Nick Sherman (vocals, guitar)
Nick Sherman’s songs are characterized by an uneasy, yet always fluid transition between unabashed joy and sorrow. This tension between major and minor is rooted in Nick’s distant memories of his grandfather strumming a guitar in a cabin on the trapline or back at home in the community—the comfort of revisiting these moments are intertwined with the knowledge that they will never happen again Hailing from Northwestern Ontario, Nick spent his childhood traveling between his birthplace of Sioux Lookout and the remote, First Nation community of Weagamow Lake and North Caribou Lake trapline. After spending 14 years listening to his family play their favourite songs, Nick bought his first guitar and taught himself how to play—to this day he has never taken formal lessons in guitar or singing. Nick spent more than a decade discovering his own music and draws inspiration equally from traditional hymns sung at northern funerals as he does from Tom Waits or William Elliott Whitmore. Nick has been a perennial act at Sioux Lookout’s annual music festival, the Sioux Mountain Music Festival, for the past 8 years. Some other performance highlights are the 2010 Aboriginal Day celebrations at Chippewa Park, the 2010 Biindigaate Film Festival Fundraiser, The 2011 Superior Youth Festival (all held in Thunder Bay, ON), and the Trout Forest Music Festival (Ear Falls, ON). Nick is also a trained audio engineer who is known for supporting struggling bands and artists with recording their material. His professional experience began with his work at Wawatay Radio in Sioux Lookout as the co-host/audio engineer for Your Spirit is Your Voice: a program about the healing journeys of residential school survivors and intergenerational survivors. Nick went on to intern at CBC-Radio in Thunder Bay helping to operate for The Great Northwest (now Superior Morning), contributing a weekly column for Voyage North, while training to become a Broadcast Technician. Nick released his full-length, debut album, ‘Drag Your Words Through’, on January 20th with funding from The Ontario Arts Council. Nick’s earnest and thoughtful lyrics are carried by a contemporary-folk sound that is bolstered by guest appearances from several Thunder Bay musicians. The end result is an eclectic mix that features a cheerful horn section, accordions, and banjos among a host of several others. Nick plays most shows as a solo act unless joined by invited guest who play under the name ‘The Winterdark’. The sentiments of the album are broad as the songs cover the best and worst days of the last 4 years—as Nick sings on one track: “We’ve had our best ideas in the worst part of town”. Although he is more likely to be found these days playing in urban coffee houses and cultural centres across Canada, Nick still sings the boreal forest blues. The final plaintive chords of his song “Winterdark” fade away into the sounds of sirens that are ultimately subdued by the crackling of a campfire. This visceral sound segues into the album’s title track—a song featuring an irresistible sing-along chorus that immediately invites everyone to join in. Take a seat by the fire and have a listen. Look for Nick Sherman performing ‘Drag Your Words Through’ on the road in 2012 and at www.nicksherman.ca.