The rootsy singer-songwriter is back in Michigan and back with The Wildfire, playing Rockford Brewing Friday. A European tour and new studio album lie ahead.
If Nathan Kalish isn’t a restless soul, he’s certainly a well-traveled one.
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Between U.S. and European tours with alt-country’s The Deadstring Brothers and his own band The Wildfire, the Grand Rapids singer-songwriter – who was born in Milwaukee and raised in Prague, Vienna, Chicago, and Sparta, Mich. – has played more than 240 shows this year.
And after a set of Michigan gigs the next two weeks, Kalish and his band head back overseas for performances in Holland, Germany, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.
“I don’t know if I’m restless, it’s just that you’ve gotta keep moving,” Kalish says. “If you don’t keep moving, you get behind. That’s just part of this particular lifestyle. Being a musician, you have to travel and if you don’t travel, you get stuck doing the same gigs. I have a lot of buddies that work really hard and play all the time in town but they would rather be out on the road.
“They probably have more money than me and more security and a better home or whatever and more steady relationships, but they’re not necessarily as content with their career. They get one thing out of it, but they don’t get another thing out of it. You kind of have to make choices.”
NEW SOLO ALBUM DUE NEXT SPRING
Those choices can be difficult and especially challenging financially as Kalish readily admits, but the multi-instrumentalist (who plays drums for The Deadstring Brothers and guitar as the frontman for his own band) remains dedicated to pushing his music forward, with a new solo studio album planned for release next spring after being mixed in Nashville.
And he’s already written songs for yet another project which he describes as “a sad, sad country album.”
Appropriately enough, Kalish played his new song, “It Ain’t Easy,” on Local Spins Live this week in the studios at News Talk 1340 AM (WJRW). Check out a podcast of the full show here, with an exclusive video of his performance of that as-yet-to-be-released tune below.
(By the way, this week’s show represented a special milestone for Local Spins Live: Kalish officially was the very first performer to appear on Local Spins Live 2-1/2 years ago.)
For Kalish, returning to West Michigan and reuniting with members of The Wildfire – bassist Matt Ten Clay, drummer Patrick Wieland and lead guitarist Aaron Sandy (with Justin Van Haven also sitting in occasionally on keyboard) – has been a refreshing change of pace.
“Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” he reasons. “We get along really good and it’s just good to be playing again with my buddies. It’s good to be playing my own music again.”
That music includes material from several critically lauded studio albums, including 2011’s “Lost Summer,” 2010’s “Delicate Veins” and 2009’s “Waterbirds” – projects that showcase Kalish’s rootsy, driving rock and gritty, alt-country-hued writing, material that whiffs of The Replacements, Steve Earle, Tom Petty, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan but muscles ahead with Kalish’s distinctive vocal style.
DRIVING AROUND ALPINE AS A KID, TRAVELING GLOBE AS AN ADULT
The title track of the prolific songwriter’s next album, “Old Alpine Way,” pays tribute in part to the Sparta High School graduate’s years as a teen in West Michigan when he’d cruise Alpine Avenue. “It’s kind of a country road. It’s just about driving around when you’re a kid … because gas wasn’t so expensive.”
Since then, Kalish has rarely stopped moving and that won’t change for this musical vagabond anytime soon.
“You’ve gotta go travel and play for people and meet people and sell CDs and hang out with people. That’s what people are really more interested in nowadays is the live experience,” he offers.
“I’m planning on traveling pretty hard for the next 5 years and hopefully get myself up and running internationally better where I can get a little more choosy with what I do. Right now, it’s about putting in miles and playing music.”
He’ll be doing precisely that at 8 p.m. Friday with The Wildfire in a free show at Rockford Brewing Co. in downtown Rockford. The band follows that with performances in Toledo and the Detroit area before launching its European tour.
Prior to heading overseas, Kalish also hopes to record and film a live EP and video single at Detroit’s Groovebox Studios. He’s started a Kickstarter campaign to collect donations from fans and supporters to finance that “up-close-and-personal” video project. Get details about that and donate online here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gbsdetroit/groovebox-studios-presents-nathan-kalish.
And get more information about Kalish and his band on their Facebook page and listen to more samples of their music at their BandCamp.com site.
Email John Sinkevics at email@example.com.
Copyright 2013, Spins on Music