Nathan Xander
Gig Seeker Pro

Nathan Xander

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2007 | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2007
Band Americana Rock

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

This band hasn't logged any past gigs

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

Music

Press


New York City DIY singer-songwriter Nathan Xander, who has opened for artists such as Delta Spirit, The Felice Brothers, Tuneyards, and Prussia, writes and records music that is introspective, emotive, and reminiscent of artists like Neil Young and Nick Drake. Over the years, Xander has moved between Union City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then Chicago, before settling in New York.

Xander’s latest self-titled release, his third album, dropped in January. But it’s not the album he originally recorded and was set to release. In the summer of 2011, he was working in a New York recording studio on the finishing touches of the tracks for his new album. Than lightning struck – literally. Xander received a devastating call from the studio’s engineer who told him that lightning had struck the studio during a storm and wiped out, in one zap, all of the recordings from the hard drives; months of hard work was obliterated in a flash. Completely gone. Xander, nor the studio, had created backups (which should be a lesson to any musician – constantly create other backups of your work on an external hard drive or upload to a secure site like Dropbox because months of work can be lost in a second).

“We had everything pretty well done and I was going to mix it and do some tweaks here before releasing it,” Xander told IRC. “Then, when it was ready, it was gone…it really made mad to lose everything and start over but I write so much that it’s not a big deal.” Other than “crappy demos,” Xander had no other copies of the songs backed up anywhere. So, instead of trying to start again from the demos, he decided to move on: “So, I went in and recorded a totally new record… [the] overdubs were done over the Internet [by] sending files back and forth to my guitar player in Chicago.” No matter how you look at it, that’s an amazing story of loss, disappointment, renewal and triumph, which is evident in the songs on his new release.

(In a strange coincidence, the original post that we published a couple of days ago profiling Xander disappeared from our site for a reason that we still do not understand, and which has never happened before. Xander, noting that, said: “Someone is out to get me.”)

Xander works deliberately on his music, honing his songwriting skills, folksy, acoustic sounds and affecting vocals. He explained to IRC his songwriting process: “I just play guitar a lot and work on things as they come… I sort of sit on a guitar part and wait. I’ll usually come up with a couple lines when I walk the dog or something and then go home and write; [I] jump on things as they come.” His part-time backup band includes Brian Morrissey – guitar and keys; Ryan Juravic on percussion; Keith Rowland on bass and Nick Broste on trombone.

Xander said that he has 10 additional songs partially track for a new album and about 20 others that he is also working on. All the evidence points to a prolific artist. His next scheduled performance will be on April 14th at the Cake Shop in Manhattan with the rising indie band Water Liars.

While he is DIY, Xander is not completely off the radar; in addition to sharing the stage with some well-known and popular artists, he’s also been featured in publications like The Chicago Tribune and was invited to do a session on Daytrotter last June.

Xander’s impressive finger-picking style, along with his touching lyrics, creates a sound that is truly unique, even though he clearly draws inspiration from many of his favorite artists, from Bob Dylan and Why? to Elton John and Neil Young. Xander creates just as much variety and depth with his guitar as he does with his lyrics, and his accompanying band adds the fullness and poignancy to his songs, which helps to distinguish him from the traditional Americana singer/songwriter mold.

The blog, Slowcoustic, wrote: “If you are looking for a candidate to join the forces of today’s Indie-Americana heroes, Nathan Xander should be on your radar, hell, he should be in your ears!” Blogger Reglar Wiglar wrote of Xander’s music: “It’s sad, haunting, beautiful, universal and lingers in your brain… Nathan Xander’s songs are simple but smart, sparse but with space and definitely get to the heart of matters of the heart.”

Xander’s musical influences include Kris Kristofferson, Paul Westerberg, Mose Allison, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle , Michael Hurley, Magnolia Electric Co., Elton John, Dylan, Neil, Randy Newman, Why?, Felice Brothers, and Waylon Jennings. - Indie Rock Cafe


This is the third album release from singer songwriter Nathan Xander. Comprising 9 songs it is not a lengthy affair, but to mis-quote a well known phrase, "never mind the quantity feel the quality". And quality is what we get here with an eminently listenable album.

It all starts off with a couple of up-beat tracks; the most catchy, a bittersweet love song intriguingly titled “ooo ooo ooo” before settling into a slow acoustic grove. All songs talk of love and heartbreak, reflecting the break up of a relationship, and all being penned by Xander who plays guitar, vox and harmonica on the record. On his website Xander refers to considering himself an American songwriter “sort of like Tom Petty” where he also cites the influence of Neil Young and Gram Parsons amongst others. There is reference to Tom Petty in “Something In Me”, but that is a far as we get to any obvious Tom Petty influence in this album although in “Last Day of the Moth” Xander sounds remarkably like David Gray both in his vocal sound and style.

As the album draws to a close, the mood darkens, the closing track “Drag a Scarecrow” having a melancholy feel with the telling line “the two of us we don’t talk anymore”. A song straight from the heart and from bitter experience, which is the reason why this album has such a gritty and real feel about it. - Americana UK


New York City DIY singer-songwriter Nathan Xander, who has opened for artists such as Delta Spirit, The Felice Brothers, Tuneyards, and Prussia, writes and records music that is introspective, emotive, and reminiscent of artists like Neil Young and Nick Drake. Over the years, Xander has moved between Union City and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and then Chicago, before settling in New York.

Xander’s latest self-titled release, his third album, dropped in January. But it’s not the album he originally recorded and was set to release. In the summer of 2011, he was working in a New York recording studio on the finishing touches of the tracks for his new album. Than lightning struck – literally. Xander received a devastating call from the studio’s engineer who told him that lightning had struck the studio during a storm and wiped out, in one zap, all of the recordings from the hard drives; months of hard work was obliterated in a flash. Completely gone. Xander, nor the studio, had created backups (which should be a lesson to any musician – constantly create other backups of your work on an external hard drive or upload to a secure site like Dropbox because months of work can be lost in a second).

“We had everything pretty well done and I was going to mix it and do some tweaks here before releasing it,” Xander told IRC. “Then, when it was ready, it was gone…it really made mad to lose everything and start over but I write so much that it’s not a big deal.” Other than “crappy demos,” Xander had no other copies of the songs backed up anywhere. So, instead of trying to start again from the demos, he decided to move on: “So, I went in and recorded a totally new record… [the] overdubs were done over the Internet [by] sending files back and forth to my guitar player in Chicago.” No matter how you look at it, that’s an amazing story of loss, disappointment, renewal and triumph, which is evident in the songs on his new release.

(In a strange coincidence, the original post that we published a couple of days ago profiling Xander disappeared from our site for a reason that we still do not understand, and which has never happened before. Xander, noting that, said: “Someone is out to get me.”)

Xander works deliberately on his music, honing his songwriting skills, folksy, acoustic sounds and affecting vocals. He explained to IRC his songwriting process: “I just play guitar a lot and work on things as they come… I sort of sit on a guitar part and wait. I’ll usually come up with a couple lines when I walk the dog or something and then go home and write; [I] jump on things as they come.” His part-time backup band includes Brian Morrissey – guitar and keys; Ryan Juravic on percussion; Keith Rowland on bass and Nick Broste on trombone.

Xander said that he has 10 additional songs partially track for a new album and about 20 others that he is also working on. All the evidence points to a prolific artist. His next scheduled performance will be on April 14th at the Cake Shop in Manhattan with the rising indie band Water Liars.

While he is DIY, Xander is not completely off the radar; in addition to sharing the stage with some well-known and popular artists, he’s also been featured in publications like The Chicago Tribune and was invited to do a session on Daytrotter last June.

Xander’s impressive finger-picking style, along with his touching lyrics, creates a sound that is truly unique, even though he clearly draws inspiration from many of his favorite artists, from Bob Dylan and Why? to Elton John and Neil Young. Xander creates just as much variety and depth with his guitar as he does with his lyrics, and his accompanying band adds the fullness and poignancy to his songs, which helps to distinguish him from the traditional Americana singer/songwriter mold.

The blog, Slowcoustic, wrote: “If you are looking for a candidate to join the forces of today’s Indie-Americana heroes, Nathan Xander should be on your radar, hell, he should be in your ears!” Blogger Reglar Wiglar wrote of Xander’s music: “It’s sad, haunting, beautiful, universal and lingers in your brain… Nathan Xander’s songs are simple but smart, sparse but with space and definitely get to the heart of matters of the heart.”

Xander’s musical influences include Kris Kristofferson, Paul Westerberg, Mose Allison, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle , Michael Hurley, Magnolia Electric Co., Elton John, Dylan, Neil, Randy Newman, Why?, Felice Brothers, and Waylon Jennings. - Indie Rock Cafe


It's not a problem at all for Chicago singer-songwriter Nathan Xander that people keep likening his voice to Bob Dylan's. "When I started writing songs, it was Bob that really made me want to do it," he says. "But the stuff is really a mix of every band that I like. It's not as if I'm trying to sound like Neil Young on this song, or have a Dylan harmonica on that song. It just filters in there."

After leaving his native Union City (a half-hour drive from Erie in Amish country), Xander spent five years in Pittsburgh, living in Mount Washington, Dormont and the South Side. "It's where I met my girlfriend, and I'm back there about eight times a year, hanging with her parents," he says. He eventually wound up following her to Chicago ("she didn't want me to give chase, but I did anyway"), and now works for a moving company while gigging with a klatch of like-minded folkies, including William Blackart and Adam Faucett.

"There's this bar that does open mics -- it's the kind of place that stays open 'til 5 in the morning and has a grand piano, and they let us sit there and drink and play guitar to our hearts' content," Xander says. "Those guys asked me to do a show with them, and now we've become good friends, and we're informed by each other's music. Our stuff is in a similar vein, but still different."

Xander's initial EP, Swiftly, Surely, was released by a Providence, R.I. label associated with a capsule album-review Web site called 75 or Less (the name refers to 75 words per review). His new CD The Fear -- which he'll debut this Fri., Feb. 6, at Club Café -- is self-released, although with frequent comparisons to Jason Molina (Songs:Ohia/Magnolia Electric), he may have an outside chance at convincing the Secretly Canadian label to come on board. "That wouldn't be too bad at all," he says. "There are some Chicago bands on that label."

Meanwhile, Xander prowls the touring circuit restlessly, and even his own Web site, "Always Never Home," which reflects that semi-nomadic nature. "Originally, that was the title of a song on the EP, with the tone being that I was just not there mentally when I wrote it. But now I can see how it might refer to me being on the road a lot." - Pittsburgh City Paper


"Every so often a singer-songwriter comes along who simultaneously blazes his own path and pays homage to his predecessors. Nathan Xander fits this role perfectly. He blends the lyrical senses of a poetic Bob Dylan with the musical style of Two Gallants and vocal stylings of Jeff Tweedy. The music blends alt-country hooks with the folksy earnestness that many folk singers lack. The Fear is a special album from start to finish with the jaw-dropping "Martyr's Song" being a standout in an album filled with highlights. Everything comes together perfectly. The lyrics are heartfelt and deeply moving, the vocals are sincerely delivered, and the guitar work is certainly credible. Buy this record." - Verbicide


It's hard to pin down exactly what makes the music of Nathan Xander worthwhile. On first listen, the songs seem to flow casually by. The arrangements are sparse, and often feature Xander alone with his guitar. However, certain things stick in the mind and demand redressing, and on the second listen they casually grow into something unique. Perhaps this is because so many aspects of Xander's music are understated. Xander's voice is at once wistful and confident - pleasantly passing through like slow tires on a gravel road, it is able to elicit nostalgia and hope. This is a tricky line to walk especially when considering that the lyrical subject matter is often weighed down by the mundane. In The Fear's opening track, October, for instance, Xander nostalgically laments autumnal images as he supplicates himself to a woman for strength to face the ominous road. A simple yet sufficing meandering guitar picking and a forlorn harmonica compliment his singing, and image and delivery combine into a mural of fall. Nathan Xander's music is also effectively personal. His spirit is invested in every song as he exposes (instead of announces) a flowing current of wisdom and youthful apprehension. On Dark Horses, the album's most upbeat tune, he flails at inevitable deterioration singing "It takes time to fail." Xander seems to draw confidence from the song's tempo and gains momentary transcendence from pensive drudgery. Many of The Fear's songs take inspiration from an Americana tradition. The Alchemist presents a bluesy swagger with romping toms and a heavy kick as Xander sings with reverbed ferocity. John Wayne delves into the traditional cowboy ballad. With echoed and doubled vocals the song sounds more forlorn than convincing as Xander states, "I'm feelin' kinda untouchable/ Kinda like John Wayne." This song, along with others such as Emerald Cities and October capture the forlorn wanderlust of the American road. Despite the strength of the album's more tradition-influenced songs, tunes on the album that truly stand out are ones that depart from this tradition and find a voice of their own. Songs such as True Love Never Did Run Smooth and Emerald Cities"show off Xander's penchant for guitar parts that walk an idiosyncratic line - retaining enough melody to keep them in the realm of catchy. On Trial By Fire Xander mourns the ambiguous pursuit of fame and the fading music industry saying, "Inspiration brings a grand fortune, but baby it don't come easy." The song explores the fall-out of an age in which everyone has the capacity and tools to pursue music. It is able to reshape tradition into extant commentary. By album's end, it remains ambiguous as to what "fear" Xander is addressing. At the core of this fear, however, is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. This uncertainty not only surrounds Xander's personal associations and songwriting, but also the future of music in general. As Xander points out in Trial by Fire "All the old masters are either dead or getting close." It's hard to determine where that leaves singers such as Nathan Xander. Whatever this fear is, however, Xander has harnessed it to establish himself as a truly great American songwriter. - Stereo Subversion


Simple and homespun, with a gentle sense of folksy melody and an endearingly earnest and honest sensibility, Nathan Xander's The Fear has a certain sweetly delicate charm to it that's both refreshing and engaging in equal measure. This is the type of timeless and eminently tuneful music that sounds like it could have been recorded thirty-odd years ago, but was indeed recorded recently, yet commendably doesn't adhere to any hip trends of the moment. Nathan Xander's hoarsely affecting tenor and keen grasp of poetically terse songwriting make for a potent double whammy. The bulk of the songs feature gradual tempos and subdued beats that for the most part keep things chugging along at a pleasingly relaxed, but steady clip. An excellent and impressive album. - Jersey Beat


Discography

Nathan Xander - LP - 2013
John Wayne b/w Darkness - 7" - 2010
The Fear - LP - 2009
Swiftly, Surely - EP - 2007

Photos

Bio

After releasing a 7 of two new arrangements of previous songs in 2010, the studio where New York singer-songwriter Nathan Xander was recording was struck by lightning, and he lost eight finished songs that were to comprise the follow up to his sophomore record, The Fear. Its been three years of waiting for a new full-length LP, but after a year of sporadic recording in Brooklyn and Chicago, it's finally here.

Shifting around geographically over the years, from his small hometown of Union City, PA to Pittsburgh to Chicago, he now lives in New York, where hes been writing new material and playing shows. While many liken him to Neil Young, Nick Drake or Jason Molina, his unique finger picking and lyrics create a sound undeniably his own, drawing from a mix of every band that hes ever listened to twice. Laid back, confident, and brutally honest, he delivers just as much with his guitar as he does with his words, and his accompanying band adds a depth and poignancy to his songs that distinguishes him from traditional Americana.

His third self-titled record, set for release on September 1, 2012, retains the distinct, smart combinations of guitar, harmonica, and drums of previous recordings, but with lyrics more focused and less fragile. When asked about the tone of the record, Xander responded, It was sort of spiteful at first. I had a few songs written in Chicago after Id been cut loose from a relationship. The girl and I decided to try it again, so I dumped the band and moved to New York. The same thing happened for the 2nd or 3rd time a few months later, and its like I was trying to talk myself out of a situation I didnt want to be in anymore. Trying to get these songs out as a sort of release. I was feeling really bad when I started recording, and I put them all together because the album was writing itself one after the other.

Band Members