Drew Nelson wsg Mike Vial – January 3, 2017
“Drew Nelson’s songs sound like the rest of us feel…dazed, angry, amazed and climbing.” — JOHN GORKA
Michigan-born Navy veteran Drew Nelson is a storytelling songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A fly fisherman and world traveler, he writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way, mixing Americana and roots-rock with traditional folk styles.
Drew has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridgeand Edwin McCain as well as esteemed folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka.
He first met John Gorka in 2006, when Drew performed as part ofFalcon Ridge Folk Festival’s prestigious songwriting contest. John found him backstage after his performance and told him how much his songs moved him. Since then, Drew has shared the stage with John several times, including at such big events as theKerrville Folk Festival. “Drew Nelson is one of my favorite new artists,” John Gorka says. “His songs sound like the rest of us feel….dazed, angry amazed and climbing.”
Drew garnered further attention in 2009, when he released Dusty Road to Beulah Land (Waterbug Records), which topped the folk radio charts and caught the attention of the Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records.
“I love that Drew can rock out as well as write sensitive ballads,” Red House president Eric Peltoniemi says. “I admire his down-to-earth songwriting which portrays our world and ordinary people with such deep feeling and unflinching clarity. He has worked hard in life and hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty. He has 100% credibility in the subject matter he writes about, and I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”
Drew’s Red House debut Tilt-A-Whirl comes out in early 2012. He can also be heard on the new album Dark River: Songs of the Civil War Era, along with Jon Dee Graham, Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry and new label-mate Eliza Gilkyson.
When Drew is not on the road, he enjoys reading, rooting for the Detroit Tigers, doing hot yoga and working as an amateur luthier, building guitars and octave mandolins. He is also working on putting together a photography show.
Mike Vial’s wife–writer Natalie Burg–said she wouldn’t marry him unless he quit his teaching job to do music. Flash forward to now: Vial is married and a father; he has played 1000+ gigs across half of the country and Canada; and in October 2016, Mike released A World That’s Bigger, a folk record like Nick Drake, reflecting on fatherhood, life and death. Three days after the release, he was hit by a car while walking to play at the Ark. Three days after the accident, his wife told him she was pregnant. Mike’s healed and back on the road with a bigger world.