Herald Nix

This guy’s art & music will amaze you!  I had the opportunity to stay in the Heritage Home he had been refurbishing in Salmon Arm some years back.  I had the chance to see his painted boards in his studio space, one at a time under nice light.  I was able to hear him play guitar out on his back deck in the evening time.

I like the ‘edge’ to his music…

“One hundred years from now, when musicologists attempt to trace the origins of British Columbia’s lake-country blues, there’s one salient moment they’ll be able to point to: the day Herald Nix, loaded his battered amplifier, his equally well-worn guitars, and a few dusty suits into the back of his old panel truck and headed east from Vancouver, back to Salmon Arm.

Nix was already almost a legend then, a shadowy figure noted for thrillingly intense concerts, sudden disappearances, and a handful of fitfully brilliant recordings. Now he vanished again, into the center of B.C.’s lush yet sun-baked Interior, whose rounded curves and rocky promontories have since seeped into his music , joining trace elements of Son House and Mississippi Fred McDowell, Hank Williams and the Jimmie Rodgers.

The sound and the land, the land and the sound: inseparable now, they bring strength and dignity to Nix’s music in a way that, in the English-speaking world, is rarely found outside of the southern United States. Like Bob Dylan and Richard Manuel and very few other Northerners, Nix has become an honest bluesman, his lake-country sound a Canadian parallel to the hill-country music of the Mississippi Delta.

The comparison is not at all far-fetched. Like the hill country’s late champions Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, Nix can hammer on a single chord all day while still holding the listener’s attention with subtle inflections of tone and timing. Like them, he’ll rework a song according to how he feels, and these themes grow in emotional impact every time they’re recorded. And like them he writes obsessively about women , about moving on, about hotel fires and bad decisions, liquor drunk and money gambled away.

But he’s no copyist, and no revivalist. That lake-country water is in his veins, keeping him true to himself and to the land where he was raised. He’s on the road from being a Canadian eccentric to being a Canadian pioneer, on the cusp of inventing a new musical idiom. The lake-country blues start here, but who knows how or when they’ll end?”

                                             — Alexander Varty

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