revolves around the line “I wish you would play me like you play your guitar.” Enough said. That many great riffs, phrases, and scruffy vocals and guitar in one song, alone confirms this as the comeback album of the year.”  

Tom Clarke
Tahoe Onstage

Johnny Nicholas shines on this latest CD which includes 11 songs written or co-written by the Austin, Texas-based artist… Though everything on Fresh Air is rooted in the blues, there’s also more than a hint of rock and roll in most of the tracks and especially in the rollicking “Red Light,” where the piano work echoes Jerry Lee Lewis. Good stuff, from first track to last.” 

Jeff Burger
No Depression, The Morton Report

“What an aptly named album. From it’s opening harmonica pushes and pulls, Johnny Nicholas’ latest, Fresh Air, is a breath of soul-sustaining sound . . . With the variety of styles offered, it easily seems like two dozen sublime songs. Whether rockin’, stompin’, wheezin’, confessin’, convincin’ or lullabyin’, these songs use as many emotional approaches as there are reasons to share the blues. Austin-based Nicholas, a consummate musician (on this album he is featured on vocals, piano, harmonica and guitar) and a master storyteller, excels in every style. What’s more—the many parts fit nicely together, creating an inviting map of the blues, with Nicholas as guide. …he is still finding new ways to reach audiences who want to boogie. He is a legend in the making and this album is many breaths of fresh air put to damn good use.”

Greg Victor

“Try listening on headphones to best appreciate the guitar work of Nicholas, Newcomb and Cashdollar as they meld together. This is real roots music from a master.” 

Jim Hynes Elmore Magazine

“An ode to blue collar work on the pipeline paired with a solid, nod-your-head, jammy sort of groove makes “Blues Time” a definite highlight of the record. … this record satisfies even the finicky of blues appetites with ease. Rating: Bad-Ass”

Lauren Rosier
That Music Mag

“His is a brand of Americana that eschews commercial country trappings for the real thing: a roots based rock’n’roll electric blues aesthetic that hits all the right notes involving the listener in his stories and melodies. His 13 songs hit all the right bases from Mississippi delta blues and electric Chicago blues to Louisiana Cajun romps.”

Mike Greenblatt

“Fresh Air is one helluva CD, as fresh, smart-ass, down-home, humorous, invigorating, nasty, ribald, and drop-dead authentic as grits, chitlins, and bacon grease . . . Then there are the cuts with sweet, tender, or hilarious falsetto lines tossed in for coloration. And don’t pass by them thar ditties that are about as risqué as you can get without being banned from the air, penned by a masterful hand knowing how to dance on the edge, grinning.”

Mark Tucker
Veritas Vampires

“Everything Nicholas touches turns to gold as the singer and multi-instrumentalist adds deep soul and a down home feeling to each and every song. Fresh Air is just that, as this legend in his spare time hits it out of the park.”

Blues Junction Productions

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