On the road
While I was away, you’ve undoubtedly seen that the Nelons are back on the road, and they already look pretty busy, if their website schedule is any indication. I haven’t heard the praise and worshipy album they put out with Vine Records a while back, but what I assume are some clips from that album launch from their homepage and the first tune was pleasant enough.
Still, I’m not getting all twitterpated just yet. The Nelons have been so flaky since Rex died and so stylistically listless, so clearly unable or unwilling to let go of the idea of themselves as The Nelons and yet so incapable of living up to the name that it’s hard to know what to expect.
Still, I’m as much of a sucker for a nostalgic sg comeback as the next person. The Nelons’ sound always exploited the space between sg and adjacent styles, so it ought to be theorietically easier for them to get back in the game than other groups with a more fixed stylistic identity.
They’ve been off the road for a while now, doing church work, and whatever else that means or says, it’s a great context for a young vocalist like Amber Thompson to explore and experiment vocally in a safe space, to develop without the pressure that can come with touring. And if the clips are any indications, her voice has become more textured and powerful, more controlled and less thin. Plus there’s the question of what kind of sets they’ll stage. How much of the PW stuff will they use? How much of the older classic Nelons material will they mix in? Will people show up to hear them sing their new stuff or mainly because of what they once were?
So yeah … should be interesting to see and hear what happens. Drop a note in the discussion thread if you catch them at a concert in the near future.
And then Shane Dunlap and N’Harmony are back. This group really never made it onto my radar back in the day, so I can’t speak meaningfully about them. But Dunlap seems to be part of that Garry Jones/Mercy’s Mark/SSQ 1.0 crowd of super-talented artists with commitment problems and follow-through issues (I mean, how many times are we going to hear about some recombination of talent from these groups forming a hot new group that will blow us all away, only for nothing to ever happen). So for all you N’Harmony fans who are inclined to break out the exclamantion points over this announcement (yeah, Kyle, I mean you), I wouldn’t get my hopes up too soon. If you don’t believe me, just go ask all of us Nelons fans who’ve been jilted by a favorite group’s flakiness.
Update: Whoa, there, fellas. Let’s all take some deep breaths and remind ourselves that withholding judgment about the longevity of N’Harmony 2.0 says nothing about the quality of their sound (or how good a friends you are with these guys). They may sound great. I hope they do. That just wasn’t my point. Recall: Mercy’s Mark 1.0 was a fantabulous, once-in-a-decade lineup of a quartet with talent and blend that may not have been unrivaled, but was pretty close to it. And within a few years, they were kaput. The issue is one of stick-to-itness. Let’s wait a few years and see if anything remotely resembling this recently launched lineup remains in tact and performing and their initial level of quality. Maybe they will be … in which case, I like my crow well done. But everybody jumps out the gate full of excitement and a conviction that nothing will stop them. It’s those turns in the track up ahead that can trip a person up. Since N’Harmony 1.0 dissolved, Dunlap has: done a short stint with SSQ, then left the road. Then he worked some solo dates. Then he did some work with the Trio. Then he filled in for Mercy’s Mark once it started to dissolve. Then he sorta dropped outta sight. There are many words one could use to describe this record. Stability is not one of them. Which is to say: The race isn’t always to the swift, nor the fight always to the strong, but that’s how the smart money bets.Email this Post