Nick Shoulders is “one of the most unique and gifted vocal acrobats of roots music from this generation or any other” – Saving Country Music
Here to put the “Try” in country, and currently holed up in a cabin near Ponca, Arkansas on one of the Ozark Mountains, young country singer Nick Shoulders picked a fine time to release his first album proper, ‘Okay, Crawdad.’ Recorded with his band – also called Okay Crawdad but minus the comma – the album was self-released digitally by Nick in late December, with physical copies to come before Nick hit the road. Alas Nick didn’t get further than a local record release show at the end of January. He was meant to be playing some shows here in Australia mid-year too. Of course that’s been postponed, but it’s time Australia heard him regardless.
‘Okay, Crawdad’ follows the incredible 2018 EP/mini-album ‘Lonely Like Me’, another record that went unheard down under. So we all have some catching up to do.
With a high-octave yodel and normal feller sing-song, Nick Shoulders combines his unique brand of Arkansas honkabilly with Slim Whitman-style quivering country ballads. Since 2014, Nick has periodically traveled for months at a time, living out of his van-house with his trusty 130-pound dog Moose while busking as a one-man band all over the US. Since releasing a solo demo in late 2017, he has taken his songs off the streets and to the dance floors of New Orleans where he has been performing nearly constantly with notable contemporaries, including Sam Doores, The Deslondes, Esther Rose, even Australia’s own CW Stoneking. He has also had music featured in a CR Fashion short starring other notables Kim Kardashian, Cher and Naomi Campbell, as well as in the 2020 independent film ‘One of These Days’.
‘Okay, Crawdad,’ like its predecessor, was recorded live to tape and below sea level at Mashed Potato Records in New Orleans. Wielding a distinct warbling yodel and masterful whistle crafted from a lifetime chasing lizards through the Ozark hills, Nick combines his family’s deep ties to southern traditional music with his years of street-corner singing to create this hybrid form of raucous country music: born of some dark holler, yet bred to be sweated out and stomped into the dance floors it now calls home.
A cry out against the withering void of listless Americana, ‘Okay, Crawdad’ is a two-step laden dose of indignation, loss and profound elation; inspired as much by the chaos and decadence of south Louisiana as it is the rural sounds of yesteryear from which it sprang.
Nick Shoulders is a compulsive crooner, working illustrator and outspoken writer (read his feature Fake Twang: How White Conservatism Stole Country Music in independent publication In These Times). Embracing the mania of the podunk zeitgeist while seeking to enfranchise the disenfranchised, he has a voice shaped by echoes off of rocky forgotten places, and a wit honed by the strained reality of the 21st-century American south. Australia is going to love him.
NICK SHOULDERS & OKAY CRAWDAD’S OKAY, CRAWDAD IS OUT NOW, AND AVAILABLE VIA BANDCAMP
With thanks to Dave Laing Publicity