Musician Nicholas Johnson has lived in a variety of spots since he was born 36 years ago in Bowling Green, Ky. He currently lives in Milan, Italy, but he spent time in Dayton, where he recorded his newly released EP, “Shady Pines Vol. 1,” at Patrick Himes’ Reel Love Recording Studio.
Johnson recently discussed his life and music.
Dirty jobs: “The summer after graduating from Western Kentucky University, a guy I grew up with asked me to join him on a pipefitting job. He asked me on a Thursday and I was in Moriarty, N.M., on Monday to work. I had left Bowling Green, Ky. for good.”
Buffing and grinding: “I worked as a welder helper for Union 798 in New Mexico, Rawlins, Wyo., Savannah, Ga., Ashland, Ky., Champaign, Ill., Indianapolis, Ind., and Binghamton, N.Y. I’d work my butt off from 6 a.m. to 4 or 5 p.m. buffing and grinding welds all day and then I’d play bars and clubs whenever I could at night, sometimes the full 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.”
Gem City connection: “I lived in both Miamisburg and Springboro for around six years, from 2010 to 2016. It’s definitely ‘home’ to me. I’ve been fairly transient since 2006 and the Dayton area is where I lived the longest and felt the most settled.”
Playing live: “When I first moved to Dayton, I’d just completed my first album, ‘Upstate,’ and I was itching to play it out live. I put out a Craigslist ad for musicians and, luckily, the first to respond was my very good friend Max Nunery of the Repeating Arms and Old News. We played around Dayton and Cincinnati for a short amount of time and we kind of fizzled out and I continued doing solo gigs.”
Reel Love: “The recording experience was extraordinary. Patrick is a genius: plain and simple. He helped me to flesh the songs out to match the intensity of the live show. And we made it into a fun, collective experience. We brought in Brian Hoeflich for drums, Khrys Blank on backing vocals and Max on banjo and lap steel. Patrick busted out the bass, organ and lead guitar.”
European living: “We moved to Italy in May of 2016. My wife was given the opportunity to transfer to Milan, so we decided to take the plunge. We sold the house in Springboro and two vehicles and we went on our way, and took our dogs too! It’s been the most rewarding experience of both of our lives.”
Artist info: www.nicholasjohnsonmusic.com.