REVIEW | Shady Pines Vol. 2 by Nicholas Johnson

Say hello to Nicholas Johnson and his fourth album, Shady Pines Vol. 2, the follow up to 2017’s Shady Pines Vol. 1. Both albums were produced and engineered by Patrick Himes (Ryan Adams, Ethan Johns, Lilly Hiatt).

Nicholas moved to Milan in 2016, but the Fates had other plans and he was kicked out of the country due to errors with filing his visa. It was back home while splitting his time between Dayton and Louisville that a friend referred Patrick to the singer songwriter and as the old adage goes, the rest is history.

Nicholas says this of the fateful meeting,

It was a match made in heaven. I loved working with him, but it was brief because by the time we got to work in the studio it was nearly time for me to go back to Italy. We knocked out five songs in a couple days which would become 2017’s Shady Pines Vol. 1. After that, I really wanted to come back and work with him again. Volume 2 was that opportunity.

The duo took their time recording Volume 2. Of this experience, Nicholas says,

The beginnings of Volume 2 started all the way back in 2018, flying back from Italy to Dayton to work with Patrick. So we’ve had quite a bit of time to refine things and take our time crafting the sound and style. The result is an album that genre hops a bit but it’s essentially Americana with an edge: peppered with rock and a little punk.

Within the 7 tracks, there is an immediate sense of strength in the lyrics. They are storytelling masterpieces like that of Ryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan..

Nicholas brings those lyrics to life with his heartfelt and honest vocals that enthral the listener. His own vocals are teeming with echoes of Tom Petty, Brian Fallon of Gaslight Anthem and the aforementioned Adams and Springsteen. They are clear, crisp, and hypnotise.

Shady Pines Vol. 2 is a concise and tightly woven album. The lyrics allow one to daydream, the melodies soar, and the superb vocals combine all together into one graceful and sensational piece of work.

MUST LISTEN SONGS: “On the Avenue” “New Vampire”, “Binghamton NY is a Portal to Hell”

FAVOURITE SONGS: “On the Avenue” “New Vampire”

Grab Shady Pines Vol. 2 on Ninja Jam Records on March 3.

Catch Nicholas on tour below
3/03/23 – Monarch – Louisville, KY
3/04/23 – Urban Artifact – Cincinnati, OH
3/05/23 – Tip Top Deluxe – Grand Rapids, MI
3/06/23 – Space – Chicago, IL
3/07/23 – Gibson Music Hall – Appleton, WI
3/08/23 – The Bur Oak – Madison, WI
3/09/23 – Aster Cafe – Minneapolis, MN
3/10/23 – Kinkaider Brewing – Omaha, NE
3/11/23 – The Rino – Kansas City, KS
3/12/23 – Thelma’s Peach – Tulsa, OK
3/13/23 – The Stockyard – Ft. Worth, TX
3/14/23 – SxSW – Austin, TX
3/15/23 – San Jac Saloon – Austin, TX
3/16/23 – SxSW – Austin, TX
3/17/23 – SxSW – Austin, TX
3/18/23 – SxSW – Austin, TX
3/19/23 – Oak Park Retreat – Oklahoma City, OK
3/20/23 – Queen City Shout Festival – Springfield, MO
3/21/23 – Bowery Vault – Nashville, TN
3/22/23 – Fensteins – Indianapolis, IN
3/23/23 – Blind Bobs – Dayton, OH
3/24/23 – The Bridge Music Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
3/25/23 – The Bridge Music Bar – Pittsburgh, PA
3/26/23 – Rambling House – Columbus, OH