Friday, October 30, 2009
Whenever "rock 'n' roll" and "Rockford, IL" are written in the same sentence, two words
inevitably come to mind: Cheap Trick. Recently, though, Rockford-born singer-songwriter Miles Nielsen has been claiming a bit of the spotlight on the heels of his debut record, Miles. OK, so maybe Nielsen has a direct tie to the city's classic band (he's the son of guitarist Rick Nielsen), but that doesn't take away from the fact that Miles has been amassing a long list of favorable reviews and gaining the songwriter quite a few fans. Nielsen is also a member of Cory Chisel & The Wandering Sons and has been playing live with the band, but he'll perform his next solo gig in Chicago at Double Door on Wednesday, November 4.
On Miles, Nielsen serves up a consistently engaging combination of Wilco-esque Americana rock and classicist pop (Beatles-influenced melodies abound). Nielsen's songwriting talent shines from beginning to end, with opening track "A Festival" wasting no time inviting its listener in with a downright charming dose of pure, rootsy pop. Tracks such as "1938" and "Lucy" rely on a similarly pop-minded approach - featuring accessible, upbeat melodies - and stand out as highlights. Miles proves that the musician is fully capable of stretching out his sound, though. Elsewhere, he dabbles in stripped-back soulfulness ("Sugaree," "Martha"), straightforward rock ("Hey Hey Hey," "Don't You") and subtle melancholy ("The Crown"). The fact that Nielsen provides some variation definitely works in the record's favor - it keeps things fresh and interesting, but never sounds disjointed. The style of music here certainly isn't one we haven't heard before, but Nielsen's solid songwriting skills and performances prevent it from ever sounding tired or insignificant. Instead, he delivers a collection fit for widespread appeal, with no shortage of excellent moments.
Download mp3: Miles Nielsen - "Hey Hey Hey"
For more free downloads, check out Nielsen's recent Daytrotter session, which includes live-in-studio takes on three Miles tracks ("A Festival," "The Crown" and "Wine) as well as a previously unreleased song, "Rusted Hearts."
Miles is available via CD Baby, iTunes and Amazon MP3.
Miles Nielsen at Double Door - Wednesday, November 4
Also playing: Musikanto and Daysleeper
Doors 8 p.m., show 8 p.m.
$5, more info and tickets