show off his soulful sound
parents helped develop
his musical taste at early age
Helen E. McKinney
(August 2012) Nick Moss has learned his craft
well by playing with many great blues artists Jimmy Rogers,
Jimmy Dawkins, and the Legendary Blues Band, which featured Muddy Waters
band alumnus, Willie Big Eyes Smith. From those experiences
he has absorbed the energy and creativity that has molded him into a
blues icon in his own right.
Moss performs everything from
hard core blues.
Born in 1969, Moss grew up around Chicago, the great hub
of the blues movement. But it took a while for me to realize that,
he said of the importance of Chicago to blues music during an August
telephone interview. He grew up hearing about Muddy Waters and other
great Chicago blues artists, and this forced him to explore my
own backyard in terms of blues music.
Also instrumental to his career has been his parents. They nurtured
my brother and me at a young age, he said. They introduced
my brother and me to a lot of music growing up and encouraged us to
Moss credits his uncle with introducing him to what he termed more
modern stuff, such as the British Invasion bands. Moss parents
listened to a variety of music, including Big Band and R&B.
Another positive influence was AM radio. They played so many different
kinds of stuff, said Moss.
As a result of this musical upbringing, he has spent a good amount
of time playing the hard-core, traditional Chicago blues, he said.
But over the years, Moss has evolved the outcome into a more modern
sound which includes funk, soul and rock as well.
Moss will perform as the Friday, Aug. 17, headliner at the Madison Ribberfests
Blues Bash. He will take the stage at 10 p.m.
Moss is unburdened by the clichés and expectations of the
blues-rock style that often serve as an obstacle to musicians,
said music critic The Rev. Keith A. Gordon. Moss has taken to
the form like a duck to water, but on his own terms and with fresh ideas
as to the execution of the music.
I knew music would be a part of my life at an early age,
Moss said. As a small child, he distinctly remembers hearing a song
from the R&B or blues world that his mother was listening to that
sent electricity through my body.
As a sign of his true talent as a musician, Moss doesnt hear music
first; rather, he feels it. Then I hear it and thats how
I know its good.
For him, blues music has feeling and soul to it. It comes directly
from the person singing or playing it. Theyre giving back what
they know. Ive chased blues all my life.
Moss didnt waste time looking for the right recording label. He
confidently established his own label, Blue Bella Records, to produce
his artistic vision.
It was a vehicle for me to get my music out, he said. It
began spinning in the right direction, and eventually I added other
artists to my label.
Moss launched his own band, The Flip Tops, in the late 90s and
their second and third album releases received W.C. Handy award nominations.
Moss said his band is capable of performing everything from funkadelic
to hard-core traditional blues music.
With his seventh album, Live at Chans, Moss garnered
several award nominations and turned many heads. This CD, recorded at
a Rhode Island club, reflected the spontaneity of his bands live
performance and the rare opportunity to hear Moss at his best as each
member, including Moss, took turns playing different instruments throughout
Blues Revue said of Live at Chans: (Moss)
approach to this music makes him arguably the most exciting young blues
player on the scene today. So successful was this album that Moss
released a second Live at Chans: Combo Platter No. 2,
featuring Lurrie Bell.
When it comes to composing music, Moss said, I respect artists
that draw inspiration from what they know. When I write, it generally
has to do with how Im feeling; stuff that I know about first-hand.
His daughter, Sadie Mae, was the inspiration for his fourth studio album.
It was nominated in two categories for a 2006 Blues Music Award: Album
of the Year and Traditional Blues Album of the Year.
Moss said things such as my wife and daughter, past relationships,
the current state of affairs, all influence him when composing
Last year Moss released his latest CD, Here I Am. It affected
not just his fans but those in the industry as well. Fellow blues singer
and guitarist Jimmy Thackery said of it, The tunes on Here
I Am are genuine and intense.
Brian Holland wrote on BluesBlast.com that, An interesting aspect
about this album is that although it seems like a big change for Nick
Moss at first listen, it has a tendency to grow on you quickly, to the
point of sounding emphatically like another Nick Moss blues gem.
Gordon summed up this latest effort by saying, Here I Am
is a stunning, electrifying, and entertaining collection that places
Moss at the forefront of todays blues-rock scene. Exploring, and
often exploding the boundaries of the style, Moss has staked his claim
as an innovator, creating new possibilities not only for blues-rock
guitar but for the music altogether.
Back to 2012 Ribberfest