Nicole Atkins: September 9, 2017 Mercury Lounge

September 25, 2017
By


[photos by Will Oliver and We All Want Someone To Shout For blog]

Its hard to believe that the last time we checked in with Nicole Atkins, it was three years ago. Our extended review of her album Slow Phaser and the Bowery Ballroom show that we recorded concentrated mostly on the record’s clear 1970s AM radio influences. For that album, Nicole put her stamp on the diverse styles prevalent in that decade’s pop. Three years later, several major events in Nicole’s life have guided her approach to the new album Goodnight Rhonda Lee, including her move to Nashville, dedication to sobriety, and marriage.

Goodnight Rhonda Lee is clearly an album faithful to its surroundings — both in the existence of multiple regional session players, and in the distinct sound of the record. Similarly to Slow Phaser, Goodnight Rhonda Lee is clearly influenced by the 1970s, perhaps not AM radio but more from that unique time in Nashville when the permissiveness of the 60s finally seeped into the old music town and brought a freedom to the country music capital that it had never experienced before. For about three or four years, the long hairs finally reached the mainstream — perhaps personified best through the career of Kris Kristofferson. When legend Johnny Cash recorded Kristofferson’s “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down” in 1970 and took the song to Number 1, it represented the triumph of the new. And on the other side of Tennessee, Elvis welcomed new bloods Eddie Rabbit and Ronnie Milsap in the recording of his 1970 hit “Kentucky Rain”. Both songs communicate a drop-out melancholy that seemed to permeate the best of the new country during this time frame. But the melancholy also represented a distinctively different feel to the sound in the studio itself. The newly available technologies offered greater multi-tracking and effects not standard to country music that permitted the use of rock-styled guitars, reverbed piano, horns, and strings. Its that identifiable early 70s new Nashville sound that Nicole Atkins captured with stunning authenticity on Goodnight Rhonda Lee. Sure, there’s the album opener co-penned with Chris Isaak that could have been written for Patsy Cline or the neo-soul of “Listen Up” that would sound great covered by Aretha. But for the most part, the album really feels like a Nashville record and the songs themselves — struggles with alcohol, love, and a life in the music world feel at home in the country capital. And ultimately though its remarkable that the album itself wasn’t even recorded in Nashville, but rather at Niles City Sound in Fort Worth Texas.

The tour in support of Goodnight Rhonda Lee finds Nicole Atkins fronting a five piece band performing stripped down versions of the album material. There are no horns or strings but the album’s piano is present and guitarist Steven Cooper fills up the rest of the sound with tremendous tone and technique. Cooper is a young Nashville guitar wiz who seems destined for a long and productive career. At a packed Mercury Lounge last week, Nicole and the band performed a 75-minute set with much of the Rhonda Lee material and a few surprises. The set opened with a nice tribute to the recently passed Holger Czukay as Nicole brought back her cover of Can’s “Vitamin C”. Another major moment came when guest Tommy Stinson joined the band to perform a world premiere of his duet with Nicole called “Too Late”. The song was actually released this week. And the Slow Phaser track “Who Killed The Moonlight” took a detour through the Rolling Stones “Miss You” (remember that 70s pop influence). But the focus of this show was the fantastic material from the new album and it was clear that not only the massive talent of the singer but also a crack band were able to pull off the songs live. This show was that good.

Nicole Atkins has one more show on this tour, Friday night in Virgina. But she’ll be back with a bunch of shows in November, all dates [here].

I recorded this set with the Schoeps cards mounted at the soundboard and mixed with a perfect feed from house FOH Alex. This recording is absolutely superb. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream the Complete Show:

Nicole Atkins
2017-09-09
Mercury Lounge
New York NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [engineer Alex] + Schoeps CCM4u Cardioids > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

Setlist:
[Total Time 1:10:16]
01 Vitamin C [Can]
02 Darkness Falls so Quiet
03 Brokedown Luck
04 [banter – sinkhole]
05 A Little Crazy
06 Listen Up
07 Maybe Tonight
08 Cry Cry Cry
09 [banter – Louise Goffin]
10 If I Could
11 Goodnight Rhonda Lee
12 Who Killed The Moonlight/Miss You
13 [banter – Tommy intro]
14 Too Late [with Tommy Stinson]
15 [banter – so horny]
16 Sleepwalking
17 A Night Of Serious Drinking
18 A Dream Without Pain
19 [encore break]
20 The Way It Is

PLEASE SUPPORT Nicole Atkins: Website | Pledge Music | Single Lock Records

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to Nicole Atkins: September 9, 2017 Mercury Lounge

  1. Steve Ballard
    November 20, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Thank you so much, this is fantastic! I saw Nicole last week in London and still haven’t got over it!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support nyctaper

DISCLAIMER and LEGAL NOTICE

nyctaper.com is a live music blog that offers a new paradigm of music distribution on the web. The recordings are offered for free on this site as are the music posts, reviews and links to artist sites. All recordings are posted with artist permission or artists with an existing pro-taping policy.

All recordings and original content posted on this site are @nyctaper.com as live recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. Section 106, et. seq. Redistribution of nyctaper recordings without consent of nyctaper.com is strictly prohibited.

nyctaper.com hereby waives all copyright claims to any and all recordings posted on this site to THE PERFORMERS ONLY. If any artist posted on this site requests that recordings be removed, those recordings will be removed forthwith.