Jeb Loy Nichols: Southern Soul Special
From country soul and blues ballads to rousing R&B, the NY-born, Wales-based singer-songwriter selects choice cuts from the American South.
When you hear Jeb Loy Nichols’s tender rendering of rock & roll, soul, blues and folk, all guided by his warm country drawl, you’d be forgiven in thinking he’s lived his whole life strumming guitars on Southern porches in the humid afternoon sun. But Nichols is a nomad in music and life, and his stories are woven deep into the fabric of his sound. After leaving Missouri for New York City, where he worked in Record City selling afrobeat and soul to regulars like Brian Eno, David Byrne and Prince Paul, and danced to Larry Levan at Paradise Garage, he hopped on over to London, where he shared a flat with Ari Up of The Slits and Neneh Cherry, and bonded with dub engineering avant Adrian Sherwood at Jah Shaka’s incendiary reggae dances. Influenced by the myriad musical luminaries that have crossed his path over the decades, Nichols took chances in experimenting with genre, and people took chances on him – being signed to Capitol Records in the ’90s by Gary Gersch, the man who signed Nirvana and Guns’N‘Roses. When he shunned a life spent on the road for a song-writing life in rural Wales, though, Nichols carved out his own path and started his City Country City label in 2011.