Rolling Home

Nicholas James Thomasma

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Singer songwriter and Earthwork Music artist Nicholas James Thomasma's 2020 release was produced in 5 different studios with 20 musicians. It's more of a community album than a solo album. Rolling Home chronicles the singers travels, usually in his bright orange VW Bus as he collects stories and musical influences along the way. With songs written from experiences as far and different as working on a marijuana farm in California to a late night conversation with a bartender in Madrid, Spain, the album spans the musical globe from Folk to Rock to Reggae. Much like the inspiration for the songs and the musicians on the recordings, Rolling Home is as diverse of an album as the world we live in.

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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.

  • John Sinkevics - Local Spins 2016
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Saturday Night

Nicholas James and the Bandwagon

Folk songs drenched in honesty and authenticity served on a warm bed of classic country.

Bio:

I was born on top of a hill and raised near the apple orchards just west of Grand Rapids, MI. I was singing in the choir before I was old enough to go to school. I began writing songs in elementary school. Around that same time I told my parents that I was gonna be a rapper, to which my dad replied "If you want to be a performer, perform every chance you get." Sage advice. Advice I've followed for the rest of my life. As a teenager I launched a brief career as a radio DJ during which time I taught myself guitar and harmonica and met some people who encouraged me to follow my dreams. I knew I had found my life. I was born to live a life of music and I've never forgotten that.

People always ask what my music sounds like. I call it Organic Midwestern Folk. That don't really say much, unless you're from the midwest, so this is what I've come up with to describe my music; My songs are folk songs drenched in honesty and authenticity, served warm on a bed of classic country. Sometimes people say nice things about me in the papers. Like this: "He's everywhere, as an artist, a supporter of fellow musicians, and a community member. Kind, approachable, thoughtful and passionate, he is the embodiment of that socially conscience songwriter with a guitar strapped to his back." - Juliet Bennet Rylah, Revue Magazine. Thanks Juliet.

Barefoot is my debut album. It was released in April of 2010 and was nominated for 6 WYCE 88.1FM Jammie Awards including best new solo artist, an award which is now proudly and prominently on display in my living room. Barefoot received rave reviews such as this one, by Ryan Cunningham for Recoil Magazine "Michigan Americana/Country at its most organic. . . Thomasma's music has a lot to say about his personal approach to things, making one totally expect to hear him at a benefit concert for clean water or the end of sulfide mining. The songs are always gentle, but push with a focused consciousness." Thanks Ryan.

A recipient of the 2010 Elyse Fishman Scholarship Award by the Wheatland Music Organization, I eagerly pursued my songwriting abilities at Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters. Filled with inspiration upon my return, within a month I recorded and released Lone Star in the Northern Sky, my second album in less than a year. It is an acoustic collection of home recordings culled primarily from my experience at Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters.

Shortly after the winter thaw I decided to take my traveling band into the studio for another full length record. In July of 2011, Nicholas James and the Bandwagon released Saturday Night, my third album in under two years. The Bandwagon is a rolling cavalcade of musicians which is constantly changing to suit the musical desires of the band leader. Nicholas James and the Bandwagon currently consists of Paul Geoghan on Bass, Pete Weatherhead on Pedal Steel and Fiddle, Greg Baxter on Guitar and Dan on Drums.

Last year I played nearly 150 total performances, traveled to 23 cities and 6 states on a midwestern tour that included Chicago, St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Columbus, Toledo and more. I performed at many festivals including the Earthwork Harvest Gathering, Hoxeyville, Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts and Farmfest.

I'll play as a solo artist, with my string trio and with the Bandwagon. Cd's are available at all shows and downloads are available at www.HopontheBandwagon.com. Catch me live to feel the true spirit and energy of my music. And make sure you take the time to say hello.

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Long Story Short EP

Nicholas James Thomasma

Vocally driven acoustic folk, accompanied by violin and cello.

Long Story Short is an intimate portrait of lost love and rejection, the inevitable acceptance of that, and the eventual redemption of finding true love. It's only 5 songs and just over 20 minutes, but it's a long story. The album was recorded by Justin VanHaven and the arrangements are as sparse as possible. The songs are either piano or acoustic guitar with some violin by Clouds and cello by Russell Gorton. It took nearly 2 years to make this album. Why? Well, it's a long story.

"Singer-songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma is a Grand Rapids native and a Michigander to the core. He even has the Great Lakes tattooed on his arm and professes real love for the region in earthy, country-imbued songs drenched in honesty and authenticity. Thomasma also happens to be a supremely talented singer. . ." - John Sinkevics, The Grand Rapids Press

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Barefoot

Nicholas James Thomasma

Like the weary folk singer just past the darkness on it's cover, this album moves from folk to bluegrass to country with ease, held together by a stunningly honest and powerful voice.

"Singer-songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma is a Grand Rapids native and a Michigander to the core. He even has the Great Lakes tattooed on his arm and professes real love for the region in earthy, country-imbued songs drenched in honesty and authenticity. Thomasma also happens to be a supremely talented singer. . ." - John Sinkevics, The Grand Rapids Press

"Nicholas James Thomasma, aka Nicholas James, is one of West Michigan's rising singer-songwriter stars." - John Sinkevics, The Grand Rapids Press

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