Nathan Kalish (from the album Songs for Nobody available on Winter Wildfires Records) (by Brian Rock)
Nathan Kalish has songs for everyone on his tenth release, Songs for Nobody. With a poet’s heart and a Honky-Tonk soul, Nathan Kalish sings Country/Folk anthems for the underdog with a heavy dose of steel guitar. Part Waylon Jennings and part Gordon Lightfoot, he perfectly blends rough edged lyrics with lush musical arrangements. Like a velvet-gloved fist, his music packs a luxurious punch. “Pam & Tim” showcases Kalish’s boot scooting bona-fides from the beginning guitar and drum onslaught to open the song. He recounts the true-life story of Pam who works in a coat factory in the Midwest. ‘Pam, she works, mixing them particles. All those fumes, breathing in chemicals. For fifteen years she’s been coughing up strange colors... That’s just life, working in the USA’. Over a layer of steel guitar, punctuated by organ pulses and Fender guitar riffs, Nathan Kalish documents the struggle of people who risk their lives for their livelihood. A damned if you do, damned if you don’t story told in glorious, Honky-Tonk bravado.
“Standard Time” showcases those same Honky-Tonk chops with a softer edge as he sings a song of yearning for his lover in a different time zone. “Mighty River” adds a heaping helping of Bluegrass as Nathan sings about the freedom of sailing along life’s winding rivers from the Mississippi all the way to that final crossing of the Jordan. On “Don’t Confuse Me,” Kalish alternates balladry with uptempo Bluegrass and trades vocals with Miriam Speyer to convey the ups and downs, give and takes of relationships. The musical and lyric tension builds and finally culminates with the realization that ‘no man is an island. No woman can be her own world’.
Nathan Kalish’s most straightforward Country offering is “Delta Woman.” He somehow came across Johnny Cash’s unfinished lyrics for this song and took it upon himself to complete the song and bring it to life. The result is a touching, twangy celebration of a man’s love for a woman and another man’s love of music that spans across generations. Kalish expands his musical palette on the Gordon Lightfoot inspired ballad, “Kalimotxo”, which captures the joys of that Spanish red wine and cola concoction and that special someone to share it with.
“Independence Day,” is a more standard Folk arrangement that contemplates the downside of freedom. And Nathan Kalish absolutely unleashes on the title track. “Songs for Nobody” is a furious, fast paced Rockabilly rave up that pulls no punches. Commenting about life on the road, he sings, “bottlenecking, rubbernecking, no one can even look around. My soul and me go spread out over the whole U.S. highway... but I’m just passing by playing songs for nobody’.
Like his musical influences, Jennings, Lightfoot and Cash, Nathan Kalish combines poignant insights with punchy rhythms to sing the praises of the forgotten men and women, the blue-collar drones, the flyover country people, the nobodies. So, for all the nobodies out there struggling to get by, Songs for Nobody is for you. (by Brian Rock)
Listen and buy the music of Nathan Kalish from his website
For information, go to the Nathan Kalish website