• What: Nightfall concert featuring Great Peacock
• When: 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2; Lou Wamp & Swingshift opens at 7
• Where: Miller Plaza, 850 Market St.
• Admission: Free
• Phone: 423-265-0771
• Website: www.nightfallchattanooga.com
Lou Wamp is a local architect and resonator guitarist and fiddler who leads Swingshift, a collection of local singers and acoustic musicians whose music ranges from Western swing and Americana to jazz. For more information, visit www.LouWamp.com.
Some bands struggle for years to find a focal point for their music, something to point a finger at as the spiritual source of their art. Since he met Blount Floyd in Nashville about seven years ago, Andrew Nelson says, the heart and soul of their partnership has been as easy to identify as finding magnetic north with a compass.
"We instantly became friends," Nelson recalls. "We both instantly knew we had fun playing music together and really enjoyed it. It was easy from the beginning.
"To get to where we felt comfortable trying to pursue a career from it took years ... but [knowing] we would enjoy playing music together? That took two or three days."
Over the years, Nelson and Floyd performed together in several bands, but after the dissolution of their blues/hard-rock group, Shotgun Lover, about two years ago, they decided to try something new. They simplified their previously aggressive sound and scaled it back to concentrate on the natural harmonies and complimentary songwriting styles that are at the root of their musical chemistry.
When they founded it 18 months ago, their new group, Great Peacock, was a stylistic dogleg from their rock origins. Its new folk/country sound is atmospheric, sparse and squarely focused on highlighting the seamless blending of Nelson's and Floyd's vocals as they sing songs referencing the culture of life in the South.
Despite how dissimilar Great Peacock is from their previous work, Nelson says the new approach feels as comfortable as a well-worn leather jacket.
"I think we were ready for it," he explains. "The last band we were in ended badly, as far as just feeling disappointed, feeling like you had something that was really good that didn't take hold.
"Blount and I both wanted to do something completely different, so it didn't surprise me that we naturally started writing that kind of music."
In April, Nelson and Floyd released their first album, a self-titled, five-song EP that showcased a country-rock sound reviewers compared to artists such as The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. The album's first track, "Take Me to the Mountain," made it to the No. 17 spot on Paste Magazine's list of the Top 25 Best Songs of 2013 (So Far). Paste writer Josh Jackson likened the song to sounding "[like] Ryan Adams when he's not bored."
Friday, Nelson and Floyd will make the trek down Interstate 24 to take the stage at Miller Plaza as this week's Nightfall headliner.
As always, Nelson says, the hope is to showcase how a strong friendship can make for producing engaging music.
"This project has just been a lot of fun. We made that our goal from the get-go," he says. "As a result, we've been able to have more fun onstage, and I think that [translates to] our audiences."'
Contact staff writer Casey Phillips at email@example.com or 423-757-6205. Follow him on Twitter at @PhillipsCTFP.