Well, folks, I’m very proud to announce the upcoming album release party for Ian C. Nelson’s soon-to-be classic Without Companion. You might have heard me make mention before that Ian has been playing gigs here and there around the Bryan/College Station area for the last year, while toiling away hours in the studio prepping for his first release, let alone LP, and let me tell you, it’s a hit.
Full disclosure: Ian’s actually a good friend of mine, and I’ve been fascinated to have the opportunity to watch someone grow as an artist and be willing to step on a stage in front of strangers and virtually spill your guts about stuff. It’s tough. I can empathize. I misspelled “temperature” as a kid in front of a live TV broadcast spelling bee, as my first word. I nearly threw up. Nonetheless, it takes more than just being a friend to give a praiseworthy album review to, and Without Companion is no doubt worth it. As mentioned before, Ian straddles the line between an early ’60s Dylan and Nebraska-era Springsteen. Lofty heights, but there exists an ability to see into the lyrics at something deeper, something as poetic and beautiful as an ode to his fisherman grandfather. Though a vein of somber spirit courses through the album, that doesn’t mean Ian and Co. have left off the rockers, as “Where I’ve Found You” shuffles along a dirty blues-rock hook and “I Was Born” kicks off the album with a Band of Horses-esque gallop. If there was one band’s particular influence that I was surprised to hear on the album, it would have to be Calexico–think In The Reins, their collaboration with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam.
Also, proper respect cannot be paid to the album without a nod to the other players involved, namely, drummer Michael Steele, bassist Ben Love, guitarist Doug Brown, and the all-world production team of Keith Sewell and Ross King. Michael and Ben play in College Station’s Clairmont, a fantastic band all its own, but listening to their contribution on Without Companion shows just how far they’ve come as a rhythm section, as tight and skillful as you can get.
I highly recommend Without Companion, and hope that those around the greater B/CS area can come check out the album release show at the Village Cafe in downtown Bryan at 7pm on Saturday. See you there!