Nick Kizirnis is a Dayton, OH-based singer/songwriter and guitarist, who has spent the past two-plus decades writing genre-twisting and genre-defying material on over ten solo albums, while also collaborating playing in bands like The Mulchmen, Tobin Sprout’s Eyesinweasel, Cage and others with a collection of up-and-coming local musicians.
Over the past decade or so, the Dayton-based artist has focused on guitar-driven compositions; but his latest solo album The Distance sees Kizirnis returning to writing lyrics and arrangements while simultaneously being a step forward stylistically. As Kizirnis explains, he had a desire to push himself beyond anything he had previously done. “I wanted ti to be new and different from what people had heard from me,” the Dayton-based musician and songwriter says.
Kirzirnis’ long-time friend, Austin-based drummer Mark Patterson had just temporarily relocated to Dayton to visit family and prepare touring and recording as a member of acclaimed indie outfit Son Volt. Patterson had offered to work on the material that Kizirnis had worked on, enhancing the material’s arrangements based on his experience playing in the Austin scene. During the creative process for the Patrick Himes-produced The Distance, Kizirnis began to feel that writing for his voice was limiting the material. He recruited Cincinnati-based singer/songwriter and cellist Kate Wakefield, one-half of the duo Lung, to contribute vocals.
Wakefield’s background as an opera singer, plus her years of recording and performing helped pushed the fledgling album and recording sessions into high gear. “Kate brought a completely new dimension to the songs,” Kizirnis says. “The moment she sang them, they were transformed into something so much more.”
Brooding album title track “The Distance” features contributions from Deke Dickerson’s Crazy Joe Tristchler (guitar), Himes (Hammond B3 organ) and Wakefield (cello and vocals). Along with Kizirnis, Tristchler, Himes and Wakefield craft a bluesy and mournful soundscape that recalls The Heartless Bastards and crying-in-your-beer honky tonk. The song’s narrator realizes that their relationship has come to the end of the road, and that its time for both parties to pack up their things and sadly move on,
The Katie Marks 2D animated video for “The Distance” features the song’s central couple falling in and out of love. And as they part ways, we see an animated Kizirnis playing guitar in a desolate, roadside honky tonk.