The Grand Rapids singer-songwriter rolled out his latest gems for Local Spins on WYCE, which also debuted new tracks by The Gasoline Gypsies, Lipstick Jodi, Adam Main, Jess, Darcy Wilkin and more.
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Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma’s latest solo album was a long time in the making.
He wrote the first song for the project eight years ago, spent three years working on the album and recording its tracks in several different West Michigan studios, then took six months to plan the release and book the shows to promote it.
Along the way, he involved a robust posse of Michigan artists and engineers – 20 guest musicians and four producers, to be exact.
“It’s not really a solo album. It’s a community record,” Thomasma offers. “ ‘Rolling Home’ tells the story of the last few years of my life traveling around in my bright orange 1973 Volkswagen bus.”
So, it’s only understandable that having promotional and touring plans for the new Earthwork Music album “thrown under the bus,” so to speak, due to the COVID-19 pandemic was difficult to swallow.
“I have to admit, I was heartbroken when I realized that … there would be no release show and no ‘Rolling Home’ tour,” he conceded. “Mostly everything is canceled for this summer.”
Instead, Thomasma will stage a “virtual” album-release show at 7 p.m. tonight (Saturday, May 30) as a live-stream on the Earthwork Music Facebook page.
The singer-songwriter, frontman for Nicholas James & The Bandwagon, host of the Founders Brewing open-mic and lead singer for the Echoes of Pink Floyd tribute band was also this week’s special guest for the Local Spins on WYCE radio show. He performed acoustic renditions of two songs from the new album – “No Man’s Land” and “The One That Got Away.” Check out the video for “The One That Got Away” here and scroll down for the entire radio show podcast.
VIDEO: Nicholas James Thomasma, “The One That Got Away” (Local Spins on WYCE)
Indeed, despite the coronavirus upheaval, Thomasma has embraced the live-stream environment by hosting weekly online performances since the stay-at-home order began. He calls it his “lifeline” and a way of staying connected with fans.
“I really do love people and I really mis my community and interacting with people in general,” he said. “Everything I do centers around gathering people together and this is the polar opposite of what I’m used to. But I’ve come to accept it.”
Thomasma said his latest collection of “story songs” – penned mostly as a result of his travels on the road – represents another step forward as an artist. Its various tracks, spanning folk, country, indie-rock and reggae, were recorded at Second Story Sound, La Luna Recording, Third Coast Recording, Centennial Sound and at musician Sam Kenny’s studio.
“I think my writing has gotten better and I know I’m more accomplished as a musician,” he said. “One of the most important things I’ve learned is that when you work with professionals, you are in a much better position to create a high-quality project. Everyone involved ins this record is a total pro. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”
In particular, Thomasma cited the assistance and advice of producer Greg Baxter, with whom he’s worked for 15 years. “He’s been a rock for me over the years,” he said. “This album wouldn’t have been possible without him.”
This week’s episode of Local Spins on WYCE – which spotlights Michigan artists at 11 a.m. Friday on WYCE (88.1 FM) – also featured the on-air debut of songs by The Gasoline Gypsies, Lipstick Jodi, Audra Kubat (this week’s musician’s pick by Thomasma), Adam Main, Darcy Wilkin, Silas J. Dirge & Stovepipe Stover, Jess, Stone Soup & The Broken Teeth and Stepladders. Listen to the podcast here.
PODCAST: Local Spins on WYCE (5/29/20)
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