Alt-Rock Troubadour's Debut Solo Album on Vinyl LP!
Listening to Nick Harley's debut album Easy Moon feels like listening to a classic alt-rock album from the 1990s. From the opening track, "Circus" (Nick's favorite track on the album because "it's poppy & catchy, short & sweet"), you immediately get the sense that you're listening to something on par with the best work of bands like Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Weezer, Ween, and Pavement. In fact, Nick cites Pavement's jagged alternative rock as a major influence on this album. But the album's sound is so varied, the listener will be surprised at every turn. There are also folk, country and Americana influences peppered throughout the album, especially on the aptly named album closer "Take Me Home Cowboy." The mournful, visceral music of the late-great alt-country songwriter Townes van Zandt was also a significant influence on Easy Moon, as was the timeless music of Neil Young and Bob Dylan.
Needless to say, Easy Moon has it all. From hints of toe-tapping acoustic folk, folk-rock, country and even bluegrass to mouthwatering, headbanging indie rock, this album demonstrates the many talents of a burgeoning songwriter with enormous talent, wit, and range.
Aside from being an astounding songwriter, Nick is also an accomplished and immensely talented multi-instrumentalist. In addition to writing and singing, Nick plays most of the guitar on the album, along with bass and keyboards. The guitar work on Easy Moon really punches you in the gut, especially on tracks like "Something to Lose," "I Had a Dream," and "Hang Up the Mayor."
Composed of 10 easily digestible, catchy tracks, Easy Moon is Nick's debut album, released on the Kentucky-based DIY label Slough Water Records. Although founded to promote music "born in the American South," Slough Water prides itself in "finding beauty in the backwater" by having "no overreaching genre, no specific set of rules." The label releases work by a diverse range of musicians. Fitting for an album that refuses to peg itself down to any one particular style...
Nick and company recorded most of the album at Loud & Clear Studio in Paducah, Kentucky (they also recorded in Bloomington, Indiana and Nashville, Tennessee), a residential-home-turned-music-studio, which, according to Nick, gave the recording process a "homey" feel. Nick adds that the recording location "allows the recording process to not be intimidating and sterilized, which is very important for the best performance."
Originally from South Bend, Indiana, Nick is currently located in Nashville, Tennessee. He began playing the guitar at 13 years old and began writing songs around the same time. In his early years, Nick was a folk purist, whose heroes were Bob Dylan and Woodie Guthrie. Although Easy Moon is his first album as a solo artist, Nick has also written songs for the various groups he's played in throughout the years.
Nick is also an alumnus of Indiana University, where he played in local bands as a student. The vibrant, creative atmosphere of the music scene in Bloomington, Indiana served as a major influence on the album. In fact, Nick met his bandmates who play on Easy Moon while living in Bloomington; he played with drummer Dave Segedy in an indie rock band from Indianapolis called Sleeping Bag and also played with Peter Doyle (guitar, mandolin on Easy Moon) and Connor Grimm (bass on Easy Moon) in a band called The Wonderhills. He has also played with engineer Kate Haldrup (who also plays drums on the record).
Although Easy Moon is Nick's debut record, he is no stranger to indie rock stardom. Nick has played bass in Lily Hiatt's (daughter of the legendary John Hiatt) band. He also recorded and toured extensively with singer-songwriter S.G. Goodman, playing guitar on Goodman's 2022 studio album Teeth Marks. He even shared the stage with Goodman at the Newport Folk Festival.
Nick wrote the songs on Easy Moon mostly in a cob hut in the Hoosier National Forest in Nashville, Indiana. Nick says, "I heated the hut with wood from the forest and rain water was collected to drink and bathe in," admitting that the locale was "a very inspiring place to be for writing songs."
Another inspiration for the album is the TASCAM 4-Track Tape Recorder. Nick demoed nearly all the songs on a TASCAM tape recorder, laying out the basic structures and chord progressions of the album's 10 songs. Nick loved the limitations of the TASCAM tape recorders and attempted to reproduce the "natural feeling" of the recorded demos in the final masters. This raw, fervently creative spark continued throughout the making of the entire record.
Easy Moon will mean many things to the different listeners who enjoy it. For Nick, the album is thematically and lyrically a coming-of-age album. "Many of the songs were written while I was learning to be an adult," he says, "and a lot of the lyrical content has to do with this learning process." This is music that is both intensely personal and fundamentally universal. We all know what it's like, coming to terms with adulthood, life, and love. Nick is just laying it out for us with raw, honest and emotionally vibrant music to match.
- Vinyl LP
- 140g Vinyl
- Recorded in Paducah, KY, Bloomington, IN and Nashville, TN
- Recorded & Mixed by Kate Haldrup
- Produced by Nick Harley
- Album Art by Jacob Gardner
- RIYL: Pavement, Kurt Vile, Matthew Sweet, Pete Droge, Freedy Johnston, Wilco, Silver Jews, Band of Horses, Sparklehorse, Grandaddy
|Nick Harley||guitar, bass, vocals|
|Peter Doyle||guitar, mandolin|
Circus Something to Lose One of Us Lonestar I Had a Dream
How the Bird Met the Fairy Fall Hang Up the Mayor Dark Eyelids Take Me Young Cowboy