Nicolette & The Nobodies The Long Way

By Brian Rock

Canadian honky tonkers, Nicolette & The Nobodies eschew short cuts on their debut album, The Long Way. Coming ten years after the band’s inception, they took their time perfecting their synergy before committing it to tape. Furthermore, lead singer/songwriter Nicolette Hoang’s parents took the long trip from Vietnam to Canada to flee their war-ravaged homeland fifty years ago. That spirit of patience, persistence and powering through obstacles is reflected in Hoang’s songwriting.

The lead track, “Better Days,” introduces the band with honky tonk guitar riffs and Hoang pounding out some driving, Jerry Lee Lewis style piano. With a commanding, classic country voice she sings, “Well I’m tired of sitting around and wonderin’ when my luck will start.” Casting an envious eye at her friends’ homes, careers, and spouses; she compares their lives to hers. Addressing her situation, she sings, “Payday only comes once a month; Friday comes once a week. Can’t a gal let loose a little and still have something to keep?” She wonders how everyone else is prospering when she’s barely getting by. Even though she’s praying for better days ahead, she clearly has learned to enjoy the present moment. The exuberance of the song celebrates life – even if it’s not quite the life of her dreams. On this, and the other uptemp numbers on this album, Hoang’s voice is a manic mash up of Sierra Ferrell and Linda Gail Lewis.

The Nobodies keep the energy turned up to eleven on, “Rodeo,” “Don’t Know,” and “Don’t You Dare.” All three of which are defiant anthems of female empowerment. The latter song recalls 80’s cowpunk trailblazers, Screamin’ Sirens. It’s classic country with a rock and roll attitude.

Switching to ballads, the band slows down for the yearning, “Show Up.” Clearly influenced by Patsy Cline and Tammy Wynette, Hoang reveals her vulnerable side. Singing, “Why do I give everything to someone who ain’t even there;” she wrestles with a failing relationship. Knowing her romance is doomed, her heart still desperately clings to hope. The duet, “Losing More,” is an even more overt homage to her heroes (with an assist from one of her talented Nobodies.) The song plays like a lost George Jones and Tammy Wynette single. With plenty of fiddle and weepy pedal steel to set the mood, the pair sing, “We’re losing more love than we can make.” Absolutely classic. “Wherever You Go,” is a tender confession of unconditional love. “Ready or Not,” takes the ballad genre into a more experimental cosmic cowboy/power ballad fusion. Finishing with the title track, “The Long Way,” the band remembers the innocence, hope, and optimism of youth and young love. Inviting a lover to, “take a trip down memory lane,” Hoang wants to linger in the joyful moments of the past. Finishing with a gospel flourish, the song is as much a tribute to the music as to the memories of the past. For music lovers everywhere, those two often go hand in hand. With its modern take on classic country, “The Long Way,” by Nicolette and the Nobodies is sure to create magical, musical memories that resonate for a long time.  |  fb  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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