nikki moddelmog

nikki moddelmog

 Wichita, Kansas, USA

What if Norah Jones were a Mennonite, her childhood laid hard against her dreams? What if she had long ago mastered the simple and the plain? And what if she learned five guitar chords and found a voice choked back by two decades of conscience and cautiousness, this music out now in a one-woman chorus from the farther, the moral black-and-white–and-grey side of things?
These days, Nikki Moddelmog is nobody’s girl.
Her songs hang together in the passing of a season, in the loss of a love to


Music has been Nikki Moddelmog's companion, and it has been her catalyst.

It was music that showed Nikki how to transform herself from college and marriage, divorce and relocation into a bona fide regional music phenomenon.

And it was through music that Nikki found love and contentment with noted luthier and jazz mandolinist Gary Palsmeier.

And now, it is through music that Nikki is learning to reclaim joy from great loss.

Nikki sprung onto Wichita's music scene in 2005, when she started showing up at the songwriter's circle at The Artichoke. "She only had two or three songs," said Bryan Masters, "and she sang so quietly we could barely hear. But we would just get real quiet and listen, and then just get chills. There was always a lot of talent in that circle, but it was obvious that Nikki had something special."

Within two years, her limited repertoire had blossomed into a first-class singer-songwriter catalog. Her first release, "Pathological Optimist" put her jangly Martin guitar and Ani-esque vocals in the spotlight with a dozen diary-folk gems. Her performances of this era revealed a charming, goofy, spontaneous talent -- a mighty engaging young artist who was just discovering her voice and her power.

After taking up with jazz mandolinist Gary Palsmeier, Nikki was exposed to different musicians and interpretive styles, and put together a very different type of band for 2009's "Revolve." Her writing stayed true to her voice and musical identity, but the fresh sonic palette coaxed new maturity and dimension from her songs. That new-found sophistication didn't damage her street cred -- the "Revolve" CD release party was a regional must-attend event, and that CD landed her at the top of The Wichita Eagle's Readers' Choice poll. Nikki's name and music were everywhere, and suddenly everyone knew her name.

But the elation and easy ascent of her musical profile was eclipsed in late 2010, when Gary's health problems moved to center stage. He died a few short weeks later.

"As time goes on, I realize that the past couple of years have been less tragic and more transformative," she said. "Letting go and moving forward truly is the hardest part. Now it feels as though a new chapter is emerging."

And so Nikki is re-emerging, reinventing, reconstructing and restoring yet again. Again her music is her companion and catalyst. In this edition, her naivete is gone -- but her hope survives. Her voice has lost a lot of its childlike wonder, but retains the wisest parts of idealism. In fact, she sounds just like Nikki Moddelmog, but maybe a little more experienced. And it's experience that makes us interesting.

"Music is my cheerleader. It reminds me that I have a voice and that there is power behind that voice. It rides beside me when I'm dodging all the bullets of life, and behind me when I need pushed out of the nest," Nikki said. "And then, when I least expect it, it takes me on the most amazing adventures."



Written By: nikki moddelmog

right when i think i know what to say
you turn and take my breath away
why can't you just leave me alone

you wreck my brain it just can't think
i see you every time i blink
you drive me crazy, then you drive me to drink

did you say goodbye?

i see your point, it's just not clear
how you can live your life in fear
i just can't understand how you persevere

those walls around your heart so tall
make sure that you will never recall
what it was that made you feel so small

are you ready to come with me?
are you here, with me now?

did you say goodbye?

juniper coat

Written By: nikki moddelmog

Surrender the pretender and get to the point. It’s exhausting the effort it takes to avoid A thought, a feeling otherwise destroyed By an underlying realization of a juniper coat on the edge of fallacy, refraining from words, not so dear to your heart, as you see them start to merge, into a brand new hope a gun shy wound, you know gravity only infects with every full moon. I move to the door, keeping eyes on the sea, only capable of the truth in the shape of me. gibberish lives on, as we ignore the obvious only to face what keeps us delirious, words on words, just to hear ourselves talk, greeting truth and bull and introduce them to shock. I move to the door, keeping eyes on the sea, only capable of the truth in the shape of me.


revolve 2009
pathological optimist 2006