MAJOR SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT! March 27th, 2015 at the Intersection we'll be opening for Donna the Buffalo along with Big Dudee Roo! I'm so excited for my first main stage performance at the Intersection. What a great lineup. It's going to be an incredible night!
I'm super excited to announce that I'll be performing at the 16th annual WYCE Jammie Awards on Feb 13th at the Intersection. You can catch me at 7pm on the Stache Stage. Check out the incredible list of performers! Join the Facebook event here.
Official Artist Lineup LEGACY AWARDS performances by The Verve Pipe and Mustard Plug A.B. The Accidentals Alexis Billy Strings & Don Julin Brad Fritcher Channing & Quinn The Concussions Dante Cope Ghost Heart Hannah Rose Graves and Justin Wierenga Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish Josh Rose Maraj Max Lockwood May Erlewine Micah Ling The Muteflutes Nicholas James Thomasma Roosevelt Diggs Tom Hymn Valentiger Vox Vidorra
My new solo EP Long Story Short will be released at Founders on Oct. 4th. Check out the cover photo by Victor Vague. Clouds and I will be doing a short opening set and playing some songs off the new EP at the show. After that, get ready for 2 sets by the Bandwagon. We're gonna rock the house. See you there!
ArtPrize has officially begun. I've entered my song Bus Life into the competition. If I win any money, I'm going to use it towards the purchase of my first VW Bus. If you live in Grand Rapids, do me a favor and VOTE 56384
Check out the video I made to go along with it. Special thanks to the crew at Buses by the Beach for all the great videos and photos!
In an effort to gain more "likes" on Facebook Nicholas James and the Bandwagon will be giving away a copy of LIVE at Frederik Meijer Gardens on DVD each time we reach a new milestone. First goal is 800. Second goal is 900. When we get to 1000, we'll throw in a copy of our debut CD Saturday Night. Share every week to increase your chances of winning. Please click here to see the Facebook post and SHARE! Thanks!
Clouds and I have another busy weekend ahead of us, but this time we're staying pretty close to home. We'll be at Oddside Ales in Grand Haven on Friday and at the Tip Top Deluxe on Saturday with the Deep Fried Pickle Project and Bigfoot Buffalo. Also, come get your veggies and hear us at the Fulton Street Farmers Market on Saturday morning. On Sunday I'm watching football. She'll most likely make something beautiful and creative.
On Thursday, the 21st we are thrilled and honored to be the closing band for the Lowell Showboat Sizzling Summer Concert Series. The shows are free and take place right on the river, next to the showboat. Nicholas James and the Bandwagon are coming off some of our best performances ever at Hoxeyville and we're pretty excited to show the good folks in Lowell a good time. We'll play 2 sets. The show is free and there is free ice cream for the first 500 people. What?! That's awesome!
It's our great honor to open the Main Stage at Hoxeyville Music Festival this weekend. This has been a goal for Nicholas James and the Bandwagon since we became a band and a goal of mine since I first attended Hoxeyville in 2005. We also have a set on Saturday at the Mitten Stage. See you in the woods!
Day 2 of our Lakeshore mini tour. We had a great time in Traverse City last night. We stayed with our friend Ben who has an amazing house and backyard with a river running right through it walking distance from downtown. It was beautiful. Thanks Ben!
Clouds and I are in Grand Haven tonight at Oddside Ales. Then I'm gonna go visit my Mom tomorrow on my day off. :)
This weekend I got to spend my time with over 100 vintage VW microbus owners and their families at Buses by the Beach. It was incredible. The weather was perfect. The bands were rocking. The VW's were sweet. And the best part is that it's a fund raiser for the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. Thanks Buses by the Beach! See you next year. Beep beep!
Clouds and I will be making our first appearance at Odd Side Ales in Grand Haven, MI this Saturday from 9-midnight. The big lake is frozen, and people are flocking to the coast to see the monstrous ice waves and caverns. Come watch the sunset then head over to Odd Side Ales for an evening of acoustic stories and songs. They also make exceptionally good beer at Odd Side. That's a huge plus.
What do you think of the new look of the website? I redesigned it around a wonderful photograph by Angela Amante Streeter. There are plenty more of her wonderful photos for you to check out too. Just hover over the photos tab, then click on the subtitle that says Nik and Clouds.
Just click on the tab to the left that says "Music," then right click on the song to download the linked file. Email me if you have any questions and I'll send you the mp3s. email@example.com
It's a bit snowy in Grand Rapids today so I decided to sit by the window and sing some songs. Here's a beautiful and heartbreaking song by the granddaughter of the great Hank Williams. Check out Holly's version sometime too. She's got a wonderful voice.
I've been doing these Xmas shows for 6 years now. It's kind of my way of saying Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. I'm not much for gift giving, but I do throw one hell of a party! This year we're moving things a little closer to home for me and will be celebrating at the Mitten Brewing Co on Dec 21st. Come on down and enjoy free cookies and bring some of your favorite to share! We will also be having an ugly sweater contest this year. And it's a fund raiser for Kids Food Basket, so be kind. Music by Mitten owner Chris Andrus, Fauxgrass and Nicholas James and the One Horse Open Sleigh. I hope I get more than a sock full of coal this year!
Nicholas James and the Bandwagon are thrilled to be returning to the Pyramid Scheme in Grand Rapids on Dec 20th. It'll be a very special show for us as we'll be introducing a new member of the Bandwagon family - Chris Sloan is stepping behind the drum kit and we're excited about his diverse musical talents and can't wait to see what he brings to the table. Also, we'll be opening the show followed by our good friends Rootstand. I've known these guys for many years and have been bouncing around with them on the festival circuit for as long as I can remember. This is the first time we've paired up to put on a show together and I can't wait for it. Rootstand is a blast. They know how to get a crowd going and keep them dancing all night. My kinda people.
When I first met the Crane Wives, there was only three members and no name. I watched this band form before my very eyes at Founders Open Mic. They've gotten better and better over the years and I couldn't be more proud of them. I know they have the same respect for me because in honor of their history with open mic they've asked me to host a special open mic this evening before their show. So if you want to open for the Crane Wives and play a 3 song set, come on down to the brewery tonight. Sign up at 7. Music starts at 8. Tonight at Founders!
The Bandwagon is playing it's final show in 2013 at the Pyramid Scheme with out long time friends Rootstand. This will be our second appearance there and their first. I'm also doing the annual Xmas party the following day at the Mitten Brewing Co. Check out the "Shows" tab on this page for all the upcoming appearances including some dates for 2014.
Clouds and I went to Bells for the 5th Annual Masquerade Ball in Kalamazoo with the Crane Wives and the Red Sea Pedestrians. Clouds made her dress. I wore my black suit and found a new vest and mask the day of the show. Typical of us. Click on the Photos tab for more pictures of us in our Halloween outfits. How do we look?
ArtPrize, the worlds largest art competition starts today. The contest takes place in the streets, studios, abandoned buildings, restaurants, homes, and businesses of downtown Grand Rapids. Any space can be considered a gallery, as long as it's registered. ArtPrize is open to all mediums and there is even a separate category for music with separate prizes. Check out my entry, and newest recording, "Rain Song" here:
Also, Clouds has entered her 4 part Pen and Ink series "Whimsical Clouds." It's on display at Founders throughout ArtPrize. Check out her ArtPrize profile here: http://www.artprize.org/miranda-elliott/2013/whimsical-clouds
is pretty much the best thing ever. It's my favorite festival of the whole year in one of the most beautiful places I've ever experienced in my life. There is a magic that exists on the Earthwork Farm. Come share in the magic with us. The Bandwagon plays on Friday. More info at www.EarthworkHarvestGathering.com
For all you folks who will be attending the 40th anniversary of the Wheatland Music Festival, have fun this weekend and get home safe. I won't be at the festival this year. Maybe next year. You never know. Happy Wheatland!
I haven't played at the Pony in 6 months. It feels like way too long. I'm excited to be back with some new songs, some new covers and the lovely and talented Clouds on violin and vocal accompaniment. Show starts at 8pm.
My Grandfather was a member of the Elks Country Club on Leonard. He passed away a few years ago, but every time I drive past his golf course I still think of him. It's open to the public now, and they have a nice little place called Dugan's Pub inside. Clouds and I are playing there tonight. I'm looking forward to it. I miss you Grandpa.
I'll be at Farm Fest all weekend long for Moo-agical fun in the woods! Farm Fest is a musicians paradise. 5 stages. Non stop music. A huge natural amphitheater. Lighted pathways through the woods. Clouds and I will be there all weekend. We are playing 2 sets!
We had an absolute blast at Frederik Meijer Gardens last night. Thank you to everyone who came and everyone who wished us well. Thanks to all the kids dancing and blowing bubbles. Thanks to all the families for supporting such a wonderful community event. Click on the photos tab for some great shots by Anthony Nowack.
The film crew is ready. The photographer is ready. The band is ready. Are you? Bring your hula-hoop, bubble wands, and beach balls to our show at Frederik Meijer Gardens on Tuesday. Yup. We'll be filming so wear something colorful and make sure you're smiling the whole time. Shouldn't be that hard, really. We'll do our part.
BRING YOUR CAMERA! BRING YOUR KIDS! BRING YOUR BEST FRIEND!
I love Festival season. It seems like almost every weekend I'm headed to another beautiful and remote location somewhere in my beautiful home state. This weekend you'll find me in Lake Ann at Dunesville. Clouds and I will be performing the opening ceremonies and staying until the end and leading the closing ceremonies. I guess you could say this festival begins and ends with me, but that sounds pretty conceded. Really, it begins and lives in the hands of the northerly folks that call this place home. Thanks for allowing me the opportunity to lead you all in song. I have a lot of guests joining me for the closing ceremonies. Also, come see me at 4:20 on Saturday at the picking tent. I'll be there by 4:30 at the latest ;)
We couldn't be more pleased to be spending a weekend on MI's beautiful Beaver Island. The Bandwagon plays on Friday at 9;30 and on Saturday at 5:30. And we're gonna steal their faces right off their heads. More info here: http://www.bimf.net
We are so excited to be playing at Frederik Meijer Gardens on Tuesday, July 30th. The Gardens are, in my opinion, the best place to see a show in Grand Rapids. They have a phenomenal sound system and a beautiful amphitheater decorated with lush flowers and plant life, and a perfectly manicured carpet of grass for you to sit on. There's a large area up front, perfect for dancing too. And stage that will even make the full 6 piece Bandwagon look small.
In fact, I'm so excited about this show that I've hired a film crew to document the event. We're taking a mix directly from the board also so we'll have the audio. I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with it yet, but I want to have it documented. And I want you to be there. I want you in the film. So please, pretty please, with sugar on top, come to Meijer Gardens on Tuesday, July 30th. We go on at 7 and the Kari Lynch band plays after us.
I play in a cover band of all Founder employees called the FBC All-Stars. We are proud to be representing the brewery once again at this years Founders Fest. For fans of my music, this will be a delightful treat for you. I sing everything from the Beatles to Rick James to Dire Straights to Faith No More in this band. It's a step outside of my music, just to have fun with my friends from the brewery. Oh, and we're really good. Really. Find out for yourself at Founders Fest. FBC All-Stars at 5:30.
Thanks to all the staff and volunteers at Buttermilk Jamboree! The Bandwagon had a wonderful time and we're already looking forward to next year. Also, THANK YOU for visiting us on the web! Join the email list for free music.
Nicholas James and the Bandwagon perform on Friday night at the 3rd Annual Buttermilk Jamboree at Circle Pines in Delton, MI. This is a wonderful festival nestled into a nature preserve in Southwest MI. This years headliner is Rusted Root. Bandwagon at 7:40 on the main stage on Friday. Family friendly MI fun!
Rain or shine, there will be music, art, and meat on a stick all weekend long at Grand Rapids annual Festival of the Arts. I'm playing with Clouds on Friday at 4:45 on the City Stage. I'm also playing a completely different set with the Bandwagon on Sunday morning at 10:30am, also on the City Stage. How did I get 2 slots at FOTA? I don't know. But I'm gonna sing my lil heart out for ya! I hope to see some familiar faces, maybe yours.
I work part time at Founders Brewing Co. I also host the open mic there every Tuesday. I also play in a band of Founders employees called the FBC All-Stars. The band includes the head brewer, the brew captain, the head cellar man, the warehouse manager, the deli manager, and a few folk from the taproom such as myself and Molly Bouwsma, from Blue Molly. We just got back from a trip to Philadelphia to play at the world Cafe Live for Philly Beer Week. It was awesome. Thank you Founders and thank you Philly!
Who wouldn't want to spend Memorial Day weekend on Lake MI at a Volkswagen Bus Festival? This will be my 4th year at Buses by the Beach. It's awesome. Totally kid friendly. Across the street from Lake MI. Tie Dye, Ropes Course, raffle, community breakfasts and, of course, music. The Bandwagon plays on Friday at 7pm. Followed by our festival buddies Roosevelt Diggs at 9. More info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/286859414779751/ and here: www.busesbythebeach.org
The Bandwagon is excited to return to the stage this Saturday for the 6th Annual Tribute to Bob Dylan at Founders Brewing Co. This is one of our favorite gigs where we pay tribute to one of the greatest singer songwriters of all time. All Bob Dylan, all night long. This year we're also paying tribute to the Grateful Dead by celebrating the relationship between the two legendary artists. Did you know the Dead played over 30 different Bob Dylan songs? Did you know that the Dead were once the backup band for Bob Dylan? Did you know they released an album together? Come find out more at this years Bob Dylan tribute at Founders.
There are also plenty more performances throughout the night by Cameron Blake, Roosevelt Diggs, Jen Sygit with Joe VanAcker, and Hazy Past. Showtime is 9:30. $5. 21+
We're excited to be back on the east side of the mitten so soon. Crazy Wisdom is an awesome bookstore, gift shop and tea room right in the heart of downtown Treetown. Connect on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/227303457407836/
Clouds and I will be performing at One Trick Pony at the corner of Fulton and LaGrave this evening at 8pm. We have new original songs and new covers since the last time we were at the Pony. And they've updated their menu so I'm pretty excited about that too. I hope to see you there! And if you want, you can connect with us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/231064363706534/?ref=22
Clouds and I were on EightWest on Monday morning talking about upcoming gigs and house concerts. I'll be part of WYCE's spring House Concert Auction next week so if you'd like to have me in your home either bid on the auction next week or send me a message by clicking on "contact" to your left here on this page. Watch the video segment here:
I'll be playing LIVE Saturdays at the Lighthouse Coffee Co in Milan, MI for the first time this weekend. If you're in the Ann Arbor area and would like to listen to some heartwarming folk ballads before the basketball game, then come on by. Clouds will be accompanying me on violin.
For the entire month of March I am making every track from Nicholas James and the Bandwagon's debut album, Saturday Night available as a free download. Just click on the "Music" tab to the left on your screen and download away! Oh, and do me a favor - SHARE with a friend! March madness!
P.S. More free downloads available exclusively for members of my mailing list. Sign up above using the form or send me an email that says "join" in the subject. firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever wanted to hear me sing a bunch of 80's songs stripped down to just an acoustic guitar? I know. It's not for everyone, but if you're curious as to what songs I might sing, come hang out at The Rez on Sunday Night. They're having an 80's Cover Open Mic hosted by my friend JoBot. I liked the idea and agreed to sing. Details on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/events/201896756609154/
I had a wonderful time in Traverse City this weekend. And the folks at Brew were so cool. And they've invited me back. So if you're in the Traverse City area stop in and have a cup of coffee or a microbrew on July 21st. I'll be coming home from Beaver Island that weekend and will most certainly have new stories to tell, and perhaps new songs to sing. See you in the Summer!
This Friday, Feb 1st Clouds and I will be playing at Schuler Books on 28th. We have some new songs, some old favorites, a special section for the kiddos, and to top it all off, it's Clouds birthday! Here's a link to the facebook event. Join us if you can! http://www.facebook.com/events/584357981591032/?fref=ts
I'm happy to be returning to One Trick Pony this week with some new songs, some stripped down Bandwagon material and the lovely and talented Clouds joining me on violin. Showtime is 8-11. No cover and reservations are encouraged. Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/events/313556412079446/?fref=ts
After a year hiatus I'll be returning to the Hideout for the annual XXXMas party. Some folks refer to this as the FoundOut. Whatever you wanna call it, it's not your typical office party. But there will be free cookies! Bring your favorite cookies to share at the cookie table.
Featuring original and traditional, holiday and non-holiday music by:
11pm St. Nicholas James and the Ornaments
and a special appearance by Giovanni Jovanovic and Megan E Smith. Bring your camera and tell Santa Gio and Ms. Claus what you'd like to see under your tree on Christmas morning!
I'm so pleased and proud to present Heather Styka live from my living room. She and I will be trading songs back and forth for two sets of guitar and piano music. Clouds will be joining us on violin for some songs too. Guests are welcome to bring snacks to share. Suggested donation of $10 (more if you can, less if you can't.) Send me an email if you'd like to come. And please, take a moment to check out Heathers website: www.HeatherStyka.com
Here's a great video of Heather performing for a whole bunch of other songwriters. This is a song about her Grandmother, written from her Great-Grandmothers perspective. She mesmerizes the audience. I expect it will be even more amazing in my living room with my Grandmother there, and her piano as a focal point. Sounds fun, doesn't it? You should come.
Over the weekend I attended Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters in Harbor Springs, MI. It was an amazing weekend and I came away with a new song. You'll have your first chance to hear it at One Trick Pony on the 15th. Special guest Scott Cook will be joining me for this show. I think you'll like him quite a bit. www.ScottCook.net
Here's a video from the last time I went to Lamb's Retreat:
Hey folks! Clouds and I played at Shorts Brewing Co in Bellaire, MI last night. Here's a video of My Love, My Love. I might post a few more at some point. Did you know that Clouds is also the artist responsible for the cover art to Saturday Night? Enjoy!
Hey Northern MI! We love you so much we're coming back this week. Clouds and I visited a goat farm this weekend in Maple City and can tell you for sure - NOW IS THE TIME TO GO ON A COLOR TOUR!!!
So come visit us at Shorts Brewing Co this Thursday in beautiful downtown Bellaire. Enjoy the winding, hilly roads that lead there, wherever you're coming from, then have a tasty brew and enjoy some fine music as the evening settles in.
We will have cd's for sale. Clouds is the artist that painted the cover art to Saturday Night (my latest CD). We also have pint glasses and growlers for sale featuring her artwork for only $5.
This week marks the start of the 3rd annual Artprize Competition in Grand Rapids, MI. Artprize is a rich kids dream to turn the whole city into an art gallery. It was an instant success and artists from all over the world travel to Grand Rapids for their shot at the millions of dollars in prize money. This year I've entered my song Kindness of Strangers into the fold. Nicholas James and the Bandwagon will be performing at St Cecelia's Music Center on Sunday the 23rd at 3pm. You can vote for my song using the code 52842 at http://www.artprize.org/nicholas-james-thomasma/2012/kindness-of-strangers
This weekend is the Earthwork Harvest Gathering. It is held at the Earthwork Farm in Lake City, MI. This is not a festival. This is a gathering. A gathering of positive energy. A gathering of loving people. A gathering of musical magic. A gathering of a community. A send off to summer. A renewal and purification for the mind, body and soul. It's not a festival. I come home from festivals exhausted. I come home from the Harvest Gathering with enough energy to make it through the whole winter. At least it feels that way. Oh, and did I mention that there are over 70 acts on 4 stages? Free water. Free showers. Freshly harvested vegetarian food. Burgers from cows that live on the grounds. And Seth and May live there. If you don't know them, you should really take this opportunity to meet them. Nicholas James and the Bandwagon play on Saturday at 1pm on the Cedar Stage!
The Inaugural Barnstormer for Thrive (a non profit organization for refugees in west MI) is this weekend. Come out to the Peterson barn in Rockford for 2 nights of music, dance and workshops. The Bandwagon plays Saturday Night at 10:45.
Horizon Hydroponics Grand Harvest Festival is this Saturday. Pete, Paul and I will be playing at 1:30pm. Bring your extra garden produce to donate to charity. Games and prizes, food and music. It's on Leonard St at Walker Ave, right in front of the store. Westside!
Hoxeyville was outrageous! What a great festival. The Bandwagon is in full Festival swing right now. We're excited to be playing the Inaugural Barnstormer for Thrive at the Peterson barn in Rockford, MI this weekend. We will be headlining Saturday evening from 10:30-Midnight. Come out and dance, dance, dance all night long!
We've been asked to be the opening act for the Ragbirds on September 29th at the Pyramid Scheme. We've never played the Scheme before and are excited about the sound system there. Plus, our pals Roosevelt Diggs will be opening the show. The Ragbirds have been friends of ours for a long time and it's nice to be able to play music with such good folks.
I HAVE TICKETS! Please buy them from me. $10. Email me here or catch me out and about!
We're so proud to be a part of the 10 year anniversary at Hoxeyville. This years lineup is the deadest yet featuring Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alumni from the Grateful Dead on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Hoxeyville is the little big festival in the woods. They only allow 5,000 people in. Featuring music from Mickey Hart Band, 7 Walkers, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Greensky Bluegrass, Seth and May, Airborn or Aquatic, the Crane Wives, Boombox, and many, many more! Come see us on the mitten stage on Sunday afternoon too!
Yup. we're going all the way to Alaska for this festival. Alaska, MI that is. Just outside our hometown of Grand Rapids. There's very little drive time to get there and tickets are only $55 for weekend passes. The festival features over 40 bands on 2 stages and is able to hold almost 15,000 people. There will be plenty of room to wiggle and jiggle so bring your dancing shoes (or bare feet) and your hula hoops! The Bandwagon plays on Saturday afternoon. More details including maps and schedules are here: http://www.cowpiemusicfestival.com/
It's going to be another beautiful weekend in the north western region of MI. Perfect for Sleepy Bear Music Festival, formerly known as Dunegrass. The lineup and schedule can be found here: www.SleepyBearMusic.com. Nicholas James and the Bandwagon play Sunday at 3:15pm on the main stage. If you do come, make sure you snap some photos of us and we'll post them here on the website!
This Saturday is Grand Rapids biggest keg party - Founders Fest! 2 stages, 8 bands, and lots and lots of beer. Founders Fest has grown to an annual event drawing over 5000 happy beer drinkers and music lovers to the streets of downtown Grand Rapids. I sing with a group of Founders employees called the FBC Allstars which also include the head brewer, brew captain, head cellar man, warehouse manager, deli manager, taproom manager and several other staff members. We are sure to be a crowd pleaser, but I'm not telling you what songs we're singing. You'll just have to come find out for yourself. Saturday 3-11pm. FBC Allstars round 6 or so...
This Wednesday night at OpenSource (235 S Division) I'll be playing a special midweek show with the fabulous Twangtown Paramours. This Nashville based duo has loads of experience touring and performing and have a brand new record to share. Hear them live on WYCE around 2pm. Show starts at 8pm. Admission is always free at OpenSource, but we ask for donations for the musicians. Bring your favorite beverage to enjoy or to share!
Holy Moly it's Festival Season! Buttermilk Jamboree is in it's second year and we are pleased as pie to be playing at this festival in its infancy. With a lineup like this it's sure to get better and better every year. And it's pretty cheap too. And for you Grand Rapids folks there are barely any travel expenses involved. The Festival is held at Circle Pines Center in Delton, MI. I can't wait!
It was five years ago that I started the Bob Dylan Tribute at Founders. It has been a joy and a privilege to host this event year after year. Each year the show gets better and better and the lineup gets more impressive. It's hard to say which of the five years has been my favorite, but I think this year will be the best tribute yet. Follow this link to the Bandwagon Facebook page to view all of the posters over the years. You might have to "like" the Bandwagon on Facebook in order to see them, and we sure would appreciate that. Also, make sure you check out the video for scenes and songs from last years tribute. See you at Founders on Saturday!
Here is the tab for Kindness of Strangers. Watch the video at www.TheStageCouch.com for help learning the song. Please enjoy and remember to be kind...
G C G
I get by on the kindness of strangers
C G D
on the kindness of strangers I get by.
G C G
I don't know how I'd survive
C D G
without all the strangers in my life
I was born a rambling man
and I travel all over this land.
I always find someone who says hi
to someone they don't recognize.
Well I know that I'm not in control
life has its ebb and its flow
and I'm told that there's something I can't see,
that someone is looking out for me
Here in life there aint no guarantees
and things aren't always as they seem.
Don't give up. follow your dreams,
the world ain't so scary and mean
5th Annual Bob Dylan Tribute Concert at Founders Brewing Co scheduled for May 19th, 2012.
GRAND RAPIDS, MI - "I'm just a song and dance man," says Bob Dylan about his 40 year career. Poet, prophet, the greatest songwriter of all time, the voice of a generation; these are things other people say about him. For local singer songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma, he is all of those things and more. The iconic Dylan turns 71 this year. On Saturday, May 19th for the 5th year in a row Nicholas James and the Bandwagon, along with several more artists, will be paying tribute to the legendary song and dance man at Founders Brewing Co.
"I just wanted to play a show that was all Bob Dylan, all night long," says Thomasma about the tribute. "It wasn't hard to get my friends on board." His friends over the years have included Drew Nelson, The Crane Wives, Chance Jones, Creolization and many more. With over 500 songs and more than 40 albums, there is never a shortage of material. Thomasma maintains a master list to ensure that no song is repeated throughout the night. For this years tribute Nicholas James and the Bandwagon will be performing Dylans 1976 album "Desire."
"Each year the event gets better and better. Founders recently installed new lights, a new sound system and did an acoustic treatment to the building which has made a significant improvement in the sound quality there. I wanted to do something special for our 5th year. Desire is a monumental album and the Hurricane has been a crowd favorite over the years. I think it's safe to say this years tribute will be the best yet," says Thomasma.
The lineup for the 5th annual Bob Dylan Tribute is as follows:
Nicholas James and the Bandwagon performing Desire
Big Dudee Roo
Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellies
Into the West
Tom DeVries of the Blue Water Ramblers.
Founders Brewing Co. is 21 and up. Admission is $5.
I've been nominated for 5 88.1fm WYCE Jammie Awards including best Americana Album and Outstanding Male Artist. Hehe. I'll be presenting the award for best Roots Album. Come show your support on Tuesday, Feb 14th at the Intersection Lounge in downtown Grand Rapids. The show is free, all ages and they are collecting food donations for charity. You can take home a free cd and enjoy 25 acts on 2 stages. Show starts at 5:30 and goes to 11.
Make sure to stop by Founders afterword for Open Mic, hosted by yours truly. I'll be having some special guests who may be showing off their new awards!
We are so pleased and proud to announce that we have officially been booked for Sleepy Bear Music Festival (formerly known as Dunegrass) on July 27-29, 2012! We are among many MI bands on the bill and are looking forward to a weekend in the beautiful MI summer sunshine right near my favorite lake. Early bird tickets are on sale now. It'll be a blast. Get you tickets now. You can also volunteer for a partial or full refund. Hop on the Bandwagon and come on up to Sleepy Bear with us! Check out our profile page on the official Sleepy Bear website here:
Hello! We are very much enjoying our little mid winter break. I've been writing new songs and going to lots of shows, Pete spent the weekend jamming away at Nordicfest and Paul will be releasing a live CD with his band Glean Infusion this weekend at Bells, New Holland and Founders Brewing Co. More information on Glean Infusion can be found here: http://www.reverbnation.com/gleaninfusion
Last full Bandwagon show of the season! We'll be back in May, but until then, this is it. Also, the Soil and the Sun is an amazing band. Surely you'll go home happy after this show. Or stay later and enjoy Into the West. only $5. Tonight at Founders Brewing Co located at 235 Grandville Ave. in Grand Rapids, MI
I'm happy to announce that we'll be taking the next few months off. After a busy 2011, and with a busy summer schedule ahead of us, there is no time like the present to start working on new material. I've been writing some and playing the piano a lot. I'm not sure whether the piano will make its way onto the next batch of recordings or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did. Don't worry, we'll be back in May and will have new material, a bunch of Bob Dylan songs ready to go and a fresh perspective for summer festival season. . .
But, with that said, you'd better come see us on Saturday at Founders with the Soil and the Sun and Into the West. Seriously. This is going to be a great show!
This Saturday at Rocky's Bar I am pleased as pie to welcome Heather Styka and Emily White, both from Chicago. I've asked my yooper buddy Josh Rose to serenade us too. It's going to be a great night of high quality folk music. Links!:
Yep. At all shows. That means you can buy Saturday Night and get Barefoot for free. Or, you can buy a copy for yourself and give one as a gift to someone you love. We also have growlers, pint glasses and t-shirts (which also make great gifts.) And if you're in the digital realm - all downloads are only $5 from www.HopontheBandwagon.com. Happy Winter Solstice!
Thursday, Nov 10 is the third installment of Local Spins Live at One Trick Pony, hosted by John Sinkevics. I'll be there singin some tunes before Grand Rapids newest buzz band The Crane Wives takes the stage. You can read all about it in the newspaper here:
Thanks to everyone who came to the Potato Moon / Nicholas James and the Bandwagon show on Saturday night at Tip Top Deluxe. It was awesome. The house was packed. We had a blast. I'll be playing mostly solo this week. Wednesday I'll be at Mocha and Music in Hudsonville for the first time. Then on Friday I'm singing tunes solo at Schulers Books downtown. I haven't played there in over 5 years. It wasn't even Schulers then. And Saturday night is the big Free Radical event downtown. The whole Avenue of the Arts will be alive with folks strolling from space to space enjoying arts of all kinds. Check out the "shows" page for more info.
I'll be traveling down to the SW corner of the Great Lakes State this Friday to Czar's in St Joe. Trevor McSpadden and Co will be on later. I go on first. Mark Huggy Bear Lavengood will be joining me for this performance.
And on Saturday evening the Bandwagon will be playing with Potato Moon at the new Tip Top Deluxe Bar and Grill. This longtime Grand Rapids favorite has recently come out of retirement and we couldn't be more excited. We will be collaborating on a few songs too. It's going to be a really great show.
Watch in West Michigan on WOOD TV Channel 8 at 11am or online at. I'm always happy to come sing for the lovely folks at EightWest. They're so sweet to me they're and so good to the local music community. I'll post the Youtube link once they do. Or you can check out their page here: http://www.woodtv.com/subindex/eightwest
Well once again Artprize has taken over Grand Rapids, MI. For the next two and a half weeks folks of all kinds, ages and political seats will flood the streets and shops of downtown to ogle, wander and discuss. . . ART. What a great idea. Thank to Rich Devos for putting up the cash to turn my whole entire city into one gigantic art gallery.
We'll be smack dab in the middle of it on Saturday night. We play on the stage outside the B.O.B. from 10-midnight. If you're thinking about Artprize on Saturday, please come see us. We'd love to see you. And we have some new songs in the set with some serious crowd pleasers in mind. Come downtown. Come see art. Come see us.
This weekend is the Folk Alliance Region Midwest conference, also known as FARM. I'll be shaking hands (hopefully giving hugs by the end of the weekend) with a bunch of folksingers, pickers, radio djs and other industry folk about the business of folk music. There are workshops, seminars, performances and mentor sessions throughout the weekend. I'll be staying in a room with Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys (which probably means I wont sleep.) Word on the street is that Founders is providing the beer. Hmmm. Sounds like a party. . .
I'd like to extend my sincerest thank yous to Bob, Suzie, Seth and May for having me on their farm over the weekend. The Earthwork farm is a magical place and I'm glad to be a part of the gathering every year. It was nothing short of incredible. Amazing. Inspiring. Relaxing. I feel like my energy level has been restored and I'm ready to go save the world now. Thank you Earthwork. Thank you.
The schedule hasn't been announced yet, but I've been invited to play as part of a songwriters round at the 10th annual Earthworks Harvest Gathering. This is my favorite Festival of the year and I'm so honored and excited to be playing once again. Come for the whole weekend. Bring the kids. And wool socks. It gets cold in northern MI this time of year. . .
Nicholas James will be headed on a solo adventure up to Pictured Rocks in the U.P. this weekend. I'll be camping in the national forest and kayaking on Lake Superior. And hey, if you have any friends in the Marquette / Munising area, please let them know that I'll be playing at the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore on Saturday evening at 7.
Great news! A huge step for the Bandwagon. We've been added to the Hoxeyville Music Festival this weekend in the Manistee National Forest. We'll be playing on Sunday at 5pm on the Mitten Stage. How perfect is that? Shortly thereafter Mickey Hart from the Grateful Dead will be on the Main Stage. How friggin cool is THAT? Day passes and weekend camping passes are still available but may sell out. Limited to 5000 people this year. If you're gonna go, buy a ticket. Go here for more info: http://www.hoxeyville.com
We're so excited to be a part of the most moo-agical festival of the year, Farmfest! Nicholas James will play an acoustic set in the dance pavilion at 6:20 on Friday and the Bandwagon will be on the main stage on Sunday at 6pm. Come to Farmfest to meet some of the characters from Saturday Night (I know Monkeypants, Seth, May and Buck will all be there!)
We're still looking for a sponsor to help us out. You can come with us, get backstage and introduce us if you like! Email me if you're interested.
Check out this link to see the full lineup, to buy tickets or to volunteer! Come be a part of the moo-agical fun!
This Saturday is the CD release party for our new album Saturday Night, at Founders Brewing Co. Trevor McSpadden and the Peacekeepers (featuring Mark Lavengood) will close the show. I'll also have Pint Glasses, Growlers and a few T-shirts for sale.
Wow. What a tour. I traveled over 2000 miles, played in 6 states and spent two weeks in places like St. Louis, Nashville, Athens, OH, Columbus, Toledo, Louisville and more. I took a few photos, but none really turned out. I guess all i really have is memories and a lot of new friends. I wish I could say more. I could. I have lots of stories. But no time today. I hope to see you at theCD release party on Saturday Night!
Wow. What a city. I'd love to post more but I only have a few minutes before I'm off to my show in Athens, Oh at Jackie O's. For now, follow this link to listen to last nights show at Cliftons Pizza on Crescent Hill Radio here: http://www.crescenthillradio.com/dannyflanigan+1.html
I'm sitting in my friends backyard enjoying the birds chirping at watching the airplanes fly overhead. My friends live right near the St. Louis airport so it's common to see jumbo jets alongside biplanes dodging helicopters. It's fun, sure, but even my city friends have decided this is too close to the city for them. Eventually they want to own a farm with 12 sheep and 7 dogs. They've got one baby on the way and I assume they'll have a whole baseball team of kids by the time they get that farm up to speed. I'm gonna milk the goats and make cheese for them someday. . .
. . .Or maybe not. Life is funny that way. Folks that want to farm end up in big cities like St. Louis while farm kids that dream of the bright lights of Broadway get married and have tractors before they can buy smokes. It is my belief, however, that we choose our own lives and that we create the world we wish to live in. I mean, sure, I didn't create St. Louis. But I did create the path that led me here. I could just as easily have been a banker with a family at this point, or a farmer nestled next to an airport. But I'm not. I'm a traveling musician. I am what I always said I would be. I did that.
You can too. Live. Love. Laugh. Everyday.
I left Grand Rapids at about 4pm. Last stop before the express way was, of course, at a gas station. That's where things got weird. I was approached by a young, skinny beardo named Bill. Bill was from Madison Wisconsin. He was traveling to Rothbury for the Electric Forest Festival with some friends. His friends ended up getting busted with a bunch of pot, cash and other drugs as soon as they crossed the border into MI. Bill was not arrested, but two of his friends were. Poor kid never made it to the Electric Forest. He'd been wandering around Grand Rapids since Friday and was eager to go home.
Some people would holler and scream at me for picking up a complete stranger for a 3 hour car ride. In fact, my friends in Chicago told me I was nuts for picking up a hitchhiker. I, however, feel that it is my cosmic duty as a barefoot hippie to help strangers when I can. The fact of the matter is that Chicago is a lot closer to Madison, WI than Grand Rapids is. I had room in the car, so. . .
Within minutes of hitting the highway Bill asks "Where are you going?" I replied, "I'm going on tour." He responded "Cool! Does your band ever dose when you play?"
"Oh. Have you ever dosed and played music?"
"Oh. I used to take a bunch of acid. I gotta play music. It's like, the earth, you know. It's all connected. Music is like a religion to me. Cause when I take acid I read the bible, you know?"
"You read the bible on acid? Why?"
"I don't know. The last time I ate a bunch of acid I just opened up the bible and it was really speaking to me. You know, like the part where it says that we should just love each other and, like, love the world, you know. It just was really speaking to me.
"I don't read the bible." I said hoping to avoid a religious conversation for the next 3 hours.
"Oh. So do you like to eat a bunch of acid too?"
For the next three hours I watched Bill sit forward, cross his hands and then lean back in a repetitive way that made me doubt he was sober. He was also grabbing for something in the air that was invisible to me, but obviously had completely surrounded him. He would occasionally look at me and say "What?" even though I barely spoke a word to him for the rest of the drive. I felt bad for Bill. He was skinnier than a pole at a strip club and looked like he hadn't eaten all weekend. I fed him some cheese and cracker sandwiches and let him use my cell phone to call his Mom. And then, much in the same way that I acquired Bill, I left him at a gas station in Chicago. He was a lot closer to home than when I found him and I hope for his mothers sake that he made it.
Ah, the road. . .
Headed to St. Louis now.
Well, we succeeded at our Kickstarter project. We managed to meet our goal of $2100 in 21 days. Thanks to everyone who hopped on the Bandwagon. We couldn't have done it without you. I'm so blessed and overwhelmed by the support of my community. Thank you. You can still visit our Kickstarter page to watch the video, check out the updates and see what the total amount we raised was. Just go here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoponthebandwagon/hop-on-the-bandwagon
On June 1st The Bandwagon launched our Kickstarter project. Kickstarter is a website that is helping creative people make their dreams come true. We are getting very close to reaching our goal, which is $2100 in 21 days. Time is running out though. And if we don't meet or exceed our goal, we don't receive any of the pledges. Worse yet, if we don't reach the goal, we wont be able to release the album on time for the scheduled CD release party at Founders Brewing Co on July 23rd. We have until Thursday at noon to make our goal. You can help. In fact, we need you.
Here's how you can help. Go to http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hoponthebandwagon/hop-on-the-bandwagon. Watch the video. You can listen to some of the tunes there too by clicking on the "updates" tab. If you can make a financial contribution, that's great. If you can't please remember that you can still help by reposting the link on your Facebook, Reverbnation, Twitter or other social networking sites. Or tell a friend. I know that real people still have real conversations. So talk to a friend whom you think would enjoy my band. We're really good. You can tell 'em I said so.
Check out the Kickstarter page. I think you'll enjoy the video. I know I had a blast making it and building this project. It's been amazing to watch the pledges come in. I hope you'll participate. I'd love to have you on board.
Thanks for hopping on the Bandwagon. We can't do it without you!
I hope you're enjoying the new look of our page. We think it's pretty slick. Okay, so really, the big news is that the cover art for the new album, Saturday Night is done! You can see it clearly on display on our homepage. Thanks for stopping by!
We're inching closer to our goal of $2100 on our Kickstarter project. You can help by donating, or by posting the video on your page. The big news for now is that the albums mastering is done. I took a trip to Kalamazoo to Western Sound Studios to work with Ian Gorman on the mastering. Mastering is the last step in the recording process. This is where we raise and lower volume levels, add compression, and choose the running order and space between tracks. I couldn't be more pleased with the album. I can't wait for you to hear it.
Here it is folks! Kickstarter.com. A website that is truly all about making peoples dreams come true. Follow the link to our Kickstarter profile page to donate to our project. Any amount is appreciated. Seriously. The album is almost complete but we still need to pay for the artwork, mastering and manufacturing of the cds. That's where you come in. We are trying to raise $2100 in 21 days.
I've been looking into this Kickstarter.com thing. It's totally legit. Kickstarter.com is making creative projects a reality for starving artists. The website promotes creative people and helps people fund their creative projects. Anything from documentaries to autobiographies to sock puppets to CDs. One girl is even sailing around the world in a boat funded by people like you and I through Kickstarter.
The Bandwagon will be doing a Kickstarter project in June. We're gonna try to raise $2100 in 21 days to finish our new album, Saturday Night. I found this video that really sums up what Kickstarter is all about. And below that are some great Kickstarter projects that I have supported. Thank you in advance. . . :
Seth and May traveled to Africa and made an album about it. I helped!:
and here's one for a vegetarian restaurant thats still in progress:
On Thursday, May 12th The Crane Wives will be releasing their debut album, Safe Ship, Harbored. Bandwagon alum Dan Rickabus is the drummer for the Crane Wives. He is also in a band called South of Wealthy and I will be sitting in with them on harmonica later in the evening. It's gonna be a great show
Last Friday we started working on basic tracks for the new Bandwagon album. Everything went really well in the studio. I'm headed back tonight to work on some guitar tracks. This record is gonna be awesome. I'm really excited.
The Bandwagon will be headed into the recording studio in a few weeks to record our new album and we are looking for someone to design a logo for us. We even put up an ad on Craigslist: http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/crg/2308874014.html My uncle came up with the design above. It's great! I'd love to see some more! Contact me for more details
Bandwagon bass player Joe Van Acker is having another party at Jukes. I'm headed down soon. I heard Jen Sygit and Sam Corbin will be there too. Not to mention Dan Rickabus! You've gotta come to one of these sometime. . .
It's that time of year again, time to pitch in to help the best little radio station on the planet stay on the air. WYCE is completely listener sponsored and receives no government funding. This is the the only radio station in town that supports the arts and music community here in West MI. Let's support them right back. I'll be live in the studio on Friday, April 1st at 11am (no foolin'!) You can follow all the action at http://www.wyce.org
I was interviewed by John Sinkevics from the Grand Rapids Press because I have long hair. I thought it was a ridiculous thing to ask about, but as they say, any press is good press. I'm currently growing out my hair for Locks of Love and thought this was a good way to promote their organization. Locks of Love uses donated hair to make wigs for children with certain medical conditions. Check them out here : http://www.locksoflove.org
Read the full article here: http://www.mlive.com/music/index.ssf/2011/03/get_a_haircut_you_bleeping_hip.html
I'm playing tonight with 4 amazing songwriters. Jen Sygit, Sam Corbin, Dave Boutette and myself will all be on stage together for a round robin song circle. With some of the most incredible food in MI, Salt of the Earth in Fennville has become a destination for both food lovers and music lovers. I suggest you come to this show.
This Friday night I'll be playing a benefit for the ADA. The Bandwagon goes on first so get there early. Also on the bill is Drew Nelson, followed by the Weatherheads. Cover is $7 and it's for a good cause. Music starts at 9pm. I'll be swinging by WYCE at 11am to spin some tunes and talk about the show. Here's the facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192864594074532
Some of you will remember the Starving Artist Open Mic from last year. This year we've shortened the length of the contest and added a 4th place prize. The finals will take place on June 26th. All musical styles are welcome. You gotta be 21 to hang out at Z's. It's for grown folk. That's how it is. $1000 in cash prizes. 1/2 off Nachos and Microbrews for $3. Z's is located in downtown Grand Rapids directly across the street from the J.W. Mariott at 168 Campau. Every Monday. 10pm.
. . .and it fit like a glove.
Mark Lavengood and I had an excellent show at Honkytonk BBQ last night. The place is awesome. Amazing food. Great music coming out of the jukebox. We drank Old Style and whiskey. There were a lot of musicians in the crowd. We were offered advice on where else to play. We sold some CD's. We made some tips. We sang country and folk songs all night. They loved us. "Let us know when you want to come back!" is what they said. I reckon we will be back. Hopefully real soon.
Mark and I are playing at the Saugatuck Brewing Co. in Douglas, MI tomorrow from 7-11pm. Sure would make us feel good to see some familiar faces. . .
Last night I was honored by the West Michigan music community at the WYCE Jammies XII with an award for Best Album by a New Solo Artist. I am pleased as pie to share this award with Mark Lavengood. He not only plays several instruments on my album but also released an amazing CD of instrumental "newgrass" music centered around his dobro. He and I are family and much like brothers we share everything. Mark and I will be playing some shows together the first week of March. We'd love to see you!
My debut album, Barefoot, has been nominated in 7 different categories. I've been asked to host the front room so that's where you'll find me. That's also where my band will be performing at 8:35. Food and clothing donations are encouraged and wear your pajamas for a free CD. No cover charge. All ages. So much fun!
Hey look who was in the paper this morning! http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/02/no_dozing_at_the_jammies_award.html
I've got a big week ahead of me. Tomorrow morning I'll be heading downtown to perform on eightWest as part of their Valentines Day show. The shows airs locally on WOOD TV 8 at 11am. I'll be there representing WYCE and promoting the Jammie Awards which are this Tuesday. Paul Geoghan will accompany me on bass for the television performance.
Then, on Tuesday, get ready for the biggest night of music of the whole year, the 2011 WYCE Jammie Awards at the Intersection. You'll find me hosting the front room all night and The Bandwagon will be performing at 8:35. Don't miss us. It will be the most powerful 15 minute show we've ever played. Promise made. WYCE has been playing both of my records quite a bit lately. Make sure you send them some love and tell them that you appreciate what they do. www.wyce.org
And on Friday I'll be playing a rare solo acoustic show. I know a lot of people see me play solo acoustic at open mic night. This will be different. Schulers provides a different environment and atmosphere than any open mic ever could. There are more to these songs than just melody. Come to Schulers on Friday. I will be sharing what else they have to offer, where they came from and maybe who they are about. I'll also be previewing songs from my upcoming album with the Bandwagon as well as featuring songs from Lone Star in the Northern Sky.
Barefoot, my debut album, has been nominated for 7 WYCE Jammie Awards! The Jammie Awards take place on Tuesday, Feb. 15th at the Intersection. My band has been asked to perform and I've been asked to MC the front lounge. All of this is an honor and I couldn't be more pleased or proud. You can vote in the listeners choice awards until January 23rd. Here's the link: http://www.grcmc.org/?page=news&news_id=454
I've been nominated in the following categories:
*Best NEW SOLO Release
*Best MALE SOLO Release
*Best NEW ARTIST
*Best AMERICANA Album
*SONG of the YEAR - "Over My Land"
*PRODUCER of the YEAR - Greg Baxter - Barefoot (co-produced with Nik)
*And the Big Jammie - 2010 ALBUM of the YEAR
I was just asked to open for the Ragbirds this Saturday at Founders. They are an amazing band from Ann Arbor who have been on tour for the last few months and are eager to return to MI. Let's make them feel at home, okay? The show starts at 9:30 and $5 will get you in. Bring your dancing shoes!
Wow. November was a busy month. I attended Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters, created and uploaded 2 videos to YouTube while I was there, wrote 2 songs and one more after I came home. I managed to make it to northern MI three times. I played at Founders with Drew Nelson, played at Tanglefoot, in the Red Hydrant Press Studio to hundreds of new, smiling faces, played in the Traverse City area at the Lively Gardens House Concert Series and at the Bayview Grill in Frankfort. I met some amazing people from the east side of the state and as far away as Texas and got to see the legendary John Prine at the legendary State Theater in Kalamazoo. I had a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving feast with my family in Fruitport. Oh, and I also recorded a new solo album. Yes. Really.
Here it is. I'm proud to present to you Lone Star in the Northern Sky,
a collection of home recordings. This is a group of songs that came together at or around Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters. I had an amazing time in Harbor Springs and was so inspired I decided to quickly record this collection of songs. Some of them are mine, some of them are not.
The album is available for digital download here.
If you want a CD you'll have to wait a while longer. The reason for this is simple. It takes longer to make CD's than it does to upload files to the web. So there you go. The CDs will be available on Dec. 18th. . .
Dec. 18th - St. Nicholas James presents the 3rd Annual XXXMas party at The Hideout. More fun than an office Holiday party and cookies for everyone, just like at Grandmas.This year we will be doing a cookie potluck. Bake your favorites and bring 'em to share. There will be lots of cookies! Also, sit on Santa's lap, just like at the mall but waaaay less creepy! Or, waaaay more creepy. We'll see. . . Tell ol' St. Nick what you want for Christmas and see if he brings it to you. Smiles, laughs, photos and hugs encouraged. No Cover, but you gotta be 21.
9:00pm Emily Rae Lively (from Austin, TX)
9:35 NJT presents Lone Star in the Northern Sky
10:30 Jen Wilson
11:15 St. Nicholas James and the Holiday Allstars
Dec. 23rd - Nicholas James with Mark Lavengood present The Night Before The Night Before Christmas at One Trick Pony. We'll be sharing stories and songs, old and new with some holiday favorites mixed in as well. It is always a joy to play with Huggy Bear and I'm thrilled to have another opportunity to coexist and create with such a wonderful human being. Check out www.MarkLavengood.com
I'm going to try and relax a little more than normal during the winter months this year. Ordinarily I'd have a busy tour schedule of bars and restaurants on the calendar. Instead I'll only be playing a handful of shows this winter. I'm feeling very creative lately and want to spend the winter months writing and recording. I'm planning on recording another album with the band in a few months, which I consider to be the official follow up to Barefoot. Hopefully that will be available next summer. Until then I hope you enjoy Lone Star in the Northern Sky.
Hey. I did this. Check it out. www.hmtpng.com
Every Monday Open Mic at Z's. . .
Every Tuesday Open Mic at Founders. . .
And coming in January:
January 21st - Salt of the Earth (Fennville)
Grand Rapids, MI
"It had to happen," says Grand Rapids based singer songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma about his new album, Lone Star in the Northern Sky. "It just came out. I attended Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters in Harbor Springs, during the first weekend in November and came home with a whole new set of songs." Thomasma wrote 2 songs while he was there, picked up a Rolling Stones cover, and learned a couple of songs by the band VAST. He also learned a song written that weekend by Michigan born, Texas based songwriter Emily Rae Lively. "I realized after performing at Open Mic that these songs were an album, and that I should record them immediately."
"I've been wanting to record a solo acoustic album." Thomasma went on to say about his new release. "I love my band but I play solo acoustic a lot and wanted and album to show that side of what I do." He purchased a Mac earlier this year and recently installed ProTools which has enabled him to record at home. The album has a much more stripped down feeling than Barefoot, Thomasma's previous release, which featured a who's who cast of musicians including Nathan Kalish, Mark "Huggy Bear" Lavengood, Pete Weatherhead and Bruce Ling among others. "My producer has been pushing for a full band record, which we will begin working on early next year. This satisfies my need for a solo disc without sidetracking us from our plans to record the follow up to Barefoot."
Thematically Lone Star in the Northern Sky chronicles a romance that wasn't meant to be. It's not a concept album, but rather a strange coincidence of songs that happened to come together throughout the course of a weekend. "I think it's all in there. I don't really need to say much about what happened up north. It just happened. These songs are a part of that now."
After returning home from Lamb's Retreat the ambitious songwriter joined a group called Hometapers, whose sole focus is, you guessed it, home recordings. The rules are simple. Record an album at home during November and upload it onto the Hometapers website by the end of the month. It doesn't have to be original material. It doesn't have to be better than anyone else's. There is no prize. It's simply a website for people who like to record music at home. Nik saw this as the perfect way to release his new album. Hometapers provided an immediate deadline and release date. Lone Star in the Northern Sky will be available to download on Dec 1st at www.NicholasJamesThomasma.com or at www.hmtpng.com
In addition to the online release a limited number of CD's will be burned and released on Dec. 18th at the Hideout Brewing Company's 3rd annual XXXMas Show. The concert will feature a complete performance of Lone Star in the Northern Sky followed by a showcase of holiday classics performed by The Nicholas James All-Star Holiday Band. Additionally, Nicholas James will be performing at the One Trick Pony on Dec. 23rd.
For more info:
on NJT - www.NicholasJamesThomasma.com
on Hometapers- www.HMTPNG.com
on Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters - www.Springfed.org
on XXXMas at the Hideout - www.HideoutBrewing.com
on One Trick Pony - www.onetrick.biz/home.html
I'm in Harbor Springs, which is in Northern MI near the tip of the mitten, attending a retreat for songwriters. Check the video section for a new song assignment given to me by John D. Lamb. I have to write a song based on the scenario he gave me.
And coming soon, the song. . .
Most folks that know me understand that sometimes, all I really need is a short trip to northern MI to calm my nerves, relax my soul and get my creative juices flowing. I try to visit the north country as often as I can. The color is mostly gone by now up north, which means all the tourists are gone. I can hardly wait to get up there and think. In just a few short days I will be headed north to attend. . .
Nov. 4, 5, 6 and 7 - Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters. The event takes place at the Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs, which is near the tip of the mitten for those who don't know. I am excited for the drive and excited to be staying in a hotel. My responsibilities for the weekend are to write songs and nothing else. I will be receiving a song assignment on Friday and have 2 days to write a song based on the scenario the instructors give me. There are staff members available for help and critique as well as other songwriters to network with and possibly collaborate with. On Sunday I will be asked to perform my song in front of my peers and staff. I have been writing like crazy lately and cant wait to see what happens once I arrive. www.springfedarts.com
But wait! I'm getting ahead of myself. . .
Nov. 4 - Founders Brewing Co. with Drew Nelson and HIghway 2, wsg Josh Rose and Nicholas James - My band is playing over at our little home on Thursday opening up for the incredible Drew Nelson. Drews songs are songs of the people. The man is speaking and I encourage you to listen. This time around I'll be bringing Pete Weatherhead on fiddle, Greg Baxter on banjo and guitar, and Barb Weatherhead on bass. We go on first and there is no cover charge. Right after this gig I'll be headed north so make sure you give me a hug and tell me good luck. www.founderbrewing.com www.drewnelson.net
Nov. 19 - Tanglefoot Open Studio - My friend Alynn Guerra is an amazing artist. She was born in Mexico and we are lucky enough to have her living and creating right here in West MI. Alynn is a printmaker. She works with linocuts and makes her own paper. You will recognize her style immediately. She is the artist that created the cover art for Barefoot, as well as several other pieces of art hanging in my house. When I originally asked Alynn about it she could hardly contain her excitement. She asked me to give her lyrics and some demos, which she incorporated into her image. When she showed me the finished product she told me that she felt as though I was passing through something and all the darkness had been left outside the wall. I was now on the other side, by the tulips and roses, where the bicycle is and where there is a home on top of a hill waiting for me. Even the wall itself is crumbling. She nearly brought me to my knees. I'll never really be able to repay her for what she contributed to my record. Each year the Tanglefoot building hosts an open studio event where every artist that has a studio in the building opens their doors to the public to show and sell their work. We'll be playing from 8ish to whenever. The Tanglefoot building is located at 314 Straight St. on Grand Rapids lower westside. www.alynnguerra.com
I've been going to a lot of concerts lately too. Last month I saw Bob Dylan and Over the Rhine and this month I'll be attending John Prine at the State Theatre in Kalamazoo. I feel as though it is increasingly important to see these living legends. These are songwriters who have been there, done that and are able to continue. I have much to learn from them. I also installed ProTools onto my computer which will enable me to make demos at home. That should save me some time when I'm ready to go back into the studio to make another album. I've also been experimenting with iMovie and would love to share a new song with you, entitled Great Big Dream. The video is posted on my website and on my YouTube Channel. The rest of November will be spent working, writing and eating delicious meals with my family. I hope your November is spent with family and the people you love. And I hope I am in that mix somewhere. . .
Every Monday Open Mic at Z's. . .
Every Tuesday Open Mic at Founders. . .
And in December. . .
Dec. 18th - The 3rd Annual Hideout XXXMas Party
Dec. 23rd - Nicholas James with Mark "Huggy Bear" Lavengood present The Night Before The Night Before Christmas
To watch Great Big Dream follow the link below:
- The Twisted Rooster with The Weatherheads. 1600 E. Beltline. Pete and Barb Weatherhead will be my backup band at this new, mostly organic, locally oriented restaurant. Pete has been playing pedal steel, fiddle and guitar with me for a while now. He's a joy to have next to me on stage and I'm thrilled to welcome his better half to keep us in check on the bass. You may have seen her with Nobody's Darlin before or with Bill Bennett and Tom Davis in Pete and Barbs band, The Weatherheads. We'll be singing some of my new tunes, some of my old tunes, some of Pete and Barbs tunes and some tunes out of Rise Up Singing that you can sing along to. Show starts at 9pm. www.twisted-rooster.com
It's nice to see the leaves turning color and the sky so playfully dramatic. There is something special that happens this time of year. The squirrels are more active and daring than they have been all season. Suddenly the green tomatoes still hanging from the vine in my garden seem a lot more appetizing to the little woodland creatures that frolic about in my neighborhood. And I made the mistake of leaving a bag of garbage out overnight unprotected. . . Whoops. Well, at least some little furry thing got to enjoy my organic refuse. I live in a small house with a fairly big back yard that has a fire pit. It's all fenced in for privacy and the neighbors never bother me. There is an apartment complex next door and a great big woods that stretches all the way to Richmond Park, a beautiful park on the westside with basketball and tennis courts, baseball fields, a public pool (with magic mushrooms!) a duck pond, a sledding hill and lots of trails through the woods all accessible from my house. It's pretty cool. You should come over.
Friday, Oct. 15th - Lets Burn One in my Back Yard 8pm till ??? - Yup. I'm having a keg party. There will be a keg of Founders IPA and a fire that should burn into the wee hours of the morning. Please feel free to come and say hello and see where I dwell and create. Please bring chairs (seriously), instruments, a copy of Rise Up Singing, a good attitude, and a friend or a loved one. I'll have some fresh Michigan apple cider on hand too. And somebody better bring some whiskey. . . Email me for directions.
Sat. Oct 16th - Blanford Nature Centers Harvest Party - I've been going to this event off and on since I was a little kid. I love Blanford and what it is for our community. The volunteers are amazing people with so much knowledge. If you've never been to Blanford Nature Center before I suggest you come to this. It is the nature center in full glory. The Metal Shop will be open, as will the one room schoolhouse and the gift shop. You can buy maple syrup that they make right there in the sugar shack. There will be hay rides and walks on the nature trails through the forest in its full autumnal glory. Music will be provided by Jon Cooch, The Folkspinners, Badenya (percussion ensemble, 2nd prize winner of the Z's Open Mic Starving Artist Contest), B Side Growlers, The Porters (featuring Pete and Barb Weatherhead), Adam Esner and will be hosted by Gef Lamden (glorious extrordinairre). The event goes from 10 - 5 and costs $5. I play at 3. www.blanfordnaturecenter.org
Tuesday, Oct 19th - WYCE's Fall Fund Drive 10:30am - I'll be swinging by the WYCE studios to play some tunes and share the love for WYCE. They really are the greatest little radio station on the planet. They play a mix of folk, blues, jazz, world, rock, hip hop and country, and of course, they play a lot of local music, including mine. We are blessed to have such a wonderful community melting pot of music. Please help keep them on the air by donating whatever you can at www.wyce.org Every little bit counts.
You'll be happy to know that I've been a very busy boy lately and have several new tunes that I've written over the past month or two. No plans to head into the studio yet but it likely will happen this winter. Thank you for your continued support. You can't imagine how good it makes me feel to see your smiling face each and every time. . .
Every Monday Open Mic at Z's. . .
Every Tuesday Open Mic at Founders. . .
And in November. . .
Nov 4, 5 and 6 - Lambs Retreat for Songwriters
Nov 19th - Tanglefoot
Great news! I have been awarded a scholarship from the Wheatland Music Organization to attend Lambs Retreat for Songwriters in November. Wheatland is an amazing cultural organization with their main focus being the preservation of traditional arts. Each year they hold several events including a traditional arts weekend and a music festival that draws around 13,000 people.
I found out about Lambs Retreat for Songwriters from J. Oscar Bittenger, who spoke about it at the Winters Tune concert that he organizes and I played at last December. Host John D. Lamb has been running this retreat for songwriters for 12 years at the Birchwood Inn in Harbor Springs, MI. I will arrive on Thursday and be given a topic or scenario from which I have 2 days to write a song about. There are instructors to help and a staff concert on Saturday night. The event is sponsored by Blissfest Music Organization.
I've been writing songs since I was in 4th grade. The idea here is to get better. I love this. I love making music and want to get better and better all the time. I think being "forced" to write a song and "forced" to step outside my box will be very beneficial for me as a songwriter. And I'm guaranteed to come home with a new song!
check out these links:
The nights are getting cooler, the leaves will be turning soon. Our summer is drawing to a close, but autumn brings with her a whole new color scheme and tone to our lives. September is both a last call and an awakening. Food will be harvested, nights will grow longer, fires will burn and football will be played at high schools and stadiums throughout the country. And, of course, there will be lots of music. Please enjoy. . .
Sept. 10, 11 and 12 - Wheatland Music Festival - I'm not on the lineup for this festival and am excited to have at least one festival with no agenda or schedule. This means lots of camp site singing so keep your eyes peeled and your ears to the wind. I'm also hoping I'll be able to take advantage of some of the workshops that Wheatland offers and am excited to meet lots of new people. HAPPY WHEATLAND! www.wheatlandmusic.com
Sept. 14 - Shorts Brewing Co. Open Mic - I took the week off after Wheatland for a late summer vacation. I have a few days to spend at the cabin my family owns up north and am planning on heading into Bellaire to visit my favorite brewery in Northern MI for their open mic. I'm sure they'll have a lovely assortment of flavorful fall beers on tap by then and the music at Shorts is always top notch. Mmmm, I could go for a Shorts Woodmaster Ale right now. www.shortsbrewing.com
Sept. 17, 18 and 19 - Earthworks Harvest Gathering - This is it. This is the one. If you didn't make it to any festivals this year I highly recommend coming to this one. It is held on the Earthworks Farm in Lake City, MI. Seth and May live, create and work there and have invited all of us to come share their food, land and spirit. There is no other festival like this one. My band plays on Sunday morning at 10:30 on the Hill Stage. We are responsible for saying good morning to the last day of the last big outdoor festival of the year. Please join us. www.roughdraftdesigns.com/harvestgathering
Sept. 23, 24 and 25 - Prospecto - Featuring national talent such as The Presidents of the United States of America and Gza from the Wu Tang Clan, Prospecto is the largest music festival ever held in Grand Rapids. There are 3 days, 9 venues and some 90 bands playing and one $60 wristband gets you into all shows. Day passes are available for $26. My band will be playing on Saturday night, 9pm at Jukes on Leonard. This event coincides with the first weekend of Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition. www.prospectogr.com
Every Monday Open Mic at Z's. . .
Every Tuesday Open Mic at Founders. . .
And in October
1st, 2nd and 3rd - Bus Boo!
8th -Twisted Rooster
16th - Blanford Nature Centers Harvest Festival
I've been nominated for an award from 88.1 FM WYCE in Grand Rapids. Each year in February they host an awards show featuring all of the best releases of the year called the Jammies. Apparently this year they couldn't wait to get started. "Over My Land" has been nominated for best local song. Voting doesn't start until December but it is an honor to be included in such good company. View the full list here:
As some of you know I have been hosting open mic at Z's for almost 4 years now. Last night was the finals for Z's Starving Artist Contest. It is my great pleasure to announce our grand prize winner, Josh Mogck, who won $1000 to help him with his music career. Second prize of $500 was awarded to Badenya Druming Ensemble and our 3rd prize winner was Matthew Patterson, who has been a mainstay at Z's open mic for as long as I've been running it.
I would like to say thank you to all the contestants that came down and shared their talents with us. I would also like to say Thank you to Nita Pineiro for her tireless effort at keeping this whole contest organized and for being the best damn bartender in the world. Special thanks to Dean Juth (the man). The contest was his idea and the money was his too. We wouldn't have Z's if it wasn't for Dean and for that, I am grateful.
Please feel free to visit www.zsbar.com for contest rules and information. Find us on facebook and keep your eyes and ears peeled for more info about the next contest.
And come see us on Monday. I'm there every Monday night at 10pm. We'd love to see you there!
I'll be playing at the 41st annual Festival of the Arts at 6:15, Saturday, June 5th at the Outer Fringe Stage. The string band is coming down too.
Also, I'l be performing tomorrow in Holland at the Sol Lounge as part of the Spread the Music Benefit Show. Spread the Music is an organization that helps fund childrens music education. I'll be playing solo acoustic for about a half hour at 5:30.
This weekend is the 3rd annual Bob Dylan Tribute at Founders Brewing Co. Music starts at 9:30pm. Performances by Drew Nelson, Sam Kenny, Joe VanAcker, Tim Strother, Jen Sygit and Sam Corbin, the New Midwest and the Nicholas James Band. My band is playing last so plan on staying late. . .
Also, I was on the show 8 West on WOOD TV 8 this morning and sang a brand new song entitled "What would you say if you met Bob Dylan?". You can watch it right here on my website. Its on the video page.
Have a safe and fun holiday weekend!
I have been invited to play at Grand Rapids 41st annual Festival of the Arts. FOTA is the largest volunteer powered festival of its kind. It is an honor and a priveledge as a community member to be chosen to participate in this annual showcase of the broad range of talent and art that West MI has to offer.
I will be playing at the Outer Fringe Stage on Saturday evening at 6:15.
Hope to see you there!
Last nights show went incredibly well. I played to a packed house of beautiful people who showered me with love all night long. My band was primed and ready and deadly professional. It was an incredible experience. I'll not soon forget the applause at the end. Thank you all who were there and all who wished they could have been.
The CD is available now at all times. If you see me chances are I'll have a few to sell on me. I hope I see you soon!
I am proud to present to you Barefoot, my debut full length album. Please enjoy and remember, folk music is like a bottle of fine wine; It is best shared amongst good friends. Now take yer shoes off and dance!
It's finally here. I now have a permanent home for all things Nicholas James on the web. Check back regularly for updates, new music and show dates. Don't forget to sign up for my email list for monthly updates