When The Spirit Is Ready: The Music of Nick Lee

I started writing songs when I was 15 or so. I’d written musical ideas my entire life, but it was at that time in 2007 when I began adding some semblance of structure to the ideas. I shied away from releasing albums for the most part even though I recorded often. In fact I would say I spent more of my teenage years in front of my computer with a guitar strapped to my chest than I spent doing anything. The makeshift studio setting was a wonderful composition tool and I was able to push those infant ideas to their limits. The end result was always the same. I’d give a disc to some friends once every few years and then I’d go hide for a while.

When I was 19 I broke away from computer based recording. That was the age that I got into Springsteen. I wasn’t sure what his process was like and I didn’t want to know, but I figured he didn’t have a laptop with him when he wrote Darkness on The Edge of Town. Writing without a playback device was a very different beast entirely but it didn’t feel like I was back at square one nearly as much as it felt like a rebirth.

My approach to both writing and recording now is fairly whimsical. I never have to force myself to do it, it’s just what I do. I work on song for multiple hours every day and I record when I feel like it. None of it is a drag.

I’m two albums in this year. Help yourself to free copies from Bandcamp. If you want to pay top dollar for an otherwise free album, get Alcohol Is Gonna Kill Me Now on Itunes.





5 thoughts on “When The Spirit Is Ready: The Music of Nick Lee”

  1. Since you brought up The Boss, wanted to comment on your comment awhile back when I brought up Frank Turner and Joe Bonamassa and cussing.
    I had commented that Joe just plays his music and doesn’t cuss. Frank plays his music and cusses like a sailor (was he one?).
    Anyway, you said, “First you have to understand, Frank has a personality…”
    Funny–and true.
    But I got to thinking that I’ve seen a lot of clips of Springsteen live and I’ve never heard him cuss. I’m sure you’ve seen much more than I have so maybe you have heard him cuss.
    Still, the question begs to be asked: Since Springsteen doesn’t seem to cuss, does that mean he doesn’t have a personality either?
    P.S. I may be posting a lot more since I’ve got more free time on my hands because…well, you know…

    1. This is my third attempt responding to this. I’ve somehow found a hot key combo that kills the browser. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ll no doubt cross it’s path before this post is finished. I can think of three instances of Springsteen dropping the F-bomb. Two of them are from his 2010 DVD, Live at Hyde Park, where he has to run up a steep set of stairs to get back on stage mid concert. “I’m fucking 60,” he says, “get me a fucking elevator!” The other time is in his song “Queen of The Supermarket.”

      My response, though funny, of course isn’t entirely accurate. There are lots of vibrant personalities who don’t swear. I think what I was getting at was that Frank and Joe have such widely different approaches – not to mention audiences – language alone would not be an apt way to compare them. Joe appears to be a guarded mystery. I don’t feel as if I’ve ever captured a glimpse of who he is as a person other than the apparent discipline in which he approaches his music. Frank, on the other hand, has a more vibrant personality. His songs come across as fleeting scenes from his life and he’s does not appear to be too different from the audience other than the fact that he has a cool job and we don’t. It has been suggested that honest people tend to swear more. I’m not sure what lurking variables clouded the study, but I would assume that a very honest, reactionary personality would have less guarded speech. I personally use foul language far less often than I think it and I use it often. Perhaps there should be a study around why exactly those “bad” words are such ear worms.

      To answer the question at hand, I don’t think of Springsteen as a vibrant personality. He doesn’t appear to have that same “pay attention to me” attitude as most front men. He also hasn’t made a habit of writing autobiographical songs (with the exception of a lot of Tunnel of Love), though they all undeniably come from a real place. He just rocks. If our spectrum is low personality to high personality ranging from Joe to Frank I’d put Bruce right in the middle.

      Sorry about the election.

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