Live Concert Photography: Nicole Atkins with Indianola and Hiko Men at Baby’s All Right 4/28/18
Throughout the course of this site’s almost 8 year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the Neptune, NJ-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and JOVM mainstay Nicole Atkins, and as you may recall, Atkins fourth full-length album Goodnight Rhonda Lee was recorded at Fort Worth, TX‘s Niles City Sound, with a production team featuring Austin Jenkins, Josh Block and Chris Vivion and was written while Atkins was in alcohol rehab and afterward, and began to see her life with a different sort of clarity and honesty; in fact, Rhonda Lee, as Atkins has famously joked was the name that she gave her hard-partying, hard-living self.
Perhaps because of the album’s thematic material and a relocation to Nashville, the album is a decided sonic departure from her three previous albums. Goodnight Rhonda Lee‘s first single “A Little Crazy,” a duet with Chris Issak was a delicate and soulful ballad that clearly nods to some of Atkins’ earliest influences — in particular, Roy Orbison with a hint of Patsy Cline. “Darkness Falls So Quiet,” the album’s second single was a stomping and soulful track that nodded at Dusty Springfield. “Sleepwalking,” Rhonda Lee‘s fourth single featured a shuffling early Motown Records-like arrangement that immediately brought to mind Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Marvin Gaye, and even Charles Bradley. “Brokedown Luck,” was a shuffling and stomping 12 bar blues-based track that finds Atkins and her backing band nodding at Muscle Shoals, Motown and Daptone, as well as a smidge of Sandra Rhodes’ Where’s Your Love Been; however, the song captures a narrator, who has reached the end of her rope and recognized that she’s spent way too much time, drinking and fucking everything up — and at the end, she always ended in the same empty, ridiculous rut that she began with. And yet, underlying all of that is the hope that with some clarity that this time, the song’s narrator may be able to get it right.
Atkins was on a Spring tour to support Goodnight Rhonda Lee and it included an April 28, 2018 headlining stop at Baby’s All Right that included Indianola, the solo recording project of Jackson, MS-born, Nashville, TN-based singer songwriter Owen Beverly and the Brooklyn-based art duo Hiko Men. Check out photos from the show below.
Indianola is the recording project of the Jackson, MS-born, Nashville, TN-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Owen Beverly, and the project can actually trace its origins back to when Beverly was a teenager, playing blues with men 30 years his senior, and as a result, his formative years were spent in sweaty juke joints across Mississippi, Louisiana, and the Florida panhandle. But along with his love of the blues, the Jackson-born, Nashville-based singer/songwriter and guitarist has been heavily influenced by Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison and Townes Van Zandt among others, and that instilled in him a devotion to a careful attention to craft.
As an adult, Beverly had a multi-year stint living in Charleston, SC before moving to New York, where he spent a few years as a touring member of the acclaimed Danish indie pop-act Oh Land; however, after six years in Brooklyn, Owen Beverly decided to move back to the South, where he started Indianola. Beverly’s Michael Trent-produced, Indianola self-titled debut was recorded in Johns Island, South Carolina — and sonically, the matter draws from old school rock and singer/songwriter confessionals in a way that live reminded me of John Mellencamp, early Bruce Springsteen and others.
Comprised of D.S. Moltz (guitar, vocals), who also is a perfumer, and Daniel Mintzer (percussion, vocals), the Brooklyn-based duo Hiko Men write short musical pieces that they’ve dubbed “pulses” and through both scent and sound, the duo attempt to conjure a world of swamps, beasts, sacred rivers and mythical people. Sonically, their sound draws from the music of the indigenous peoples of North America, Africa and Australia, as well as New Wave, New Age, and post punk.