19 Apr 2017 - 7:00 PM - 12:00 AM
18 Things About Jeb Loy Nichols
Jeb Loy Nichols is neither too tall nor too short; neither too old nor too young; he is exactly as he should be.
He is rumoured to have been born in America, in Wyoming, and raised in Missouri.
“The first music I really felt was mine was southern soul. I used to listen to the radio at night and fell in love with Bobby Womack and Al Green, The Staple Singers and Joe Simon – that whole Nashville/Memphis/Muscle Shoals thing.”
“I went to bluegrass festivals with my dad and come home and listened to Nat King Cole with my mother.”
When he was fifteen he heard his first punk record: ‘God Save The Queen’ by The Sex Pistols. “That and The Ramones completely changed me.”
In 1979 he got a scholarship to go to art school in New York. “A great time. Punk was over but hip-hop was starting and I got into that in an obsessive way.”
His first recording, in 1980, was an unreleased rap song called ‘I’m A Country Boy’.
In 1981 he visited friends in London and found himself living in a squat with Adrian Sherwood, Ari Up (from the Slits), and Neneh Cherry. “Adrian put me to work immediately, moving boxes of records all across London. It was Adrian that was and is my biggest influence – in his complete disregard for genre purity.”
He spent some years travelling through Europe, living for a while in Spain.
On returning to London he had his first art exhibition.
In 1990 he formed Fellow Travellers with On-U Sound man Martin Harrison and singer Loraine Morley. Fellow Travellers, a country dub band, recorded four CDs. Rollingstone critic Robert Christagau called them “The children of Merle, Marley and Marx.”
In 1996 he recorded his first solo record. He has gone on to record 10 solo CDs. Rollingstone Magazine has called him “The high priest of country cool.”
He compiled the country soul CDs ‘Country Got Soul’.
He lives on a remote small holding in the Welsh hills.
A book of his artwork, ‘I Need You To Tell Me Something Different’, was published in 2007.
His first novel, ‘The Untogether’, was published in 2008. Two further novels were published in 2016.
His life is neither too full nor ever empty. He has collaborated with Adrian Sherwood, with Dennis Bovell, with Dan Penn, with Larry Jon Wilson; he enjoys the company of the animals that share his ten acres.
He continues to write, produce art, make music, and plant trees.
“Jeb’s a brother to me, and one of the best singer/songwriters I’ve ever met.”
Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound)
“He’s has led a life less ordinary, making fine music with a tapestry of influences.”