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Nickel&Rose Announces Single, “Americana”

Opening with a dusty roll and sweltering haze, the new single from Nickel&Rose, “Americana”, tells the forgotten story of African music in roots and American music. A blend of traditional and cross-continental influence lay the foundation for a culture left behind. The single echos a lack of representation, as expressed in the lyrics “The instruments from Africa are no longer for me, just like the songs we sang when we all wanted to be free.” It is the title-track to the upcoming album, due out September 14.

“Americana” seamlessly blends American and traditional African folk motifs, and the songwriting of Carl Nichols and Johanna Rose are the bridge upon which those influences meet. Highlighted within the music’s steady measures are Nichols’ fingerstyle guitar part a la Mississippi John Hurt, and a West-African Bajourou guitar solo. Rose creates a dramatic effect with bowed upright bass that smoothes the melody into a haunting cadence. The deeper meaning within the lyrics tells the story of Africa’s forgotten influence on American music, which Nichols explains. “Lyrically this song explores my personal experience as a black person growing up with black heroes in folk and rock music and growing up to feel as an outsider within ‘Americana’. I touch on the lack of diversity in the audience, the lack of credit given to black artists and how black Americans have been denied access to their own culture.”

Over the course of the EP, Nickel&Rose try to reconcile Americana’s past and present with their own experiences, and where they hope it goes in the future. From the blue collar city of Milwaukee, even the city itself has a contributing story to share. Like many cities across the Midwest, it has seen factories come and go, leaving a wake of economic depression. That gap spreads the seeds for segregation, which the duo know first-hand. Nichols, grew up on the mostly black North side, while Rose came from the predominantly white East side. The two not only combine styles like folk, hot jazz, punk, and African roots, but they form a cross-cultural geographical arch. Americana reconciles their past experience in music, and sets the stage to forge a new path. Even though the title-track is Nichols’ break-up letter with folk music, the EP as a whole pays homage to tradition, and sheds a deep appreciation for their fondness of American folk, while calling to attention the need for a more diverse representation within the genre.

Americana Track Listing

  1. Dog River 
  2. Americana
  3. Moving Pianos 
  4. Life goes on
  5. Hard Day’s Work

About Nickel&Rose

The songs of Carl Nichols and Johanna Rose are the bridge upon which their influences meet. Together, they form the Milwaukee band Nickel&Rose. They have released two EPs, A Place to Call Home (2016), and Oh Sweet Love (2017). After forming in 2016, the duo has toured all over Europe twice as well as headlined several short regional mini-tours in the Midwest. They have opened up for Mason Jennings, Robbie Fulks and Peter Mulvey, and had a single named #3 Best Milwaukee Songs of 2017 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Their new EP is due out in September.

Tour Dates

Aug 8 - Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. - Milwaukee WI
Aug 12 - Logjam Festival - Mosinee WI
Sept 1 - Company Brewing - Milwaukee WI
Sept 4 - Peoples brewing Company - Lafayette IN
Sept 5 - Mag Bar - Louisville KY
Sept 7 - Schulz Bräu - Knoxville TN
Sept 8 - Crow and Quill - Asheville NC

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Paul Corsi

When he’s not playing a show or practicing with his band Go Tiger, Go! he can be found at one of Detroit’s best new restaurants or taking in the sights and sounds that the area has to offer. He loves running, coffee houses, playing with puppies, and the occasional vortex of video games.

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