8:00PM, doors at 7:30PM
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Gary Nicholson’s mile-long list of achievements as a songwriter, producer and performer includes writing credits on hundreds of country, blues, Americana and pop songs recorded by some of the world’s most badass, no-last-name-needed legends, from B.B., Bonnie, Buddy and Delbert to Ringo, Waylon and Willie. But unless they’ve seen him in action, most people couldn’t pick the two-time Grammy winner out of a lineup.
Performing under two different names — his own, and that of “obscure bluesman” Whitey Johnson — has only fanned the air of mystery that seems to surround his career. But the simultaneous June 7 arrival of two new albums — Nicholson’s The Great Divide and Johnson’s More Days Like This — should go a long way toward connecting the dots for fans of the aforementioned legends and legions of other artists who regularly tap Nicholson’s talents. Both titles are being released by Texas label Blue Corn Music — a bit of icing on the cake for the 2011 Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.
“Having both records come out at once gives me a chance to present different directions my music has been taking lately,” Nicholson explains. “Since 2016, I haven’t been able to stop writing songs in reaction to this hurtful political climate. At the same time, I’ve been having a lot of fun playing funky, bluesy R&B as Whitey Johnson.”
“When I started performing as Whitey,” Nicholson says, “part of my intention was just to say I’m not black and I’m never gonna be able to sound like Muddy or Wolf or B.B., but I can pay homage through the songs they’ve influenced me to write.”