|Either Way - Live at Arlene's Grocery|
|Breathe - Live at Arlene's Grocery|
|Home - Live|
A few years back, when Nick Motil was wasting away again in Margaritaville, he was doing a hell of a lot more than searching for a lost shaker of salt. The acoustic singer/songwriter was having a blast during a two year residency at Jimmy Buffett's restaurant on the Strip in his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, performing tons of his original material amidst the covers during his three hour sets, five nights a week on the outdoor patio. Then he became a true road warrior, logging thousands of miles (and upwards of 150 annual gigs) these past two years as he became the country's highest booked act on the college circuit.
The multi-talented performer has a lot to build on with a huge fan base back in his native Ohio and every state from the Northern Plains (Iowa, Minnesota, Dakotas) to New England. Since hitting this circuit, Motil has also been a sensation at radio; One of These Days and Perfectly Connected from his 2005 full length disc One Of These Days were picked up by over 110 college and indie stations. Try Harder, a key song from Everything's Alright, was outselling One Of These Days (his previous bestselling track) on iTunes by only its third week of release.
It's really all about the music, says Motil "Two of my biggest influences are Paul Simon and David Gray because they value their songwriting and lyrics first. Another thing I have worked on is creating an original sound, using alternate tunings and unusual fingerings so I don't sound like every other acoustic artist out there. What I've heard the most is that my songs make people feel as though they've ˜been there, sharing these life experiences with me."
Motil, who had written five of the six tracks on Everything's Alright over the course of touring in 2007, literally wrote the title track two hours before he got on the plane to head to Toronto, where he worked with producer Bill Bell; Bell, also known as "Billy Lupo" has been Jason Mraz's touring guitar player for over five years and has helmed projects for Mraz, Tom Cochran and Canadian acoustic soul artist Justin Nozuka. Though Motil normally composes on guitar, he fleshed out "Everything's Alright" in the studio and immediately knew it would be the flagship song of this latest project. It's one of the few songs in the singer's growing catalog that is not about another person or a relationship; it's reflective of an introspective journey, a very calming, reassuring statement for both Motil and his fans.
Motil, whose discography also includes a 17-track live record/5-track DVD set called "Live From the Black Box," rarely starts out with an overriding concept, preferring instead to find the story once the musical snapshots are compiled. Everything's Alright begins with "Try Harder," which touches on a sense of loss in a relationship that could have gone the distance (but maybe not), then touches on those stomach "Butterflies," an ironic song that captures Motil's trademark songwriting vibe of cynical hope. After the comforting reminder that "Everything's Alright," the singer dubs his next song "Cliche" as a humorous self-aware dig that he knows the heartfelt song has some fluffy elements. "Either Way" lets us know that sometimes, it's okay to end a hot and heavy relationship as friends, while the closer "Home" was inspired by his brother and sister-in-law's marriage that has defied the odds and gone the distance; this track, whose original version appeared on Motil's second disc My Dreams, is a duet with Canadian recording artist Tara Maclean, a popular presence on the Lilith Fair circuit who has also worked with the band Shaye in Toronto.
"I think the coolest part of my career right now is the satisfaction I get from the little things that happen along the way to remind me that, no matter the struggle, I'm doing what I love and am supposed to do," says Motil. "My favorite thing in the world is playing a venue I've never been at before, just trying to make fifty bucks to get to the next gig, and seeing kids come out and request my songs that they've heard on the radio or from friends. When the fans show this kind of appreciation, I don't take it for granted. Sometimes I'll even stop the show and say "wow, thanks for coming. You made my day." What a day it's shaping up to be.