Whirling into Malton SONGWRITER Drew Nelson – who has been described as “mixing Springsteen’s roots-rock sounds with the folk storytelling sensibility of Nanci Griffith” – winds up at the Milton Rooms in Malton on Wednesday on the latest date of his UK tour to promote new album Tilt-A-Whirl.
The Michigan-born Navy veteran is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a penchant for telling stories. A fly fisherman and world traveller, he “writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way”, mixing Americana and roots-rock with traditional folk styles. His stories introduce audiences to a cast of everyday characters that includes out-of-work war veterans, forsaken lovers, migrant workers and other lost souls.
Nelson has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridge and Edwin McCain as well as folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka.
His new album Tilt-A-Whirl grew out of a chance encounter with a friend in 2011. It had been two years since his last album, Dusty Road to Beulah Land – and the friend told him it was time he made another.
“I just laughed and said ‘Yeah, if I could pay for it,’” Nelson says. “He asked me how much it would cost, and he wrote me a check.” Nelson then called up his producer Michael Crittenden at Mackinaw Harvest Studios and to his great disappointment, discovered that the studio was booked solid for the next six months. But five minutes later, Michael called back saying that the band had cancelled for the following week. “That was it,” Nelson says. “I started to call all the musicians I knew that I wanted on the CD and just lived in the studio for the next two weeks, writing two new songs and recording almost everything live.”
The result is an album that brings “sad and beautiful working class tales to life. Speaking to today’s hard economic realities, Tilt-A-Whirl illuminates people’s struggles to hold onto their hopes and dreams as they spin through the wild carnival ride of life.”
• Drew Nelson, The Milton Rooms, Malton, Wednesday November 14 at 7.30pm. Tickets £8 from 01653 600048.