Home Hear Daniel Nickels Promises To Drive Us Home

Daniel Nickels Promises To Drive Us Home

The Oregon singer-songwriter balances country-pop hooks with Southern roots.

Daniel Nickels takes you for a sweet joyride in his rootsy new EP Drive Us Home — showcasing today on Tinnitist.

The three-song EP represents a new era of self-possession for the Oregon singer-songwriter. “I can sum up theme of these songs in one word: change,” he says. The title track is a heartland rocker that recalls Tom Petty with its scene-setting lyrics, anthemic hooks, and laidback but impassioned vocals. The opening lines are instantly transporting:

“Summer breeze smells so lovely
And your lips taste like honey
Ander these trees, ain’t got to go nowhere
But we got all night, got just enough money.”

Drive Us Home is about being free, being in love, and following your heart,” Nickels says. “When I wrote it, I was feeling nostalgic for my youth and hungering to be free again.”

The confessional Testify is sleekly catchy with its modern country-pop hooks and a stunning display of Nickels’s expansive vocal range. It’s a relationship song written in a time of uncertainty and change. “This song is me standing on top of a mountain telling my wife I love her,” Nickels reveals.

The song Walls is an urgent call for change. It is made all the more powerful and poignant by Nickels’s emotionally direct lyrics, and his soaring falsetto. Originally, Nickels attended nursing school to help people and fuel a life in music, but found himself drifting from his initial goals. “I was becoming more of a business man than a music man, and I didn’t like it,” he says. “I knew deep down that I was not staying true to myself and my purpose. I finally realized that I needed to quit and leave my job, and my walls came down.”

Photo by Craig Allen.

In the ensuing years, Nickels would reinvent himself and emerge with a sensibility that balances pop-rock hooks with Southern roots. When it came time to find a producer for this new sound, he went straight to Dark Horse Recording Studios in Franklin, Tenn., to work with Grammy-winning producer Dave Hagen (Keb’ Mo’, Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire). “The big change here from my previous albums is that I wasn’t all in,” Nickels says. “I always knew deep down that making music was my purpose. Over the past two years, I finally decided to hold nothing back. I have become comfortable in my skin, and I now know what my true journey is.”

Nickels’s latest music invites comparison to the likes of Zac Brown and Jason Isbell. It features Hagen as producer and co-writer. Together they have achieved an artistic high-water mark. These are Nickels’s strongest songs, and the recordings showcase the broad span of his range from soulful low tones to gorgeous falsetto. The recordings also boast telepathic roots-rock interplay from from Nashville heavyweight musicians, and Nickels’s own live band, featuring drummer Tony Kilcollins and bassist Marc Tramonte.

Hallmarks of Nickels’s songwriting include broadly resonant and insightful lyrics, well-crafted pop hooks, and emotive vocals. His authentic flair for soul, blues, and Southern rock date back to his years living in Georgia and North Carolina. Previously, Nickels was the frontman of Leeward Fate, the first rock band to come out of St. Kitts in the Caribbean. They released three albums, two singles, and toured throughout the U.S.

Since 2016, Nickels has been a solo artist. He’s released three albums, two EP’s and six singles. His song Long White Robe was nominated for best video at the Carolina Music Awards. He has played over 1,200 shows — including many festival appearances, charity benefits, and marathon performances.

Listen to Drive Us Home below, and keep up with Daniel Nickels on his website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.


Photo by Craig Allen.