Hello friends,

So much has happened this past month…I saw David Byrne nearly tear down Bass Concert Hall (and subsequently I tried to learn a bunch of Talking Heads tunes); I ate apple pie, apple fritters, and apple crisp in Connecticut at the Glastonbury Apple Harvest Festival (I also played some songs); and I was once again the only one dressed up at a Halloween show…AND I’m still trying to get the dang pink hairspray out of my hair.

This time last year, I was editing down songs for And the Sky Caught Fire, realizing that I needed one more to round it out. I was getting ready to head to Nashville, making all sorts of production notes in multiple shared Google Docs with Justin Douglas, and wondering how it was all going to come together.

But it did. I wrote one more song on that Nashville trip, and it ended up being a keeper. All of the notes and ideas came together, dates were scheduled, and suddenly, we had a record. And that record has been the stepping stone to all kinds of things. For example, tonight, I’m playing in Houston at the legendary Anderson Fair. This is a venue that’s been on my list for a very, very long time – ever since I heard about it in a Nanci Griffith song.

I’m so incredibly grateful that somehow I get to make music. And that that music finds ears willing to listen. As the year starts winding down, I’ve only got a few more scheduled shows, but I’ll be back at the learning and writing and creating of more music. I can’t wait to share some new stuff with you.

PS — If you want to get these monthly updates in your inbox when they’re fresh and toasty AND include a baby animal photo, sign up for the email list!

Terry Klein and I sat down in his writing room one sunny October afternoon. Here in Austin, October is still basically summer though the days are shorter and slightly less overbearingly hot. It was not long after Tom Petty had died, and we were both in a bit of shock.  We had every intention of writing a song but we ended up spending the first hour or so just talking about Tom and the impermanence of life but also how creating art, which by definition is fleeting but also lives on. We got to a very deep and solemn moment in the conversation – Terry declared, “let’s write our song!” and began playing a riff. About 45-minutes later we both knew we had something special.

Check out the world premiere of the song here:
Premiere | Nichole Wagner – ‘Yellow Butterfly’ via ForFolksSake.com

Hi Friends,

May was another complete whirlwind of a month (surprise!) — between a week in Nashville, a short run of dates with the talented Ben De La Cour and other assorted friends, a trip to Ohio for the Nowhere Else festival, and a weekend in Kerrville, suddenly it’s June and I’m late with this newsletter.

Instead of focusing on what happened in May (I can’t remember details anyway, it’s all a blur), I’d like to tell you a little story. Some of you may know this, but I used to run a music blog, Uncommon Music. It started as a place for me to keep my own musings about the shows I’d seen, but it quickly morphed into a fledgling publication with album and concert reviews, the occasional editorial, and artist interviews. I look back on it now with some bit of amazement and wonder – in my mind I was living my own tiny version of Almost Famous – but also with some embarrassment-especially now having been on the receiving end of interview questions!

A few of these interviews stick out in my mind as ones where I had been completely unprepared to speak with a hero. The questions I had written to interview Nanci Griffith for The Loving Kind record were a strange combination of overly specific and incredibly broad. I stumbled over the words as I got more and more nervous: The interview was falling apart, and I didn’t know quite how to save it and create that special trust that has to happen for an interview to feel easy and open. It was all over in a matter of minutes, and I can only imagine what it must have been like to be on the other end of the phone. Looking back, I can only laugh and offer my whole-hearted apology to Nanci for my very green journalistic skills (I owed one to Guy Clark too, but that’s a story for another day).

At any rate, a few months back I was looking thorough the list of songs I love to cover and realized that they skewed heavily towards songs I learned from Nanci’s records: “Love at the Five and Dime,” “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness,” “Listen to the Radio”…the list goes on and on. I started talking to other folks and it turns out, lots of people feel the same way that I do about her music. So we cooked up a tribute show. Through the grapevine, I was able to ask Nanci where she’d like any money raised by the show to be donated, so we’re donating it to Austin Habitat for Humanity. The line-up for this show is stellar. You can get tickets here.

And the Sky Caught Fire
CD Release Show
The Townsend – July 14

This. Is. It. We’re a tiny bit over a month away from the release of And the Sky Caught Fire. I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around this. I am just so incredibly grateful for all of the extraordinarily generous people who made this possible. I’ve got a mess of radio shows and other fun stuff booked, but the release show is a really big deal – we’re going to have as much of the studio band as possible on stage playing this record start to finish for you, plus some other surprises.

Also, because it’s so close to my birthday, we’ll be combining that party with this party for an extra-special event. Don’t miss it. Tickets here.

Hi Friends,

April ended up being a bit of a whirlwind between opening for my friends Steve Seskin & Allen Shamblin and Ben de la Cour, a residency down in the cafe at Hotel Van Zandt, and joining a dozen other songwriters in paying tribute to the music of Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings. May is shaping up to be even crazier. I’ve got gigs all over the place, a BAND residency at Geraldine’s, and Nashville friends, I’m coming to your city soon. Let’s hang.

I’m also releasing a single from the record on May 18th.  You can pre-save it to your Spotify and get it as soon as it comes out. In this new age of music, it would really help if you spread this link around.  The full record is scheduled for July 13 (that’s also a pre-save link), and  I’m cooking up a big ole party to go along with it.  Stay tuned.

Full show list below and of course, your monthly cute baby animal.

Upcoming Shows

May 2 – Cafe 605 @ Hotel Van Zandt
May 2 – Geraldine’s @ Hotel Van Zandt
May 9 – Geraldine’s @ Hotel Van Zandt
May 13 – The Local in NASHVILLE
w/ Ben De La Cour, Heather Styka, Chris Watts & Benjamin Jason Douglas
May 16 – Geraldine’s @ Hotel Van Zandt
May 19 – Texas Great Pyrenees Rescue @ Camp Mabry Park
May 20 – NeWorlDeli
w/ Terry Klein, Ben De La Cour, Winona Wilde
May 23 – Townsend
w/ Ben De La Cour & Jaimee Harris
May 24 – Uptown Art House in Marble Falls
w/ Ben De La Cour & Nick Nace
May 25 – Old Quarter Cafe Galveston
w/ Ben De La Cour & Rachel Laven
as always, more info at nicholewagnermusic.com

Shows with Friends

You’ll notice the above list of shows has a LOT of shows with a variety of artists. I’m so lucky to have such talented friends willing to share their songs and stages. I met them at the legendary “folk-hangs” of Folk Alliances, Kerrville, and Open Mic. For your convenience here’s a playlist with all of their records.

Ben de la Cour 
His new record The High Cost of Living Strange is dark, the characters full of flaws, and it’s got a mean and twisted streak that will make you listen again. One show turned into many almost magically, and I can’t wait to hear his songs every night for almost a week. He also understands that pancakes are anytime food and that breakfast is best eaten after dark.

Heather Styka
Sings with such sweet conviction it nearly makes me cry. I hardly ever cry (I swear that time involving Judy Collins was a fluke) so that in-and-of-itself is a feat. Check out her recent record The Bittersweet Tapes.

Winona Wilde
I’m gonna be honest, Winona is a friend I haven’t made yet, but I have heard her sing.  And DAYUM – you should too.  I’m going to spend that entire show picking my jaw up off the floor.  Her record You Lose Some, You Lose Some has this song called “Pop & Chips for the Apocalypse” that you simply need to hear.

Terry Klein
Y’all know I love Terry Klein. Not only do we have a not-so-secret handshake with a move for every song we’ve written together, he’s super, super talented and he’s working on a new record to follow up Great Northern. We collaborate regularly, and sometimes I wonder what the application for honorary-Klein-family-membership looks like. Is that weird?

Jaimee Harris
Oh man, Jaimee’s a force-of-freaking nature.  Her record Red Rescue isn’t out yet, but you’re going to want to get it. And a copy for everyone you know. And all the people you don’t know yet. Seriously. Go see her play. Just DO it.

Nick Nace
I met Nick on-stage at the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival.  He’s a solid dude (he’s Canadian!) and a great hang. According to his bio, his father made his first guitar out of an old pine tree that had been struck by lightning. I don’t even care if that’s true, and you can listen to his record, Candiana Americana.

Rachel Laven
Rachel is like a ray of sunshine after a week of rain. Seriously, her band is called “Sweet ‘Shine & Honey” (yes, I know that’s not referencing actual sunshine but whatever). Genuine and honest. And we’ve had multiple conversations about boots, which basically means we’re besties.  Her album, Love & Luccheses is beautiful.

As always, if you have a venue idea, or you’d like to have me come play your event, house-concert, or otherwise, send me an email! I’d love to talk about it.

If you find yourself in Austin on any given Sunday morning, consider the (non-secular) Gospel Brunch with the Purgatory Players (a rotating, all-star cast including Jon Dee Graham, Jeff Plankenhorn, Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Jon Greene (on drums), and Seela). Their two-hour set benefits the Central Texas Food Bank and frequently includes guests, plucked from the audience.

Next week is the beloved Gospel Turkey brunch, and will be jam-packed with a wide assortment of artists. Highly recommended.

If you’re on the email list, you already know about this but I’m making a new record for 2018!
I’ve already been in pre-production for awhile but now it’s time to start sharing bits and pieces of it with you. If you want to be “in-the-know,” check out my Patreon page where you can become a supporter and get new songs and other goodies all at once!