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Music Review - `Rope The Wind` by Nick Justice (ea) 3

Nick Justice “Rope The Wind”  (click on image to watch video)

 18 May 2021



Nick Justice has one of those voices that’s as warm and rough-hewn as a well-worn jean jacket. Influenced by the LaurelCanyon sounds of Eagles, Jackson Browne and Crosby, Stills & Nash, the East Coast transplant arrived in sunny SoCal in the late ‘80s armed only with an acoustic guitar.

At that point the Roots Rock scene was in full swing. Initially, he busked on the streets to earn his keep. Soon enough, he was making a name for himself in bands like Chords Of Fame and Guns For Hire, opening for well-known acts like INXS, Del Fuegos, The Blasters, BoDeans and X. In the mid ‘90s, he embarked on a solo career, but became disillusioned with the music biz. So he stepped away, married and began raising a family.

Almost 20 years elapsed before he returned, recording “The Cry Of The Street Prophet” and “Between A Laugh And A Tear” in quick succession. Both albums were solo efforts in name only, and featured well-known sidemen like multi-instrumentalist Greg Liesz, guitarists Richard Bredice and Bobby Cochran. Opting for a more intimate sound, his newest effort, “Rope The Wind” is pared down to just Nick, Richard Bredice and former Honk/Funky Kings multi-instrumentalist

Richard Stekol. The record kicks into gear with the “TravelingMan.” Loping guitars and barbed bass are tethered to a clip-clop gait. Out on the open road Nick insists, “I just want to live my life free, don’t have to watch my Q’s and P’s.” The 11-song set has several highlights, including the sanctified harmonies of “Down At The Fishing Hole,” the epic outlaw tale of “Billy The Kid,” and the shimmering “Rhymes And Reasons.” “Love On The Run” is a South Of The Border Charmer and “After We Say Goodbye” offers a bit of


torch and twang. Nick’s vocals land somewhere between Mark Knopfler, John Hiatt and Iowa’s Folk Rock fishing enthusiast, Greg Brown. The arrangements and instrumentation, which is stripped-down to guitars, bass and drums, occasionally augmented by harmonica, slide guitar, banjo, organ and mandolin, are equal parts gritty and bucolic.

Music Reviewer - Eleni P. AustinEleni P. Austin - I was born into a large, loud Greek family and spent my formative years in the Los Angeles enclaves of Laurel Canyon and Los Feliz. My mother moved us to the Palm Springs area just in time for puberty and Disco.  I have spent over 40 years working in record stores, starting back in High School.

I wrote music reviews for the Desert Sun from 1983 to 1988. I began doing the same for the Coachella Valley Weekly in 2012.

I live in Palm Springs with my wife and our amazing dog, Denver. 

To Read All of Eleni P.'s Reviews, Click Here



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