Tall, Tall Tales

Nicholas James and the Bandwagon

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With tales about the open road, the temperate midwest weather, love, loss and surviving on the kindness of strangers, this is the music you want at your backyard BBQ or around your campfire on a Saturday Night.

THE BAND: Nicholas James & The Bandwagon THE MUSIC: A mix of country, folk and rock

As Nicholas James Thomasma perceptively points out, Americana is a “really loose term” that can include everything from country to folk to rock – all styles embraced by Nicholas James & The Bandwagon. So nothing perhaps describes the band’s music better than “hippy-tonk,” a term coined by Bandwagon pedal steel guitarist Pete Weatherhead. With the Grand Rapids band ready to uncork its second studio album, “Tall Tall Tales,” it’s an apt description for an approach that’s been honed and solidified since release of the group’s first album, 2011’s “Saturday Night,” which was recorded “in the midst of some lineup changes” with two different drummers and two different bassists. The new album produced by Greg Baxter features a band that’s performed together regularly for a few years. “This record just seems a lot more focused. It’s a lot more like our sound,” Thomasma said. “Now that I know what the band really is and what it sounds like, it was easier to make a record that sounds like us.”

“Tall Tall Tales” – which is officially released June 25th, 2016 at Founders Brewing Co. where Thomasma also hosts Tuesday night open-mic sessions – also represents an upgrade in writing and arrangements, he said. “We did a really good job with this record. The writing has improved and I think it’s very well done. I can’t wait to release it,” Thomasma said. “The most satisfying thing about this album is knowing that as a band and as a songwriter, we’ve taken a step forward. The new album is much more cohesive than our first and I think the writing is better, too.”

The Bandwagon features Pete Weatherhead on pedal steel guitar and violin, Greg Baxter on guitar, Joe Hirschmugl on bass and Steve Minor on drums and violinist “Clouds” Miranda Elliott.

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