Singer-songwriter Nick Gill released 3 albums and embarked on a 50-date tour before he finished high school. Upon graduation, the Alabama native decided to give Music City a go. “When I moved to Nashville, I felt bombarded by the music industry, another person with the same music career goal. I was at the end of my rope,” Gill confides. He decided to give up. At that very moment, he wrote the song “Row.” The tune’s uplifting message changed his life. Two days later, producer Ed Cash (Vince Gill, Matt Wertz, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman) contacted him. The duo collaborated on Waves Are Only Water, a stunning EP of Gill’s most poignant compositions couched in an elegantly spare and warmly organic production treatment.
The lyric in “Row,” “Waves are only water,” became Gill’s inner compass as he navigated life, and the music industry, with spiritually-centered ease. “When I hit that point where I was ready to give up, I surrendered to Jesus. After that I wrote ‘Row,’” Gill reveals. “I wrote that lyric right after I became a Christian. Anything you’re going through, the Lord will help you through, it’s just waves in the ocean, little ripples you can get through,” he says.
Nick Gill’s earnest and emotive pop-folk has garnered favorable comparisons to Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Dave Barnes, The Fray, Matt Nathanson, and Mat Kearney. Back home in Alabama, the Mobile Register called his previous album “a whale of a calling card.” Where Y’at Magazine has said: “Gill shows much promise musically as his career has only just begun. There’s great raw emotion communicated through his tracks enabling Gill to sound more like a young Jack Johnson rather than a high school student playing guitar.” Life Is Awesome gushed: “The sheer number of singer/songwriters trying to break into music can make it difficult for one to stand out without a clear differentiating factor. Enter Nick Gill.” Muzikreviews.com noted the: “The lyrical maturity of the album should also get the record some traction.” Legendary producer Ed Cash, who produced Waves Are Only Water, has said: “This is one of my favorite CDs I've worked on, it’s classic and timeless.”
“Wave Are Only Water is like a diary of the past 5 years, from high school to being out on my own,” Gill says. It’s a boldly candid look at love, life, loss, and growing up. “My main thing with lyrics is to always give hope. I like my songs to be positive and uplifting,” he reveals.
The stately and haunting “How It Feels”—with grand strings, tender guitar fingerpicking, and a crystalline piano melody—is a powerful tribute to a friend who took his own life, and within this mournful memoir, Gill finds light, a way to celebrate a life. With rich low tones reaching up to a honeyed falsetto he sings: I know that it hurts, definitely a tragedy, but remembering your life Brings me back to the comedy, do you remember that night on Halloween when we drove through the town with all the beauty queens? “This was the first thing I played after I heard my best friend committed suicide,” Gill says. “It brought me closure.”
The goose-bump inducing love song “By The Way” has an airy ambience, with an atmospheric storm brewing beneath acoustic strums. It reaches its zenith with a soaring chorus. Here he sings with sweeping romantic sincerity: “By the way, you don't need a pot of gold to show me that your love is gold, by the way, By the way, you know that you need the love tonight to make it all alright by the way.” “I wrote that about a girl I liked in high school. She actually walked into class while I was writing the lyrics,” Gill reveals.
The EP concludes with the gorgeous sun-peaking-through-the-clouds poise of “Summer In The Winter Time.” Gill’s lyrics here are unflinchingly positive, he sweetly sings: I made a picnic for you/I made a picnic for two/ come morning well watch the sky turn from black to blue/you are my summer in the winter time/ you are the light that melts my frostbite.
Producer Ed Cash guided Gill back to positivity, and helped Gill find a shimmering and lean production aesthetic. “He challenged me to focus more on lyrics and leave hope in every song,” Gill says. Cash’s tasteful atmospheric embellishments underneath Gill’s expressive vocals and deft and tender guitar accompaniment lend the EP a modern classic vibe, Coldplay meets James Taylor.
“I started working on my first record in 8th grade. I wrote a song about my English teacher, she was crazy,” Gill says laughing, reflecting on his journey. Gill wrote and played all the instruments on this early effort which he recorded in his garage on an eight-track. By the time he was in high school, he did a 50-date Southern tour. “I would play until 3 in the morning, wake up at 7, and be at school at 8. It was tough but it was also a blast,” he says. “Looking back on my life, I see there is an order to my career that I can’t explain. This hasn’t been something I could map out myself.”
Nick Gill - Guitar/Vocals
1. Waves Are Only Water (2012)
2. Self-titled EP (2009)
3.Crazy English Teacher - Single (2009
4.Through the Straight and Narrow (2008)
5. 'Cause it's True Love (2006)
Nick Gill Waves Are Only Water
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The sheer number of singer/songwriters trying to break into music can make it difficult for one to s...The sheer number of singer/songwriters trying to break into music can make it difficult for one to stand out without a clear differentiating factor. Enter Nick Gill.
[By Rachel McFarland]
Nick Gill is a singer/songwriter out of Nashville whose new album, Waves Are Only Water, is out now. His differentiating factor is his voice. It’s a distinctive voice that is catching and full of maturity, texture, and understanding. It’s the kind of voice that lets you know it’s seen a thing or two in life.
Except there’s one thing- Nick Gill is only 20 years old.
So how does someone of his age create a sound well above his years of experience? The answer lies in parts: part natural talent, part evolution, and, perhaps most importantly, part Grammy award-winning producer.
Nick Gill’s new album, “Waves Are Only Water”, isn’t his first. On 2008’s “Through The Straight and Narrow”, there were hints of the type of musician he could be. His deep natural vocals peaked through, waiting to live up to their potential. Then Nick left home in Alabama for the saturated music market of Nashville. He teamed up with Grammy award winning producer Ed Cash, who’s worked with artists such as Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, and Amy Grant.
Working with Cash proved to be the tipping point- Nick’s sound on “Waves Are Only Water” has evolved tremendously. Tracks like “Risky Business” offer up a slower, darker groove, picking up the melancholic thread laid before him by artists like David Gray and Jonathan Rice, further highlighting his musical growth. His vocals are deep and buttery, rich with a confidence that betrays his age and his music stylings are more focused with his natural ability further developed. There are influences from the likes of modern male singer/songwriters like Josh Rouse, Josh Kelly, Matt Nathanson and earlier John Mayer. The ‘singer’ part is highlighted well on “Dawn”, where he sounds eerily similar to Mat Kearney. “Row” highlights the focus Nick and Ed Cash placed on the ‘songwriter’ part, with lyrics like: “Waves are only water/easily broken without a bother”, a simple yet poignant line that lends itself to the album title. The whole album has a redemptive quality, even on the tragic song “How It Feels (To Lose A Friend)”, a lilting, rocking vibe with bittersweet lyrics. He manages not to overdo it, yet still gets the tone across in a heartbreaking way. The result is a complexity not usually seen with his age and an album that feels too short and leaves you wanting more.
The evolution of Nick Gill since his earlier works is quite remarkable, and Ed Cash’s touch makes it possible to forget age and instead focus on the music, giving this album a refined, radio-ready sound. Each song is perfectly produced yet not over done. It’s easy to imagine each track stripped down to just Nick and his guitar, and still sound just as satisfying. This album is a prime example of how, like a movie director pulling a great performance out of an actor, a producer can find ‘the thing’ in an artist and pull it out of them. Nick Gill’s natural abilities are evident; Ed Cash brought them to the forefront and fine-tuned them, making for a pitch perfect album.
Sets are 1-4 hrs. long.
Just a few of the cover songs in the Nick Gill live show:
Main genre: Acoustic Pop/Rock
1. Free Fallin’ - Tom Petty
2. For You I Will – Teddy Geiger
3. Hey There Delilah – Plain White T’s
4. Neon – John Mayer
5. Why Georgia – John Mayer
6. Daughters – John Mayer
7. No Such Thing – John Mayer
8. Nothing Left to lose – Mat Kearney.
9. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
10. Stacy’s Mom – Fountains of Wayne
11. All We Are – Matt Nathanson
12. The Heart of Life – John Mayer
13. Let Me Go – 3 Doors Down
14. Here Without You – 3 Doors Down.
15. Stop this Train – John Mayer
16. First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
17. Collide – Howie Day
18. I Will Follow You into the Dark – Death Cab for Cutie
19. How to Save a Life – The Fray
20. Come on get Higher – Matt Nathanson
21. I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
22. Rock and Roll – Eric Hutchinson
23. Replay – Iyaz
24. Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus
25. You Belong With Me – Taylor Swift
26. Fireflies – Owl City
27. Who Says – John Mayer
28. Down - Jason Derulo
29. I’m yours – Jason Mraz
30. Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song – Matt Hires
31. Time of Your Life – Green Day
32. Washed by the Water - NeedToBreathe
Songs written by Nick Gill:
2. One Last Goodbye
3. The New World
4. Follow Everyone
5. Five Shots to Live
9. Crazy English Teacher
12. How it Feels (to lose a friend)
13. Breaking the Heart in
14. By the Way
15. That Life