And the Sky Caught Fire
The ten songs on “And The Sky Caught Fire” are predominantly written or co written by Nicole Wagner. One song, “Reconsider Me” is a cover tune. These songs find Nicole soul-searching. A songwriter and avid baseball fan, Nicole weaves baseball and relationships seamlessly. There are a few gems on this album you will truly enjoy whether you’re going for extra innings or you’re the designated hitter.
Knowing that any team is only as strong as its weakest player, Nicole Wagner has chosen sides with some heavy hitters in the field of music. Produced and engineered by Justin Douglas who also plays guitars, Will Sexton is the guitarist, Jan Flemming is the keyboardist, and Nicole sings and plays guitar. The rhythm section includes Grant Himmler on bass and Chris Haulser on drums. Rod Picott added vocals on “Fires of Pompeii” and Terry Klein added harmony vocals on “Dynamite”
The album begins with a nice groove with drums and slide guitar. “Winner Take All” is anything but. In a relationship when you play to win, everyone looses.
Cowritten with Terry Klein, “Dynamite”, warns that a life of hard hits it’s like a fuse waiting to blow if you hold it all in. Sometimes it’s easier to just cut and run. Again, guitar and drums contribute nicely. Catchy lyric too with, “Initiate, detonate, blow it up and walk away.”.
Also cowritten with Terry Klein, “Yellow butterfly” with its ethereal guitar evokes the end of September knowing its the end of the relationship and wishing it was spring, a time when things are new and bright. As beautiful as it is, we all know what’s gonna happen to the yellow butterfly.
On the fourth song, everyone knows the “Rules of Baseball” don’t necessarily apply to relationships but, if that’s all you know, you try to make it fit. Interesting guitar on this song containing my favorite lyrics of the album, “counting 108 stitches on a ball instead of counting a rosary” or, “the most important rule in baseball there’s no crying when you lose” and “I believe in the Holy Spirit and the magic of a hanging curveball”.
The saddest song on the album, “The Last Time” opening sad Guitar sound speaks volumes as to the reasons why we stay in relationships that aren’t working. “Being with you is like being with strangers but it’s better than being alone”.
In any relationship there a good times and bad times. “This Kind of Love” is a bright rocker, but in the end you’re just holding on to the past that really isn’t meant to last.
“Let Me Know” has a little swing to it, just like some relationships
“Fires of Pompeii” has a slow burn to it as the title suggests. Cowritten with Kristin Kirkpatrick and containing a beautiful duet with Rod Picott, it’s obvious from the beginning that you should just walk away before it gets any hotter.
Van Morrison’s “Reconsider me” is a classic. When an artist covers someone else’s music tastefully as part of your own, that’s what keeps the songs alive and this one is beautifully done.
Sparks and gasoline is another cowrite with Kristin Kirkpatrick and points to the juxtaposition of opposite attractions. Another baseball reference this time as the designated hitter is not what God intended. The song has a nice little hop to it.
Nichole Wagner is a singer songwriter based in Austin Texas. “And The Sky Caught Fire” is her first full length studio album. One of Austins most promising singer songwriters, Nichole has shown she’s ready to play in the big leagues.
– Viola Krouse
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