Nicholas Barron in the Studios at SPACE
Tickets for this show include a download of the full concert recording.?
Nicholas Barron is an American folk music and blues guitarist based in Chicago, Illinois. Born in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Barron soon moved to New Jersey, Columbia Missouri and finally Marblehead, Massachusetts, where he mostly grew up until he moved to Oak Park Illinois to attend his senior year in high school and live with his dad. His mother was a children's librarian and now a visual artist, while his father William Barron is a well known painter.
His earliest memories are of listening to his mother's extensive collection of Blues, Jazz and Rock records. Nicholas started playing guitar at the age of 15 and was soon the highlight of his high School's annual talent show, impersonating Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.
In the summer of 1982, Nicholas attended the Berklee College of Music and it changed his life forever. He traveled all summer into the big city and discovered his "tribe" so to speak with his fellow musicians becoming best friends with fellow songwriter Steve Dawson whoi moved to Chicago in 1987 to play music with Nicholas. After completing high school, Nicholas spent a little time at the New England Conservatory of Music in the "Third Stream Program" which featured Avante Garde jazz players/teachers like Ran Blake and Jimmy Giuffre. At 19, he transferred to The University of Cincinnati to study Jazz guitar. It was there that he started sitting in with legendary Cincinnati sax player Jimmy McGarry who was a Charlie Parker friend and disciple. This is where Nicholas first got "schooled".
Not being one to fit into a mold, Nicholas headed back to Boston in 1985, and in 1986, traveled to Europe where he started "busking" in Paris, Rome and finally London where he also "squatted" with fellow international musicians and made the lifelong decision to make his living through singing and playing guitar. In January of 1987, Nicholas returned to Chicago to live with his father once again and began playing in the EL. It was there that he began to build his reputation and name-performing seven days a week for sometimes close to eight hours a day. During this period, The city of Chicago decided that they were going to ban Musicians in the EL and the street. Nicholas founded C.A.S.A. (Coalition for the advancedment of street art) to fight them, and working with the ACLU as well as his fellow buskers, made it legal to perform and to present one's art. From 2001-2005, the State street council teamed up with CASA and held an annual Chicago Street performers month of all day long performances. It was quite a site to see "CASA PRESENTS THE CHICAGO STREET PERFORMERS MONTH LONG FESTIVAL" on the Iconoclastic CHICAGO marquee!
Nicholas was discovered in the EL by a very big Commercial jingle house producer named Manny Mendelsohn who started booking him first as a jazz guitarist and then as a singer. Soon, many of the major commercial houses were hiring Nicholas as well. All the while, Nicholas was also performing 5 to 7 nights a week around town playing both his original music as well as with his Jazz group, Blues band, and mainly as a solo one man band. He started a band with Chicago guitar virtuoso Fareed Haque called Mind the Gap that headlined regularly at The Avalon where they shared a bill with The Smashing Pumpkins quite often. In 1989, a small Chicago Jazz label called Tee ni chi, teamed Nicholas with Westside hammond B3 virtuoso Waymond Davis and they recorded one very solid LP of a mix of original Jazz and Classic tunes played in the style of their heroes Jimmy Smith and George Benson. Nicholas' father, William Barron, did the drawing for the cover.
In the mid 90's, Nicholas started his most successful music venture called SWIMMER with his friend drummer Steve Gillis who went on to play with FILTER. They held a steady Thursday night residency at The Elbo Room for four years and built a huge following and reputation as the funkiest and best live band in Chicago. SWIMMER released 2 records-which were both called "The best record from Chicago" for both their respective years. They had to sell the name to Maverick records(Madonna's label) who wouldn't allow them to even say "formerly" Swimmer and over time they lost their momentum but were paid well enough to record their second CD called "Frequency gel" at Rax Trax.
In the 2000"s, Nicholas recorded a record with LA Mixer/producer Dave Way that features the Memphis Horns called "Love Soldier" that has yet to be released. In January of 2007, James Taylor introduced The Nicholas Barron Band as the launch artist for the new New York Times Emerging Artists series at Joes Pub in NYC and called him and the band's new record "Undeniable"!! Soon after that Nicholas signed with Milwaukee You tube label giant CANDYRAT records and released a Live Solo Acoustic CD called "AS I AM" IN 2007 and in 2008 'LIVE IN TRANSIENT SOUND" with his 4 piece band.
In August 2008, Nicholas began painting and is now a full time painter as much as he is a musician. He paints both on Canvas and large Wood installations with Oil Pastels, both very unorthodox, much like the rest of Nicholas' approach to life and his artistic expression. He has had 2 shows recently, one with his father. Coming soon Nicholas will launch a Paintings only website (Winter 2011-12).
He has been writing with legandary Producer Jim Tullio at his studio Butcher Boy in Evanston, Illinois. Jim asked him to record the song "Angeline" for the John Martyn tribute record that was released on August 16 2011 and includes artists like David Gray, Beck, Phil Collins, and Robert Smith of The Cure to name a few. Jim produced John Martyn for the last 20 plus years(John died in January 2009). Nicholas and Jim recently wrote a song called PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE for Sam Butler of The Blind Boys of Alabama which will be on Sam's newest solo endeavor.
Nicholas has been recording Voice overs as well as auditioning as an actor for TV shows and Commercials. He and legendary Commercial singer Cheryl Wilson are now a duo doing John Martyn songs( October 2011). Shows to follow in the next few months!
Nicholas has opened for: Al Green, BB King, Joan Armatrading, Johnny Cash, War, Average White Band, Michael Bolton, The Meters, Eleni Mendel, Tuck and Patti, Charlie Hunter, Medeski Martin and Wood, Karl Denson and Buddy Guy. Nicholas has sung on numerous national and Local TV spots, including: Comcast, Coors, Miller light, Cherry 7-Up, Mcdonalds, Applebees, Supercuts, and on and on.?