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Nick Hans Records for The Magnolia Sessions

By Mike Trujillo

The universe has a way of answering your requests when you least expect it. Case in point, I found myself languishing in a cycle of redundancy with all my music, often times metal centric. I was not bored but I needed a breather—something different and inspiring all at the same time. Low and behold, the favor, the treat was delivered to me by a long-time publicist I have a relationship with.

I opened my email one morning to receive an interesting email with the subject “New Mexico Based Folk Soloist Release's New Live Recording.” Needless to say, I was captured, delighted, and grateful my request had appeared to be answered! Now that I've given you some context, let’s get into this beauty.

NICK HANS The Magnolia Sessions. Photo by Ericka Poore.

Nick Hans is a singer/songwriter who left Tennessee in his late teens. He spent many years living in New Orleans playing many shows and now currently resides in the magical Taos, New Mexico. Anti-Corporate Music presents the fifth title in their acclaimed singer/songwriter series, entitled The Magnolia Sessions, with a new performance by folk artist Nick Hans.

The Magnolia Sessions, launched in September 2020, is a series that releases a new album the first week of each month. It showcases bluegrass, dark country, and folk singer/songwriter acts in an intimate setting—the Anti-Corporate Music/Black Matter Mastering headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. The series has birthed albums from Matt Heckler, Jason Dea West, Johno Leeroy, and Cristina Vane.

I'll simply just state that the more I listen to this album, the deeper I fall in love with it. Full disclosure, I grew up with my father introducing me to some of the best folk music from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, groups like The Folk Four, Joan Baez, and countless others. As I listened to this, I realized how my thirst was quenched by this artist and his delivery.

Pain and strife and just life resonate deeply in this epic, heartfelt release, full on with the backdrop of crickets and sirens from afar to add to this trippy ambiance. Nick Hans brings the experience of a traveler/vagabond who loves life when life sometimes doesn't love him back. Nick does what minstrels do—tell stories. Not long, yet not vague, and certainly relatable to those who have never even left the confines of their own county.

The album starts off with the traditional feel/pain of folk with "The Rise and Fall.” This song is a stirrer with vocals eerily similar to that of the late great Hank Williams Sr. The next song morphs into more of a rocker—it’s a foot tappin’ exercise called "Highballin Everywhere I Go.”

None of the tracks disappoint. There is also the very influential Arlo Guthrie heard in "Sister St. Burgundy," or as Hans pronounces it, "Bur gun dee.” The introspective "Crooked Lines" reminds me of a lazy Saturday afternoon listening to my Dad's albums, thinking of the significant yet simple line, "The birds fly South in a crooked line.”

"I Don't Believe" is acapella, which reminds me of the punk/metal/hardcore outfit from North Carolina, COC—only slower, and of course mellow—because of the harshness of the reality we face. Hans laments, "This life ain’t real, I don't believe.” Musically, the guitar never sounded so lovely and organic, strums of the woodlands and harmonies of the night sky; this would make Gordon Lightfoot proud. Lyrically, I love the softness of the delivery; but make no mistake, there is some venom as well (that I feel is inspired by Merle Haggard).

Overall, I can't emphasize the impact this album has had on my spirit, but all I can say is I will attempt to request more from the universe, if these requests are all as touching as this album.

Mike will be releasing an interview with Nick Hans on Zero Hour Squared Classics in mid-February.

NICK HANS The Magnolia Sessions. Photo by Ericka Poore.

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