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Nick Nace

Wrestling With the Mystery – 2020 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Nick Nace

The full-length debut of Canadian born and Nashville-based singer/songwriter Nick Nace is an entertaining mix of country and folk that deals with dark themes, bittersweet nostalgia and displays Nace's biting sense of humor. One of the more powerful tracks is "Fly In A Bottle" in which the singer looks back with regret as he accepts blame for his ex-wife's unhappy existence ("If I'd been a better husband, if I'd been a better man/If I'd had an ounce of shame perhaps she would make a stand"). Similarly, "Wake Up Next To You" is the tale of a man bouncing around from one unfulfilling affair to another as he misses his true love ("I've woken up too many times like this/On my lips another strangers kiss/And I'd give back every rendezvous/If tomorrow I could wake up next to you").

In the darkly humorous "Back On The Radio" an aging performer reflects on his diminished status ("I've been an old man longer than a young man/My voice sounds like two packs a day"), but manages an optimistic outlook of sorts as he ponders a career resurgence in the aftermath of his death ("The disc jockeys will all say they loved me/A big obit in the New York Times"). The folksy "White Trash Southern Belle" begins with a presumed one night stand ("I was just a shy kid from way up north/Road tripping down through Tennessee"), but morphs into a long-term relationship ("Call me a bad Yankee but her biscuits and gravy/They're heaven I'm under her spell"). Other highlights are the sweetly sentimental ballad "Grandpa's Old Guitar," reminiscent of Arlo Guthrie, and "Old Records" in which past lovers are recalled by the music they listened to ("My heart hums like a jukebox/Where their music never fades/And all of my lovers old records still play").

With tasteful production from Jon Latham, "Wrestling With The Mystery" establishes Nace as a promising singer/songwriter.