So it has been a while since a new folk artist caught my attention, but that ended last week. I was reviewing the Roots Music Report and the album at No. 21 Tilt–Whirl by Drew Nelson caught my attention. So I went to MOG to check it out, they didn’t have Tilt-A-Whirl, but they did have his previous release Dusty Road to Beulah Land, so I gave it listen and was impressed. (I read now that the album rose to the top on many Folk Charts). Well yesterday I returned to MOG and Tilt-A-Whirl was there, I gave it a listen, and again came away impressed by the singing and song writing of this new artist! Drew is a Michigan born Navy veteran and has over the last few years toured with the likes of Melissa Etheridge, Edwin McCain, Josh White Jr. and John Gorka. Here’s what John Gorka says about Nelson’s music
“Drew Nelson is one of my favorite new artists,” John Gorka says. “His songs sound like the rest of us feel….dazed, angry, amazed and climbing.”
The previous album Dusty Road to Beulah Land caught the attention of Red House Records. The label, which is home to artists like John Gorka, Greg Brown and Eliyza Gillickson, signed Nelson and produced the new album. Red House President Eric Peltoniemi says this about Nelson:
“I admire his down-to-earth songwriting which portrays our world and ordinary people with such deep feeling and unflinching clarity. He has worked hard in life and hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty. He has 100% credibility in the subject matter he writes about, and I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”
and from Peter Mulvey:
“As you encounter the characters on this record, it becomes clear that Drew Nelson has dedicated and re-dedicated himself to getting at real human stories. Some of these characters are him, and some are people he knows, and all their stories let us know that Drew is standing in the Midwestern cold, seeing and telling as clearly as he can.”
As for me, I’m still getting to know the songs but Nelson’s music reminds me a lot of the songs of Chris Knight, Rod Picott, and John Gorka mixed in with some Springsteen. Songs written and sung with feeling and with a cast of real people that includes out of work war vets, forsaken lovers, migrant workers and other directionless lost souls, struggling to deal with life! Hoping maybe to get to that “Hallelujah Morning”.
Here’s the song that kicks off the album and to me sets the tone for the whole album “Promised Land”