Nick Peay
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Nick Peay

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | SELF

Louisville, Kentucky, United States | SELF
Solo Rock Singer/Songwriter




"Nick Peay: Feathers And Fables (EP) – Music Review"

It’s no secret that there are easier things to do with your life than try to “make it” in the music business. Bands have already done it all, fans have seen it all and critics, will certainly say they have heard it all before. Yet, hoards of people with an itch in their mind and an ache in the heart try to break new ground and get their music heard constantly. It’s rare to hear originality and honesty combined together these day in the business. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to find both qualities resounding through the music of Louisville’s Nick Peay. His uncomplicated, heartfelt songs could soon be heard all over if this EP is received like I believe it will be.

“(Two Miserable) Blackbirds” opens the proceedings with sensible, pop music mastery that is better than most songs I’ve heard on radio this year. Short and to the point with a terrific refrain, this song is a winner. “Fly Away” is next and is very mellow and soothing. The backing tracks add just the right amount of dramatic tone and embellishment. Again, Nick wins by letting the music do the talking and not weighing down the tracks trying to be too fancy. One of his biggest strengths is knowing where he should live as a writer, and overcome the mistake a lot of young artists make by going to heavy on some parts. “Fly Away” also has a sweet guitar solo and great lyrics too. “Home” begins with a quaint little guitar and solo voice driven piece. Slowly, the track builds with some hand claps, slide guitar, harmonica, and tambourine adding layers, giving you chills. The gentle blues of the descending chords hints at sadness, but much like the late great JEFF BUCKLEY, the lightness in Peay’s voice can turn a sad song, upbeat. This song is a masterpiece and deserves to be heard far and wide. Finally, “Mockingbird” brings it on home with a sincere down home folksy tone.

With more songs like this and a kinship to artists of quality like Buckley, TOM PETTY, GLEN FREY and even MATTHEW SWEET to a degree, I can see greatness in his future. - Hot Indie News

"Nick Peay, Feathers & Fables"

Following up on last year’s EP, Nick Peay has released his new four-track album, Feathers & Fables. The album is a snapshot in time, which features Peay at his songwriting best with Blues-spiked, Alt Country musicality and lyrical matter that waxes and wanes between melancholy and upbeat optimism. Throw in Folk and Americana leanings and the album serves as an archetypical EP of the Singer/Songwriter genre.

The Alt Country rocker “(Two Miserable) Mockingbirds” opens the album (and the “Bird” theme that runs through it) with Blues-tinged electric and backing harp. Peay’s vocal delivery meshes nicely with the bent notes of guitar and harmonica with ever so slight percussion work in the background. Fuzz-laden guitar opens the demure “Mockingbird” after surrendering to the acoustic melody, bolstered by more slight percussion in the form of congas. The slide work in the verse interims is technical and tight and serves as appropriate segues within the body of the song. This one (as with the former) is dominated by emotive, anecdotal lyrical matter that shows Peay’s songwriting prowess. “Home” fits the darker, down tempo side of the album with the ubiquitous acoustic melody leading the way down a dark hallway of more emotive lyrical matter. This is a track of self-contemplation… thinking man’s lyrics, if you will. The eerie harmonica work at the midpoint, though terse, is no less haunting and certainly fits the feel of the track. Finally, “Fly Away” brings the album full circle, lightening the mood of the former track and stays in keeping with the lyrical theme. Again, Peay relies on his weapon of choice, acoustic to lay down a strong, flowing melody with his vocal delivery resting neatly on top. Intermittent electric fills tie verse to chorus as the song plays out to its conclusion.

Peay may not have had luck with his last outing as OK Zombie, but sometimes the demise of one thing can prove fortuitous in another aspect and such is the case on Feathers & Fables. This is an example of an artist allowing himself to be guided by emotion and allowing the music to take the course it is supposed to. Nothing feels contrived or forced; more raw and organic and I will go out on a limb and say, these songs are as they should be. The emotive songwriting and the simple, yet poignant musicality paired with tight production work make this one damn good listen. Nick, stay solo… you’re clearly shining at it. - Skope Magazine

"EP REVIEW: Nick Peay - Feathers and Fables"

Louisville based singer/Songwriter Nick Peavy offers optimism, imagery of Flight “Feathers & Fables” while seeking a niche he can call home on his latest EP. Feathers & Fables is the highly anticipated follow-up to Peay’s 2011 EP Life & Love & Us, which featured the singer—who emerged as a solo artist after a few years as frontman for the rock band OK Zombie--exploring his fascination for the ukulele, which he calls “a happy little instrument.” With the exception of the “Two Miserable Blackbirds”--the electric guitar driven opener that Peay calls his “Ryan Adams-like rock anthem sounding song”--the tracks on the EP flow along on the strains of Peay’s crisp acoustic guitar lines. Some are very stripped down, while others feature colorful production touches (like the congas and dobro on “Mockingbird”).

The EP gently takes to flight with soothing intro piece “Two Miserable Blackbirds.” This song methodically serves up delicate guitar ambiance against driving rock rhythms, impressive harmonica accents, meshed against impressive harmonies and vocal flair from Peay. Track 2 “Fly Away” shifts gears a bit with flowing rock rhythm, impressive Americana fretwork against hooky vocal melodies from Peay and company. Track 3 “Home” serves up a clever methodical piece complete with clever lyrical content, against an impressive musical build that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. As the EP slowly unfolds I can hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic Todd Rundrgren, Bread, Tom Petty, Train and even The Beatles. This EP makes a pretty solid first impression. Right from the start you will notice rich musical textures overflowing everywhere, full of variety, solid playing and world class songwriting. I would classify this music as acoustic pop rock, with a slight aftertaste of classic rock and alternative rock. The songs themselves are addictive, and thought provoking complete with passionate, yet upbeat subject matter. The musicianship of this band is rock solid across the board. The players themselves write, and play there parts extremely well. Turing our attention to singer Nick Peavy – let me go on record to say his voice is amazing. Peays' voice works well across the board and fills the sonic space peacefully and unobtrusively. If he wrote all these songs - well he could be bigger than any of currently realize. The EP Ends with Track 4 “Mockingbird” the perfect finalle statement for an EP like this.

I generally don't give out 10 star ratings to EP. The full length CD is a more complete snapshot to judge an artist from. All songs over 3 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

This latest Feathers and Fables (EP) by Nick Peavy is an impressive musical sampler from start to finish. The music is clean, goes down smooth, and the messages are extremely thought provoking and passionate in nature. It’s strong suit – the deeply rich production value, amazing songs and strong vocal presence from Nick Peavy possesses enough musical talent and songwriting prowess to be extremely dangerous in 2013. I can’t wait to hear the full length CD hopefully later on this coming Summer. - The Muse's Muse

"Nick Peay, the Music Man"

Rocker, crooner, record label owner and manager; “And not necessarily in that order,” says Nick Peay, the architect behind OK Zombie and red corduroy music. “It just depends on what’s going on. If OK Zombie has a show coming up, we practice; if red corduroy music is releasing a CD, I’m out promoting, marketing and talking it up; some days I just like to sit and sing old Frank Sinatra tunes.”
With red corduroy music recording and releasing four EP’s this summer (including an EP of Peay’s singer/songwriter tunes) and OK Zombie recording a new album due out in October, there’s no time for tomfoolery. “As much as I like tomfoolery,” laughs Peay, “our roster’s full.”

A lot has changed in the music industry over the past several years and new challenges are presented daily, but Peay accepts those challenges and meets them head on. His arsenal includes a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business, an Associate’s Degree in Visual Communication and nearly 15 years of writing, recording and performing music.

His first notable success was the release of OK Zombie’s first album, “Do The Zombie,” in 2008. The album was distributed digitally via iTunes and CD Baby and achieved medium rotation on both 91.9 WFPK and Bellarmine’s College Radio station. Peay was also able to secure TV spots to promote the album as well as some in-store performances at Louisville record store, ear-x-tacy.

The press had good things to say about it as well. “It’s…crystal clear in the headphones, which many “local” projects can’t achieve. Kudos for quality,” said Kevin Gibson of Louisville Music News. The LEO said, “‘Do The Zombie…’ rings of vintage, lo-fi garage rock.”

This year, Peay and red corduroy will be releasing EP’s by Sam Hadfield, Jenn Stout, Adam Hardesty, Peay himself and a full length album by OK Zombie. “We expect big things this year,” says Peay. “We’re going to be doing a lot of non-conventional things with music marketing and promoting and we’re sure they will get some notice.” - Bon Vivant Savant

"Damaged Joy"

When you flip the disc to the back to take a quick glance at the track titles, you could easily conclude that Louisville’s Nick Peay has had some damn sad things happen to him.

But when you listen to each song, this earlier determination isn’t so easy to believe. Whereas his thoughts and words are abysmal, an absolute indication of the joylessness he holds within, the beauty in his voice and gentle delivery of each note are, in their own way, sheer, exquisite inspiration. We’ve all been there. Broken hearts heal in stages. Peay is in that stage where he drinks a lot and repeats his experience on his guitar, but in a melancholy, low-drama fashion. It’s pleasant, as much as heartbreak can be.

He talks to an anonymous her in “I Won’t Fall In Love,” and assures that no matter what she does, he won’t fall in love, thinking he’s had enough. But the words It’s like I’m lost inside of a rain drop falling from your thoughts hangin’ round may be the ones that swept me off of my feet. Sing on, Mr. Peay. We’re here for you. - LEO Weekly

"Nick Peay Makes Musical Lemonade"

Saturday, Aug. 13, was the night the lights went out in Louisville. It was also the night of Nick Peay's CD release party for his new solo release, Life &Love &Us.

Please move on, please move on, is what Peay kept thinking as the storms approached. They moved in at about 70 mph, however, before moving on an hour later, and a good portion of the Highlands went black. Peay's CD release, naturally, was to be held at the Monkey Wrench.

He arrived at the venue to find the Wrench also shrouded in darkness, and the club owner's response was, "I don't know what to tell you, man."
Nick Peay

Photo By Paul Moffett

"I kind of freaked out a little bit," Peay said.

But there was good news: Because the club has three different power sources, there was power to the air-conditioning unit, the coolers and the pizza oven. So they put all the bottled and canned beer on ice, made some pizzas and "lit a shit-ton of candles."

"There wasn't an empty seat in the house," Peay said. "It was really cool. Everyone said it was a show they would never forget. It wasn't exactly what I planned, but I don't think I could have planned a better night."

Lemonade made.

If there was one thing you would like to have but probably wouldn't buy for yourself, what would it be? For Peay, it was a ukulele. The front man for the indie-pop band OK Zombie spent most of his musical time in recent years with a guitar in hand, but the ukulele had always intrigued him.

So his girlfriend, Jean Frederick, bought him one for his birthday in November 2010. She may have created a monster. The new toy became something of an obsession, and Peay began writing songs on it. That experimentation led to the songs that make up Life &Love &Us, his shiny, happy solo album.

As a companion disc, Peay also recorded Love: A Ukulele Tribute to the Beatles. (You haven't lived until you've heard "Hey Jude" performed with a ukulele.)

"I think it's a neat little instrument," Peay said. "I fell in love." In fact, he said, from that birthday until this past March, that ukulele was pretty much the only thing he played. His Ibanez Iceman – which has a cool body style that makes it resemble a tiny Epiphone Thunderbird – became his almost constant companion. He also ended up getting an Epiphone ukulele with a cutaway body that creates a resemblance to a miniature Gibson Les Paul.

"Nick mentioned that he would like to get a ukulele a few weeks before his birthday last year," Frederick said. "It is rare that he wants something music related that I can research and buy without consulting him. When I saw the Ibanez Iceman at the store, I just could not pass that beauty up."

One of Peay's favorite things about the ukulele is this: "When you take away all the big production, it has to be a good song in order to stand on its own. I made the decision to go back to songwriting for songwriting's sake."

OK Zombie songs are full-band affairs, with lots of instrumentation, and therefore tend to be more musically driven. It's a different ballgame when it's just a man and his four-string.

"I just wanted to craft some really good songs," he said.

So, Peay studied some classic songwriters and even read some books on songwriting, one of those being "Writing Better Lyrics" by Pat Pattison.

One exercise he undertook involved building verses of a song so that every time it arrives at a chorus, there is a different idea in place. This led to the song "Haunting Place," which isn't necessarily a ghost story, but rather an overview of a relationship and the place where the two people spent their time over the course of the relationship.

In the first verse, the two lovers go to the park with "a picnic lunch and a box of wine." In the second, they are discussing bringing their children to the haunting place: "Well take a shortcut through on Halloween/They'll jump from a bush, we'll pretend to scream."

And in the final verse, their children now have children. "We'll spend our free time here and reap what we've sown./So if you go for a walk in the park with someone/Our love is blooming there for everyone."

He insists the songs aren't necessarily autobiographical or even terribly personal; he simply wanted to write some songs people would enjoy and relate to on some level.

"I tried to make universal enough that it would mean something to everyone," he said, "but unique enough that it wasn't beating a dead horse."

The themes within are indeed universal, yet with their own spin. "Wild Dreams" is about fantasizing about simply running away. "Swept Away" is a metaphor for love that was inspired by the spring Ohio River flood. "The Circus Has Come" is a look into the mind of a man who apparently is terminally ill.

"The Great Green Room" is what Peay "lovingly refers to" as his "hippie song," as it is about the beauty of the world, and the title track is simply about being good to one another because, "We're in this together."

Frederick cites this one as her favorite songs on the disc and an audience favorite as well. She attributes the warm reception the EP is receiving to the positive nature of the songs.

In fact, Frederick, who calls Peay "equal parts artist and nerd," noted that the lemonade-making positivity that comes through on Life &Love &Us reflects Peay's attitude about pretty much everything he does.

"His positivity gets to show through on Life &Love &Us," she said. "I knew instantly that he had raised the bar with this project. Not only were the songs good, but they were positive, which you just don't hear much of anymore. It is such a nice change of pace."

Another unique aspect of Life &Love &Us is the artwork. The slipcase is simply brown recycled material, with the album and artist names stamped into them. But an accompanying booklet includes all the lyrics, and contributed photography and artwork from Louisville-area artists and photographers.

Peay held a contest on his website which challenged people to design the cover for the CD. He got a number of submissions, all of which he liked.

"I couldn't pick one," he said, "so I decided to use all of them."


And one other unique feature should be noted about the CD – it contains a bonus track titled "A Day in the Life (of My Dog)" that may actually be the disc's highlight. The impossibly happy tune – as if it's easy to play a sad song on a ukulele – tells it all from his German shepherd mix, Champ, and his girlfriend's pit bull terrier, Shelby, which he calls "the most awesome dog ever."

There is an interesting back story about Shelby; when Peay and Frederick began dating, one of Shelby's favorite pastimes was chasing feral cats – and Peay has two cats himself. There was trepidation when the couple decided to move in together.

"I thought, 'Oh no, this is going to ruin our relationship,'" he said with a chuckle.

So they got Shelby into a socialization and obedience training program, and the difference is amazing. She recently received her "Good Citizen" certificate from the American Kennel Club.

"Now, she curls up on the couch and sleeps with the cats," Peay said.

Is that canine lemonade?

Peay is focusing on music now, although he also does work as a free-lance graphic artist. He earned a bachelor of arts in music business from Middle Tennessee State in the early 2000s, before coming back to Louisville, working a few different jobs, and then going back to school for a visual communications degree.

That helps a lot, because it means he can do all the design work for his musical projects. He even screen prints his own t-shirts.

His education in music business is a big help, too. He knows how to market, and knows how to get things done through other people that he may not know how to do himself. After he checks off things he can do to move a release or a promotion forward, he then notes what he can't do himself, and asks, "Who do I know who can do this?"

"Pretty much anybody can be successful if you work at it and have a good idea," he said. This spawns a discussion about the definition of success. By Peay's estimation, "Success is whatever you want it to be."

For example, Life &Love &Us may not sell a million copies, but it can be a success. "I really look at this release not as 'I have to sell X number of copies or this or that,'" he said. "I did all this myself, people really like the record, and people are telling their friends about it."

He did a show in Nashville recently as part of the release promotion, as an example. "I sold a bunch of records to people I didn't know," he said. "That's a success. At this point, however I look at this record, it's a success."

He also puts a lot of effort into making OK Zombie successful, which is a different animal than his new-found love for writing songs on the ukulele. For one, he finds the band fun, and he also writes more emotionally for OK-Z when the spirit moves him.

"And I get to be weird, and make funny references that only die-hard zombie fans might get," he said.

Prior to this year's Zombie Walk in the Highlands, OK Zombie will play a show that will have them musically synching up with George Romero's original "Night of the Living Dead," which play on a screen behind them.

He remembers getting into zombie movies a few years ago, "but I always thought the soundtracks were just crap." The first OK Zombie CD, as a result, was an instrumental album titled Horror Movie Soundtrack.

A band like OK Zombie really is built for that kind of unique fun, which is right up Peay's alley.

When Peay got his beloved Ibanez Iceman last year, the first song he learned on it was George Harrison's classic "Something," from the Beatles' Abbey Road album. This is a song Paul McCartney has played often on ukulele in recent years, in tribute to his friend George. Why? Because Harrison himself was a fan of the ukulele.

"It was obvious that Nick was hooked on the uke immediately," Frederick said. "I gave it to him as soon as the sun came up on his birthday, and he managed to pick around and figure out how to play 'Something' by The Beatles before the coffee was ready. He has played the ukulele every single day since."

He recorded this song, along with "And I Love Her," "I Will," "Hey Jude" and "All You Need is Love." The disc is intentionally stripped down, with only the ukulele, lead and backing vocals and a few strings here and there.

He did so for the very reason he recorded his original ukulele compositions – to let the song take center stage. And Beatles songs are built to stand on their own. Still, there is always some risk when re-creating something that was arguably done perfectly in the first place.

"I was super nervous about putting out the Beatles record," Peay admitted. "You don't mess with the Beatles."

But he has a friend who is a Beatles fan to the degree that he had traveled to Las Vegas on multiple occasions for the express purpose of seeing Cirque du Soleil's "Love." Now that's a Beatles fan. Anyway, Peay said, "You're my test subject."

"If he enjoys it," Peay reasoned, "it's probably safe to let other Beatles fans hear it."

But even this came with challenges. For example, in the song "Something," there is a lead guitar run that is pretty much impossible to re-create with a ukulele. He mimics the lead part with his mouth and then says, "What do you do there?"

So he improvised, but in the end he did a ukulele solo that actually is pretty close to what George played originally.

"Other Beatles fans have said it's good, so I'm pretty confident," he said.

Peay is pretty confident in other ways. Besides having the guts to "mess with the Beatles," he is adept at coming up with new ways of doing things – new ways of keeping things fresh. If he can take a power outage and turn it into a candle-lit beer-and-pizza party, there's no telling what he might do.

Making more lemonade is probably on the agenda at some point.

"It's a damn fine lemonade, too," Peay said. - Louisville Music News

"Artist of the Week: Nick Peay"

Introducing Nick Peay. Nick is releasing two EP's this month. One entitled Life & Love & Us, comprised of his original material he wrote on his ukelele. The second a Beatles tribute, also done on the ukelele. I'll be reviewing his original work. His 7 track EP Life & Love & Us is a soft, delicate look at life through what seems to be the eyes of an optimistic soul. The EP comes across with what seems to be a simple concept of what the title of the album sounds like. It's about the simple things in life, the simple things in love and the interactions of all beings around us. From the man in front of you at Starbucks who flashes a smile and makes a kind gesture, to the person in your life who you care the most about and everyone in between. Nick uses many other instruments which provides nice layers over the ukelele. Soft electric guitar, keyboard, a music box and even some strings, what seems to sound like a cello. (I'm no expert in picking out stringed instruments by ear) He also uses his own voice to create beautiful harmonies. Some of my favorite songs consist of the opening track Wild Dreams which talk about two lovers just throwing their hands up and following their dreams, traveling and just living in the moment. Haunting Place is another beautiful light love song which has a slightly erie, yet happy sound to it. The last track on the album is great. The Best Day Ever describes the life of his dog. How every morning is a new adventure even if it's just rooting in the back yard or walking around the neighborhood. This album carries a very positive vibe to it. It reminds me of maybe a Jack Johnson album, but even lighter than that. If your looking to just feel good about life, or even feeling low and need something to smile about, this just might be your cure. - Louisville Pod

"Nick Peay EP Release Party August 13, 2011"

You know I don’t write about music related stuff too terribly often because our friends over at Backseat Sandbar and 37 Flood do such a great job covering the Louisville music scene. However I really, really like what I’ve heard from Nick Peay’s new EP (one of two he’s releasing this week) so I’m going to dip my toes into the music waters to tell about those EPs and the release party that’s happening at the Monkey Wrench this Saturday August 13, 2011.

The EPs mostly feature Nick singing and playing his new favorite instrument: the ukelele.

“The ukulele is just a happy little instrument,” says Peay. “You can’t help but be happy when
you hear it or see someone playing it.”

That’s a pretty true statement, the songs I’ve heard from these new release called “Life & Love & Us” have made me pretty happy. The second release is a Beattles tribute. I haven’t spent any time with it so I don’t have any opinion on it but I bet it’s pretty cool.

As I mentioned above Nick is having a release party this Saturday night (at the Monkey Wrench, starts at 8PM, $2 cover at the door) and I hope you’ll go, check out the new music and support this Louisville musician with a really cool sound. - Consuming Louisville

"Ukuleles and Dogs"

The ukulele is such a distinctive sounding instrument that it is almost a make-or-break thing. Reactions might vary from "hey, that's a good tune for a ukulele" to "why the hell is there a ukulele in that song?" This is why you don't hear a lot of ukuleles in death metal.

Louisville's Nick Peay puts the ukulele front and center in his fun and happy songs, and guess what? It sounds right at home – almost to the point that it would be tough to imagine Peay's music without that familiar tone of the miniature stringed instrument.

His new album Life & Love & Us is a happy little jaunt. It kicks off with the merry ditty "Wild Dreams," which is about getting away from life and leaving your cares behind you. Musically, it is driven by the ukulele and adorned with a brief guitar solo and whistling.

"Swept Away" is a weather metaphor connecting last spring's ridiculous flooding and getting swept away with emotions. This track has some gorgeous backing vocals that help give it, pun intended, necessary depth.

"Haunting Place" follows a couple from their first date through the end of their lives together. While the title sounds heavy, it really is just a song about enduring love. It even mentions going on a picnic and taking along a box of wine. This song reminds vaguely of the style of Fran Healy of the Scottish band Travis – a great compliment. Besides, you gotta like a love song that mentions boxed wine, right?

Again, all of this illustrates the point that ukulele, an inherently happy sounding instrument, simply fits in Peay's music. Much like the ukulele, Peay is almost impossibly upbeat, and even his vocal delivery seems inherently bright. In a time of the angst-filled and sexually-driven music on the airwaves, this collection is a nice breath of fresh air. Almost literally.

The album culminates with "A Day in the Life (of My Dog)," which is exactly what the title suggests. As Peay notes in a video introducing the album, "in a dog's mind, pretty much every day is the best day ever." And there you have it. Dog lovers need to have this song on their iPods, like, now. The rest of the album is worth a shot for all you fans of life and love and happiness. - Louisville Music News


"My Favorite Cliche" - LP, 2001
"Stutter on my Mind" - EP 2005
"Sobering" - EP 2007
"Love: A Ukulele Tribute to the Beatles" - EP, August 2011
"Life & Love & Us" - EP, August 2011
"Santa Plays The Ukulele" - Single, November 2011
"Merry Christmas Everyone" - Single, November 2011
"Looks Like Rain" - Single, July 2012
"Feathers & Fables" - EP, December 2012



Nick Peays breakthrough moment in music was a bit different than that of most musicians it was during a slot opening up for his dads cover band at a Louisville, Ky., pizza joint.
I did an acoustic cover of Thriller by Michael Jackson, he says. I thought, I dont know how this is going to go over, but Im pumped about it.
To his surprise, it went over quite well so well, in fact, that it pretty much brought down the house. He had begun playing guitar in eighth grade, had been writing songs since about age 15 and had played in several bands along the way, but hadnt quite found his place on stage. Until that night, at least, when he communicated a familiar song in a new way.
When I got done, people rushed from their tables to talk to me about what just happened, Peay continues. That kind of built my confidence up a little bit.
He then smiles and adds, I dont think my dad ever played after me again.
Peay would front the band OK Zombie before embarking on his solo career, releasing the EPs Life & Love & Us in 2011 and Feathers & Fables in late 2012, as well as a single titled Looks Like Rain in between. Each of the EPs are thematic, a trend Peays fans can expect to continue. Everything he creates is done so with purpose, as opposed to pulling together a handful of disparate songs and grouping them on an EP or album.
And while OK Zombie was a reaction to Peays love of zombie films particularly the early Romero films, which were filled with social and political commentary his solo work is created from a much broader palette. His songs are emotional, but they arent the stuff of Top 40 radio, where the subject matter is dominated by bad breakups and one-dimensional, wide-eyed romance.
I like expressing the emotion of different things Im going through, but not necessarily the standard relationship stuff, Peay says. I want people to be able to relate to my songs, but not just because they got a new girlfriend or just broke up with someone. I want people to relate, but on an intelligent level; I like making people think about things.
For Peay, then, it comes back to writing songs that convey his own, unique feelings and perspectives in a way that will also connect with an audience who may see it differently. You may not like the song Thriller, but if its communicated in a new and unique way, who knows? In turn, he feels that the uniqueness in every person should be celebrated, and his way of doing that is in song.
In the society we live in, where everything is so homogenized, being unique is almost frowned upon, he says. I think things would be more interesting if everyone was who they were as opposed to being who they think people expect them to be. Im just trying to express to people that its OK to be who you are.
This is why in a Nick Peay song, youll find characters like the music-store clerk who cant let go of his rock-star aspirations, or the symbolic blackbird who cant seem to find his true home these are individuals in whom his audience may find something vaguely familiar and resonant.
Peay was influenced by the songwriters and bands of the 1960s and 70s, and that music inspires his songwriting and musical approach. There was meaning behind what they were saying, he says. Nowadays, I dont feel like musicians stand up for anything. They say, Im going to write this generic love song so people will like me.

This is what drives him forward finding those new avenues of connection, new avenues of expression and releasing the need to create more songs, unique songs, which in turn pave those avenues for him and, perhaps most importantly, for the listener. The fact that his music has been embraced by Louisville-area radio and also by fans and critics is the balance he has found between the accessible and the original.
Ive always sort of had that battle between being universal and being unique, he says, and I believe Ive been able to find a good song between writing familiar and catchy music and creating unique lyrics that go with that song.

Band Members