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Drew Nelson | The Other Side

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CANADA - Ontario

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Blues: Chicago Style Folk: Folk Blues Moods: Featuring Guitar
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The Other Side

by Drew Nelson

The first album in eight years from the veteran Canadian blues/roots artist Drew Nelson is a powerful collaboration with producer and multi-instrumentalist Steve Marriner ot the band Monkey Junk.
Genre: Blues: Chicago Style
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Seven Days
3:57 $0.99
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2. Make It Right
3:36 $0.99
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3. Stick Around
3:45 $0.99
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4. Bird On the Wire
3:09 $0.99
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5. One More Chance
3:32 $0.99
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6. Valentine
3:23 $0.99
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7. Drifting Away
3:49 $0.99
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8. Please Come Home
3:57 $0.99
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9. Did You Ever?
3:32 $0.99
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10. Get It!
2:16 $0.99
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11. The Other Side
4:19 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Ottawa musician Drew Nelson has a knack for the sad song. A veteran of the city’s blues scene, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has a world-weary voice and an anguished guitar style that channels the torment of a hard life.

Nelson shares the pain on a terrific new album, The Other Side. His first in eight years, it’s a tasty collection of raw, soul-baring roots songs, written or co-written by Nelson, along with a pair of well-chosen cover tunes.

The album marks the end of a period of dormancy for Nelson, who was once one of the busiest musicians in town with a tour schedule that included a couple of hundred gigs a year. He got tired of being on the road, settled into home life and, for the last few years, hasn’t played much.

Enter Steve Marriner, the musical dynamo who’s getting to know his way around the industry through the success of his band, the Juno-winning blues trio, Monkeyjunk. He considers Nelson an under-recognized talent.

“I was kinda stagnating, playing once a month here and there with my band.” Nelson admits during a lunchtime interview at Irene’s Pub. He looks over at Marriner, who is also at the table. “And Steve, whom I’ve known since he was a young fella, he was encouraging me to do some recording.”

A fan of Nelson’s Muddy Waters/Elmore James-influenced guitar work, Marriner says it occurred to him while listening to Johnny Cash in the van with MonkeyJunk that Nelson also has a voice that does justice to a heartbreak song. “It’s not that Drew and Johnny’s voices are the same, but I just thought, ‘Drew could make a record like this.’

“There’s something unique about Drew that I wanted to remind people of: Drew has always approached his music with honesty. He’s very unpretentious, and that can’t be said of a lot of musicians. Someone can learn to play a style of music, and they can play all the notes and play them really well, and somehow, sometimes you don’t believe them. I believe Drew. I’ve known Drew a long time and I wanted him to write some heartbreak songs.”

The death of Nelson’s father finally prompted the older musician to respond. “I was kind of at a loss, and still getting messages from Steve,” Nelson recalls. “I thought, ‘What would my dad want me to do?’ He would want me to move forward. So I started writing a few songs, digging up some old ones, and Steve and I got together and wrote a few.”

It didn’t take long for Marriner to bring Nelson to Ken Friesen’s Lakeside Studio near Almonte, where MonkeyJunk records. He not only produced the album but also co-wrote, arranged and played instruments as necessary. Nelson was more than happy to let him take the reigns. He says their shared tastes in music and mutual respect made it a good creative relationship.

The songs include covers of Bob Dylan’s Seven Days, one of the first songs Nelson ever learned to sing, and another song of survival, Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire, which Nelson performs in memory of his late friend, Larry ‘The Bird’ Moothan, who was also Marriner’s harmonica instructor.

Elsewhere on the record, the gentle title track wonders what things are like when someone passes to the ‘the other side,’ while hearts are broken in Valentine, One More Chance and Please Come Home, an old tune that Nelson co-wrote in the 1980s with the late Ottawa bluesman, Back Alley John. The mood is dark, yes, but also cathartic and ultimately soothing. And to lighten things for a moment, there’s a reggae song, Stick Around, with a positive message: “I’m gonna stick around a little longer.”

Nelson is taking that chorus as his mantra. “Hopefully this will move me forward, career-wise,” he says. “I’d sort of given up on music basically, just playing locally. My hopes and dreams? I want to get to Europe and play, and hopefully do the festival circuit next year. It feels great.” -Lynn Saxberg, The Ottawa Citizen


Drew Nelson is one of Canada's truly gifted and original blues influenced artists performing today. His live shows are infused with his amazing slide guitar work, gritty vocals and a great sense of humour that leaves an audience with the feeling that they've made a new friend. And, the quality of Drew's song writing and recorded work are on a par with the best of its kind, anywhere.

For over 30 years Drew Nelson has worked as a band leader, arranger, songwriter, producer, performer and recording artist, leaving his mark on the Canadian music scene. During that time his music has won numerous awards and widespread acclaim from around the world. In his early teens he developed a passion for the country blues of the Mississippi Delta and the hard electric blues sounds from Chicago as played by the masters: Muddy Waters, Elmore James, Little Walter and others.

In his early teens Nelson was fortunate to find a guitar teacher who taught him slide guitar as well as jazz and blues forms. By 16 he was performing professionally and in 1980 co-founded a group with the late harmonica wizard Back Alley John. This outfit toured Canada extensively and was one of the first true blues bands in Ottawa. The Drew Nelson Band was formed in 1989 and began touring throughout Canada, scoring a Juno Award for the song ‘Nothin' to Show’ in 1991. The band has also toured and recorded with Canada’s iconic blues pioneer Dutch Mason. The album ‘You Can’t Have Everything’ was nominated for a Juno award and material written by Nelson for these collaborations has been included in anniversary compilations from the Stony Plain Records label. Nelson’s music has also been featured on film soundtracks and television productions including the series ‘DaVinci's Inquest’. Nelson and his group have often opened for, or shared the stage with, blues headliners such as B.B. King, Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Stevie Ray Vaughan and many others.

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