He's got the heavy riffs and virtuoso blues solos. With his long, Robert Plant-style mane and his two sidekicks, Jared James Nichols, armed with his Gibson LesPaul on which he prefers to play fingerstyle without a mediator, has already won the hearts of guitarists everywhere. But the young prodigy is far from finished with music. By modernising a timeless style that has already been heard millions of times, he is eager to prove his worth.
With his denim waistcoat and motorbike jacket on, Nichols is easy to dismiss as the blues-rock he's so fond of, or as dusty hard rock. On closer inspection, however, this is not the case at all, and his ambitions cover a much wider spectrum than the box in which he is often pigeonholed. What he likes is heaviness in all its forms. From grunge to metal, and even rock with a sullen edge, he steps out of his box and explains that he wants to "break down all the walls" and transcend elements that "as an artist and guitarist are almost expected".
And he does it with mad talent and a flurry of notes that would make some of his idols, Joe Bonamassa and Jonny Lang, break out in a cold sweat. Accompanied by Dennis Holm on drums and a bassist who changes with each new album, the old-school power trio blows everything out of the water. And even though the awards are starting to pile up, they're still aiming to bring a rock'n'roll freshness to the popular music that is the blues.
In 2010, young Jared arrived in Los Angeles to make a name for himself, and his already legendary virtuosity quickly paid off, as he won the Gibson Les Paul Tribute and the Musicians Institute Most Outstanding Player Award that same year. But his debut album was not released until 2015. Old Glory & The Wild Revival follows a resounding two-month European tour! The following year, Music Radar listed him as one of the "best upcoming guitarists in the world", and in 2017 the trio opened the mainstage at Hellfest.
In 2021, already hampered by the pandemic, the singer and guitarist broke his arm. It took him sixteen months of courage, determination and conviction to get back to his best. It was a journey that also allowed him to reflect on his music and produce a third, more mature album, his "version of rock'n'roll with a bit more humanity", as he likes to describe it. And for good reason, this new eponymous opus is a nugget of blues-rock, with that indescribable hint that brings this timeless style up to the level of the incomparable artist he is.
An hour and a half set that never left me breathless. Nichols' guitar playing is impressive, but it's fair to say that his two accomplices on drums and bass also have something to say. The trio brings a breath of fresh air to blues and hard rock, and clearly doesn't rely entirely on its guitar virtuoso. Definitely a band to watch!
If the world has been waiting for a new guitar hero, it may have found one in the prodigy that is Jared James Nichols. But far from settling for that, the musician and singer wants to blaze his own trail off the beaten track. At the microphone, with his stature and his husky voice, he makes an impression and intends to revisit the blues he fell in love with, infusing it with his personality, his emotions and his humanity. And that's just as well, because we love it!
American guitarist and LesPaul loyalist, Jared James Nichols is not the latest newcomer. Active for many years, JJN (to his friends) is part of the new blues scene that is energising fans of the genre, both in Nashville and in California. More than five years have passed since his last album Black Magic (2017), so it was time for the tall, talented guitarist to offer a new long-player!