Graham Nicholas
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Graham Nicholas

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Country


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Review- “Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories”- Graham Nicholas"

These would be some pretty heavy stories to tell a kid at bedtime. Graham Nicholas’ follow-up to the wonderful, emotionally raw Bury Me Beneath the Dance Floor is an EP with equally raw honesty but with simpler arrangements.

In this case, every song is serviced simply by Nicholas playing acoustic guitar and vocals, with harmonies sung by Raven Shields of Dear Sister. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Aaron Comeau produced the album—he seems to be present on every good country/folk recording in the Toronto area.

“Ruby” is the opening song for the EP, hence the title, and it continues Nicholas’ apparent fascination with writing about death in songs. The first line or two mention three bullets being fired from a chamber of a gun. Despite the grim subject matter, the song again functions as an emotional ballad and doesn’t come across as depressingly melancholy as songs about death usually do.

“Home Seems To Run” is slightly warmer with its guitar chords, with very descriptive lyrics chronicling a home. It’s also got a great pair of lines: “A tree can only grow until the sun refuse to shine/When your tear turns to a rose I’ll pluck the sadness from your eye.”

“If You Lived Here (You’d Be Homeless By Now)” starts out with a pretty great metaphor: “I’ll pluck these heartstrings of mine and I’ll cry out the blues.” A guitar is rarely described in such a pretty way.

“Penny,” meanwhile, is certainly the most upbeat “bedtime story,” and is closest the EP gets to a hoedown. The particular “oo-oo-oo’s” from Shields add a light-hearted element to the EP that hadn’t existed until then.

Finally there’s “Wandering Angel,” another song that starts off with a punchy first line. “He’s a straight shooter and I guess that makes you a son of a gun,” Nicholas begins the ballad. It’s another slightly melancholy song that neatly bookends the album along with “Ruby.”

Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories will be available on Graham Nicholas’ Bandcamp soon. Nicholas will also be holding a CD release show in Toronto on January 30 at the Tranzac alongside Matthew Bailey.

Top Track: “Penny”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really G00d) - Grayowl Point

"Graham Nicholas – Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories"

These are the bedtimes stories that keep you lying awake at night. Tales of heartache, regret, melancholy: up until 3 am staring at sleep through the bottom of a bottle. Graham Nicholas performs with the ache of memory, that pluck of the heartstrings (his words) that defines country music. He is accompanied throughout the record by the superb Raven Shields. Her contribution lends an uncommon depth to the simple songs, often the only embellishment in the stripped-down compositions. The upbeat nostalgia of “Penny” is given a bounding resolve by the marvelously braided harmonies, the whooping call of the chorus. There’s something happening in Toronto, some great future for country and folk music. Keep your ear on the railroad tracks. - Aruge Job

"Review- “Bury Me Beneath the Dance Floor”- Graham Nicholas"

Folk and country as genres have always been associated with honesty. The lyrics that make up folk and country songs are usually true stories from the songwriter’s own experience, and musical arrangements are usually made to augment these stories. In fuller arrangements, sometimes the meaning can be lost.

Graham Nicholas is just such an honest songwriter. The meanings of songs are clear and the arrangements never feel overwhelming. There are two major themes present in the album. The first should be somewhat obvious from the album title; there’s definitely a preoccupation with death. The other theme is a common but timeless one: keeping and losing love.

The first two songs deal with death in two very different ways. “Blue Of Noon” is a simple song melodically- just an acoustic guitar and two vocalists who harmonize for the entire song. This is one of the best songs on the album hands down in the way that Nicholas deals with death- death is depicted as a woman who simply comes to town and claims what’s rightfully hers. The way she is talked about shows that no one is powerful enough to stop her; instead people just accept that she appears. She also apparently doesn’t like to drink alone.

The title track, meanwhile, is a lot more whimsical. The narrator wants to tell his son “Forget about being a lawyer” and for him to “grab his fishing pole and re-read Tom Sawyer.” The song is a bit of a hootenanny, quite the change from the slightly hopeless tone of the previous song. It even features a pretty sweet banjo solo.

Love (whether lost or found) is dealt with over the arc of the next few songs. “Keepin’ My Soul Alive” talks of the lovesick man: “‘Cause my heart is blind to the things you do,” Nicholas sings. “Six Chambered Love Letter” is a fuller-band number that completely changes direction in the last minute. “Love By the Dime” struck me as exceedingly genuine, though I can’t place my finger on why.

The latter half of the album holds up well on its own, with several songs featuring kickass harmonica such as “Books Not Bombs” and “Kids in the Hall.” Another great song is “Her Name Was Rock and Roll” which sounds like a really upbeat singalong thanks to the background vocals. “Feels Like Faith” showcases an uncommon power in Nicholas’ vocals, and the album ends nicely with “Big Biscuits.”

Rarely do I encounter an album that feels like I’m reading into the songwriter’s soul, but this is definitely one of those times. You can download every song on Bury Me Beneath the Dance Floor for free from Bandcamp.

Top Tracks: “Blue of Noon”; “Love by the Dime”; “Her Name Was Rock and Roll”

Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good) - Grayowl Point

"Music Inspired by Community"

“No one knows what the word ‘folk’ means anymore,” says Graham Nicholas. “If someone performs with an acoustic guitar, we tend to classify that as folk music.”

“But it’s more about passing stories along and getting as many people involved as possible. It’s a way of identifying a community that you belong to.”

Nicholas, a local musician, took this sentiment to heart when writing and recording his debut album Bury Me Beneath the Dance Floor. Along with eight friends, he formed a music collective called The Old River Raft in 2009. A modern spin on the grassroots creativity that characterizes the folk genre, the group would meet regularly, each member taking turns sharing songs that the rest of the group would jam on.

“We were all learning to share our stories together,” Nicholas says. “There was no lead singer, or head songwriter. And if someone had a story to tell we’d help them do that.”

With some encouragement from his close friend and band mate Scott Brunt, Nicholas started to spend more time writing his own music.

“He kept pushing me — I never used to sing back then and he really got me to try new things,” Nicholas says.

Building on Brunt’s advice and his own passion, Nicholas started to write and record an album in his downtown London apartment with sound engineer Casey Wolfe. Drawing on a talented circle of friends to create a modern take on traditional folk music, Nicholas enlisted the help of Blair Whatmore of Handsome Dan and His Gallimaufry; Zach Hoffman and Andrew Lennox of Wild Domestic; Brent Herbert of The Woody Allens; and local musicians Martin Horak, Beth Prysuk and James Cummins along with Brunt and Wolfe.

“All the people that play on this album are a part of my music community, part of this creative community that inspires me,” Nicholas says.

Nicholas will celebrate the release of his album on Saturday night at the London Music Club (470 Colborne St.). He will be joined by Guelph group Your Neck of the Woods and Alanna Gurr, who is also celebrating the release of a new album that night. The show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door.

- Metro

"Bury Me Beneath the Horsefeathers"

On Saturday, October 22nd friends, family, and fans all found themselves piled into the main room at the London Music Club to celebrate the CD releases of two local artist. Alanna Gurr's “Oh Horsefeathers” and Graham Nicholas' “Bury me Beneath the Dancefloor.” Both artists played songs from their first full length albums on a stage decorated with a feather backdrop as others clapped, stomped and danced in the small spaces within the crowd. At the show I was lucky enough to snag both releases and spent most of the next day listening to both, one after another.

The first one I put on was “Oh, Horsefeathers.” Gurr, a native of Guleph, ON made her mark on the London music scene before graduating from the Fanshawe/Western MTP program. In that time she recorded an EP which was released in September 2010 on Oh! Records, the same label that has released titles from other local artists including Olenka and the Autumn Lovers and The Whipping Wind. When asked about the EP Gurr says it was to basically try out what she had since she had only begun booking shows at the time. “The LP (“Oh, Horsefeathers”) is in response to what felt like a positive reaction to the EP by the music community in both London and outside of it.”

Gurr, who's influence when writing includes One Hundred Dollars, Julie Doiron and Frazey Ford describes the full length album as a transition into the folk rock sound from where she started as a singer-songwriter but with a lot more of a full body sound. One thing I noticed as I looked over the case of “Oh, Horsefeathers” is that there are a few tracks that are repeated from the self titled EP including Lovely Girl, October and Chapel. The difference in sounds between the tracks on the EP and LP make the songs unique in their own way. While the songs were originally recorded with more acoustic, instrumental accents, when listening to the full length I was astounded by the more electric and raw guitar sound. The perfect compliment to Gurr's soft twang that could be described as a voice that could sing lullabies to kittens. For lovers of the original acoustic sounds that was first produced by Gurr should not fear though. The more gentle melodies can still be heard on newer, heartfelt songs including the tracks like the third one, Little One.

Gurr credits a lot of time and patience to achieving the sound given to stories of love and loss. “Dan Beeson from Magnetic Sound Studios in Guelph recorded and mastered the album. He was amazing, and really understood what i wanted to do with the songs,” says Gurr. “I'm really going to try to get 'Oh, Horsefeathers' out there and hopefully noticed. Its more what I wanted the songs to sound like from the beginning.” Although Gurr says the recording time needed to created this album of beautiful and soulful folk and blues songs took longer than anticipated, it was worth it because in the end there were a lot of friends who came out to help produce a sound that make “Oh, Horsefeathers” a true success for Alanna Gurr and makes it an album defiantly worth the listen.

One of the friends responsible for the success of “Oh, Horsefeathers” is Graham Nicholas who created his own success with the release of his full length “Bury me Beneath the Dancefloor.” Nicholas, a vetern of the local band Red Horse says that fellow band mate Scott Brunt was one off his main influences when writing. “He was the one who really encouraged me the most to start singing and song writing,” says Nicholas. He confesses that some of tracks on the album are some of the first songs he had ever written but recording them for “Bury me Beneath the Dancefloor” is how Nicholas was able to finally meet and get to know them. “I’ve been playing some of them for so long that it’s kind of like seeing the preacher’s face in the other side of the confession booth for the first time.” The love and pride he has for these songs show in the tender care taken to make the stories that have inspired him for years into a well rounded and blended sound with the perfect mix of instrumental and vocal harmonies. The dosey doeing, foot stomping sounds of tracks like Her Name is Rock and Roll play well against some of the more heartfelt newer tracks including In the Blue of Noon and Keepin' the Soul Alive. Although these slower, more sway worthy numbers may act as a bit of a breather when your hands are sore from clapping to the beat they also show Nicholas' maturity as an artist with a different style of song writing he has been moving towards.

With the full, hearty sound of the album you would never guess that the recording process was done by personal friend Casey Wolfe, who plays bass on the album. Nicholas describes the experience as “bare minimum, low key and at time guerrilla style” and says it couldn't have been done without Wolfe, Simon Larochette, who mixed the album, and CHRW who helped by loaning equipment to the cause and by supporting Nicholas and “Bury me Beneath the Dancefloor” 100%. Nicholas says that the sound created on the album, clearly influenced by great musicians including Townes Van Zant, Hank Williams and Bruce Springsteen, also couldn't have been possible without all the great local musician involved in making “Bury me Beneath the Dancefloor” what it is. A creative and confident first step for Graham Nicholas.

- London Fuse


"Bury Me Beneath The Dancefloor" was released on October 22, 2011.

"Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories" was released on January 30th, 2013. 



To my ear, Nicholas is a keen student of the coy wit of John Prine, and the understated soul of Gillian Welch." - Matt Foster of The Crooked Brothers

With his debut CD Bury Me Beneath The Dance Floor Graham Nicholas has quickly become a permanent fixture on the folk scene of Ontario. This past year Grahams debut release was a finalist for CHRW's Album of the Year Award, and it received a nomination for Best Country Album of the Year at The Jack Richardson Music awards. He has recently released a new EP entitled Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories. Recorded at Revolution Studios and produced by Aaron Comeau, the new EP finds Graham Nicholas teaming up with Raven Shields of Dear Sister. Ruby, and Other Bedtime Stories is a small collection of country duets. Graham Nicholas has shared the stage with the likes of Old Man Luedecke (Juno Winner), Del Barber (Juno Nominee), Catherin Maclellan, Jerry Leger, Harlan Pepper, The Wooden Sky, Daniel Romano and The Crooked Brothers.

Graham Nicholas has created an emotionally resonant world that is inhabited by troubled and love hungry characters; people who are only looking to be understood. The characters of his songs are never alienated for their insecurities, but instead they are respected with the empathetic voice of an honest songwriter.

Band Members