Last April, local Americana singer-songwriter Nathan Quick was promoting the release of The Mile, a six-track EP that was nearly two years in the making. Three weeks shy of a year later, he has already returned with new material: another EP to precede a full-length album that is planned for sometime in the "near future."
"Being back home has really helped with being able to write a lot of content and make more music," says Quick, who had just quit the oil-rig business to pursue music full-time when he last spoke with the Press.
"I'm able to play my instrument every day, which is amazing," he continues. "I feel like the guitar is an extremity of my being, and it means a lot to be able to work on my craft more."
But returning home hasn't been stress-free for Quick, whose father died in May 2013. Losing his dad further motivated the musician to be the best at what he can do, both as a person and an artist.
"Trying to better oneself is an endless journey," Quick says. "I think we all learn and grow every day whether we know it or not."
When he last talked with the Press, Quick spoke of wanting to be a better person and feeling closer to who he wants to be and where he wants to go. Reporting on his progress, he says with a laugh, "I'm still working on that part."
A three-track EP, City Lights is short. Despite its brevity, however, it packs quite the punch, featuring the kind of thumping, rock-and-roll-inspired cuts that were absent from Quick's last offering.
The Mile was a solid EP in its own right, more focused on lyrical content and containing something of an ethereal vibe throughout. The only thing missing was a bit of grit, but this release more than compensates for that.
From the onset of City Lights, Quick and company sound fiercer than anything on their last album. The vocals are coarser, the guitars scratchier and the beats heavier.
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In the eponymous opening track, Quick sings of restlessly driving around town late into the evening, likely en route to cause some trouble or perhaps running from his demons. It's the kind of song that makes you want to press the gas pedal down a little farther and chase the beat.
Next, "Just Hold On" begins with a riff that would sound right at home on a classic-rock album, perhaps a KISS or Guns N' Roses record, with ghostly vocals mirroring Quick's lyrics throughout the verses and harmonizing on the choruses.
And if Justified weren't already wrapping up its final season, I would expect "Dusk Til Dawn" to find its way into the show's soundtrack. Eerie guitar picking and ominous percussion underwrite a distorted harmonica that wails in the background like an oncoming train as Quick sings of trudging along.
And that's how City Lights ends, with the promise to continue on, perhaps as a wry commentary on the state of his celebrity or lack thereof in the local music scene, depending on whom you ask.
Quick has found his sound, of this much he sounds certain. Fans who will be eagerly awaiting his full-length album now have a few new tunes to tide them over, and they might just be Quick's best work to date, which should excite longtime listeners and attract him even more fans.
"I've got a lot more work to do," Quick says. "And I'm going to make things happen!"
Quick's album release is tonight, April 3, at Fitzgerald's. Also on the bill are Color Gravity and The Caldwell. Doors open at 8 p.m.
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