Americana artist releases excellent new album, tour includes stop in Dayton



Former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt famously said, “If you’re not playing, you’re paying.” Americana artist Nicholas Johnson is embracing that ethos on tour supporting his new album, “Shady Pines Vol. 2.”

The Kentucky native, slated to appear at Blind Bob’s in Dayton’s Oregon District on Thursday, March 23, recognizes the importance of avoiding off nights because there’s no money coming in, but there are expenses for food, gas and possibly a hotel room.

“This is the most aggressive tour I’ve ever done,” Johnson said. “There’s not a night off pretty much the whole month of March. I would’ve liked a few off days to explore, but I get it. You want to pack in as many shows as possible to get your money’s worth out of the tour. I wish it wasn’t quite so action packed but it’ll be cool to be back on the road.”

Check out the music video for Nicholas Johnson’s “Middle of Nowhere,” from his new album, “Shady Pines Vol. 2.” The clip was directed and animated by Katie Ann Marks.

Johnson, who lived in the Miami Valley from 2010 to 2016, launched his tour March 3. The tour includes South-By-Southwest in Austin, Texas March 14-18. The Cincinnati-based artist is touring in a unique situation with Jesse James DeConto of the Pinkerton Raid from Durham, North Carolina.

“I met Jesse at the last South-By-Southwest and we really clicked,” Johnson said. “We figured working out each other’s songs would be efficient and it’s going to be really fun. There’s a small collection of people crazy enough to actually take this stuff on the road. To find like-minded people in the same genre who also want to tour, you have to make it work.”

This is the first of several tours for Johnson this year, including a southern swing in June and East Coast dates in August. In October, he’s performing in Ireland, Scotland, England and Italy, all to support the excellent new, “Shady Pines Vol. 2.” The material, like Volume 1 from 2017, was recorded at Reel Love Recording Company in Dayton with Patrick Himes, Brian Hoeflich and other area musicians.

“I love working with them,” Johnson said. “They’re so efficient and Patrick and I are on the same wavelength. When he hears something, he knows what to do. That first one was done in four days. With this one, I wanted to take more time in the studio and really explore the creative teamwork and that really helped shape this material.”

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