Gary Nicholson/Whitey Johnson
The Great Divide/More Days Like This
Blue Corn Music
Gary Nicholson and alter-ego Whitey Johnson share June 7 release date for Blue Corn Music albums ‘The Great Divide’ and ‘More Days Like This’. You know his name and you know his songs. You have milestones intertwined with his songs, he has his name on over 600 recorded songs. These are familiar songs sung by the man who penned them, even the songs never recorded till now. Be it Gary Nicholson or his alter-ego Whitey Johnson, this is a familiar voice you’ve come to trust when you wanted a friend.
So why the two albums? Gary Nicholson is a prolific songwriter, which means he pays attention to the world around him. ‘The Great Divide’ is exactly this. It is an observation of the current state of the union. Like Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Bob Dylan; Gary Nicholson is taking notes on our behaviors and reflecting them back like a black mirror. These are mostly self-penned songs, and getting to the bottom of ‘The Great Divide’ alone is heady business. Enter the fun-loving, white-man singing the black-man’s blues, Whitey Johnson. These are feel-better blues songs. We all wanna have ‘More Days Like This’.
The two albums are conceptually different. ‘The Great Divide’, as previously stated, is predominantly written by Nicholson. The exceptions are; “Soft Spot” written with Allen Shamblin, “We Are One” written with Ana Egge, and “Nineteen” written with Jeffery Steele and Tom Hambridge. There are more guest musicians on this album as well. John Jorgenson features prominently and plays just about everything. It’s what you do if you have John Jorgenson on your album. Shawn Camp, Dan Dugmore, Lynn Williams, Steve Mackey, Jim Hoke, Joe Robinson, Carmella Ramsey, Kenny Vaughan, Catherine Marks, Colin Linden, Harry Stinson, Glen Worf, Kirk “Jellyroll” Johnson, and Chris Carmichael provided the instrumentation. Vocalists include; John Cowan, Ruthie Foster, The McCrary Sisters, and Siobhan Kennedy. Gary Nicholson sings, plays guitar, and produced ‘The Great Divide’. ‘More Days Like This’ is also produced by Nicholson who, as Whitey Johnson also sings and plays guitar. The musicians include; Colin Linden, Lynn Williams, Mike Joyce, Dennis Wage, Kevin McKendree, Dina Robbins, Quentin Ware, and Delbert McClinton. Vocalists include; The McCrary Sisters, Jason Eskridge, Jimmy Hall, Colin Linden, and Perry Coleman. Co-writes on the album represent a who’s-who in the American songbook; Seth Walker, Delbert McClinton, Guy Clark, Arthur Alexander, Donnie Fritts, Tom Hambridge, and Jimmy Thackery.
Every song on these two albums is worthy of a single. As impossible as it is to choose, there are several songs that find themselves on repeat more often than not. The title song “More Days Like This” will alter your body movements into a confident swagger. “Friction” will alter your whole disposition, “Upside Of Lonely” will give you a vacation from responsibility. ‘More Days Like This’ is pure fun. It’s a much-needed release whereas ‘The Great Divide’ is social commentary. One would hope that seeing the big picture painted in full narrative color, we can heal the divide. “Trickle Down” pokes holes with a tongue-in-cheek. “We Are One” reminds us that we all want the same things. “The Great Divide” is that black mirror reflected back.
“We’re all in this together,
so I have to ask why,
if we’re all in this together,
why? Why? Why?
Why the great divide?
“Hallelujah Anyhow“ points your perception in a new direction. “Blues In Black And White” is a true account of some of our nations darkest history, some of which we find rearing its ugly head again. “Nineteen” is a brilliantly stunning song. Often covered and instantly recognizable, I can only guess it found its way onto ‘The Great Divide’ to remind us what we paid for our freedom. So whether you’re looking for ‘More Days Like This’ as Whitey Johnson has, or you kicking against ‘The Great Divide’ as Gary Nicholson, “Choose Love”. No worries about finding the right words, Gary Nicholson has done the work for you. It’s all right here in these two albums. Getcha some.
- Viola Krouse