Portland folk/Americana artist J. Nicolás recently released his debut album, Wild Oak, written while driving. The album was engineered and mixed by Tobias Berblinger and mastered by Amy Dragon at Telegraph Mastering.
According to Nicolás, “There’s a lot of healing in movement. Not running away from, but moving through the world, seeing other places and things, and getting a better perspective on yourself.”
Having spent almost two decades playing in Portland bands and touring across the U.S., Nicolás recorded Wild Oak on one-inch tape at Singing Sands in Portland and Capricorn Studios in San Diego. Featured on the album are Sydney Nash (piano, keyboards), Allen Hunter (bass), Joe Mengis (drums) Steely Pete (pedal steel), and Ezza Rose (harmonies).
Encompassing 10-tracks, highlights on the album include “Always Be Mine,” vaguely reminiscent of Dan Fogelberg, but with more twang and country flavors than Fogelberg ever utilized. The cry of the steel guitar contrasts against the sparkle of the piano.
“Montana Luv,” a creamy, drawling country-laced tune, provides a delicious matrix for Nicolás’ sweet, rasping timbres. “Please Stay” opens on darker, melancholic colors, yet still delivers an optimistic filament of sonic aromas. Nicolás’ voice, soft and tender, offers luscious tones of passion and affection as he narrates a tale of love and communication.
“Elisabeth” rolls out on a gentle guitar backed by Steely Pete’s weeping steel guitar, at once sleazy and velvety, as Nicolás’ voice infuses the lyrics with warm desire and nostalgia. “Will You Love Me Again” summons up memories of Buddy Miller, only dripping with Nicolás’ tasty tenor with its inflected, infectious nuances and subtle undertones.
The final track, “Missing You,” displays the dynamic range of Nicolás’ voice, which includes the ability to deliver smooth, high notes, as well as rambling coloration.
Wild Oak is beautifully put together, cashmere with scrumptious country flavors distilled to Americana milieus and topped by the deluxe voice of J. Nicolás.