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Artist Spotlight – March 2023

Gary Nichols – March Artist Spotlight

Gary Nichols, my March Artist Spotlight, says that him learning how to play the guitar was all due to his Uncle Larry. Uncle Larry is the most musically inspirational person in his life. You see, as Gary grew up, his Uncle Larry (mom’s brother) lived with them as his dad worked out of town. Larry was a singer along with being a member of a band. Larry’s, unbeknownst to him, way of getting Gary to learn how to play the guitar was by leaving it lay around and sternly instructing a 3 or 4 yr. old (Gary) “not to touch it”. As we all know, that meant the guitar was calling his name and then he just couldn’t help but “touch” the guitar. From that point on, Gary was hooked.

When an instrument chooses you, you follow its lead and play it! Gary Nichols had played piano during his teenage years along with leading the worship music at church. Gary picked up the skill of playing many instruments over the years. He plays the drums, bass guitar, trumpet, a little mandolin and banjo. To any average listener they would believe he plays them well but that is the trick. Trick or not, his ability of being a multi-instrumentalist led him to showcase his musical talents on many different stages.

Those stages started at local churches, small venues and then sharing the stage with The Steeldrivers for seven years. In 2010, Gary replaced the bands’ lead vocal and guitarist, Chris Stapleton. During the time with The Steeldrivers, the band won a Grammy for “The Muscle Shoals Recordings” as the 2016 Bluegrass Album of the Year and were nominees in 2011 for Bluegrass Album and Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. The only thing that would be better than winning a Grammy, in Gary’s opinion, would be to do a collaboration with Bonnie Raitt. Her voice is like home to him and he feels that his life would be complete if that dream could happen.

After being with the band for a few years, Gary took a step back from the spotlight to focus on himself and his health. Like most kids, he always loved his mom, but it really became more apparent of what type of person she was while he was improving himself. His mom is that type of lady that goes through life with a smile that simply lights up a room she enters. Even on her worse day, she puts her loved ones and their needs before hers. She is a rock, and he wants to be more like her every day. Over those years away from touring, Gary was able to create new songs from digging deeper than ever before and developing a better understanding of things in life that he wants to be able to share with all of you.

“Fire In The Dark” is the new single that Gary Nichols released a few weeks ago. As I listened to it, it had a dark sound to it but was a great rhythmic song. This song definitely has that soulful feel of Gary’s voice and soothing harmony from Jon Meador. The song is a story of how the devil can tempt a person with a darkness and strip the fire in the dark. If you haven’t heard it yet, I definitely suggest heading over to your favorite place for streaming music or to RBR Entertainment. Gary has noticed how his deliverance of a song has improved over the past few years. He will remind you that he is still the same goofy kid that he has always been but his songs have ‘grown up’ in a sense. Maturity and growth go hand and hand with living life and learning.

Gary is known to say that he is “just a guy with a guitar and a song” but he is much more. As writing songs and performing parts of a recording for an album may be the easiest part, letting go is the hardest. Approving a “final mix” is difficult because of wanting to make it perfect, wanting to try another idea, arrangement or just trying to do better. Having the desire to make everything perfect, Gary still doesn’t see working in the studio as a stressful time but just good ole hard work. Writing or finding that undeniable song and using the best musicians to record it is what creates the best songs and those songs are the ones that win. Gary only hopes that with this new album you will feel every emotion that he felt while recording it and hear/feel it as if he is singing it to you directly. Having the fans touched in this way allows us, as artists, to share the experience with you.

Gary has lived in a few cities from the time he was born in Tuscumbia, Alabama (birthplace of Helen Keller) to where he is now. He will always tell you that musically speaking, he is from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Muscle Shoals is located in the Northwest portion of Alabama. It is a city that is very well known in the music world because of the Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. The recording studio is located in Sheffield, AL and was formed in 1969 by four session musicians, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. During the 60’s and 70’s, the Rhythm and Blues and Rock and Pop Artists were known. Music was created in that studio for Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Alicia Keys and so many more.

Through the travels and experiences, Gary would share with any new/up and coming artist to “Be kind, be authentic and don’t forget to take care of yourself. Don’t forget about the people that helped you along the way, show them your gratitude”.

Fast Firing Fun Facts:

What is your favorite Holiday and why?  Thanksgiving because of the 3 “F’s” of course … Family, Football and Food

What is your favorite saying/quote?  “Adversity truly introduces us to ourselves” – Bill Wilson, Co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. This statement says so much in so few words. From my experience, although much of it was self-inflicted, I needed to face adversity in my life to make the necessary changes in my life to enable positive growth.

Do you have a hobby outside of music?  I have gotten pretty good at Ping-Pong recently.

What is your favorite kind of Ice Cream?  Strawberry, I even had a strawberry milkshake last night!

What is your favorite junk food?  White chocolate Reese cups

Do you have any pet(s) and what are their names?  Yes, I have a cat that was given to me by Billy Droze. Her name is Jezebel and she is an outlaw.

What is your favorite book that you have read or author that you like to read?  I don’t do a lot of reading, but I did just start reading “The Change Agent” by Damon West.

What is your favorite movie line?  “I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew” from Talladega Nights

News or Upcoming news from artist:

Get ready for some music to be coming your way! Gary has a lot of music that will be dropping this year on all platforms. The first single that has been released is “Fire In The Dark”. The title of the album will be released at a later date. RBR Entertainment (record company) is excited to have signed Gary Nichols and is ready to share Gary’s talent with all of you!

Website for artist, tour dates and/or merchandise:

Check out the artist/band website for all their new songs, tour dates and merchandise. The best way to support our local broadcasters and artists are through their sales – CDs, albums, shirts and etc. Let’s show our support – go check their website.

Stay up to date with Gary Nichols by visiting RBR Entertainment.