Tag Archives: Jared James Nichols: Black Magic

Thunder Bay Arena Rocks Top 10 Music Picks for 2019!

This year I thought I would post my Best of Lists a little early. When I think back to the last 12 months of music it was the year of massive reissues of bands like R.E.M/STP/Whitesnake with 2 Reissues!!/Sloan/Def Leppard/Skid Row and the list goes on and on.


Some bands and artists put out some new cool quality stuff so hopefully, you may check out some of these acts and artists to see what I dug in the year 2019. Feel free to post your picks in the comments below!

Here we GO!

1-Tom Keifer-RISE: Well looky, looky here. Is it 1989? No way folk’s it’s 2019 and who saw this coming? Tom Keifer shakes it and doesn’t break it as he delivers a solid blast of  CinderRock over 11 tracks that fuse all the old school elements of Cinderella while cementing a future in a really cool current sound that I hope the Keiferband will continue to follow. My favorite release this year, Congrats Tom! You have no idea who the Hell I am but I dig your album.

2-Big Wreck- …but for the sun: Guitar wizard Ian Thornley is back in a big way Folk’s as he cranked up the amps and cuts loose over the 12 tracks on this album.  Ian’s singing/guitaring and writing on this album is phenomenal as well as the two other fellas who helped him out on this as well! Kudos to Dave MacMillian and Chuck Keepling. Locomotive is one unbelievable track!

3-Rival Sons- Feral Roots: Rival Sons basically took over crap rock radio in Thunder Bay with the single Do Your Worst and on this album, the band, and producer Dave Cobb stepped up and kicked down the walls on this opus. Big Loud Fuzz Guitar Rock! How about the drums on Back In The Woods!

4-Carl Dixon- Unbroken: You want a straight-ahead hard rock album with a throwback sound to the roaring ’80s with some fantastic catchy driven rock. Than Unbroken is for you! 11 songs in the Hard Rock AOR spectrum that are pure Gold! Carl’s the definition of Rock n Roll survivor!

5-Jared James Nichols-Black Magic: Jared showed up one night this past April here in Thunder Bay opening for John5 and sizzled mine and Tbone’s brains into mush! JJN is a must-see live as he nails that heavy blues power trio format to a T. This guy is that good live and Black Magic is a stellar album that features all the fine trimmings that Mr. Nichols possess. Watch for this dude in 2020!

6-Page 38-Burning The Midnight Oil: These 4 young fella’s hail from my hometown Thunder Bay and this 5 song EP kicks serious ass. Page 38 came across my radar when they opened for and kicked to the curb ‘Cranky’ Anvil back in May of this year. I quickly scooped up the EP from iTunes as you should do as well! Love the tune Mama June! Click the video below and support our local Boy’s.

‘At Mama Junes, back door liquor store
She got what you want, couldn’t ask for more
Knock three times, 20 under the door, forget what you know
At Mama Junes, back door liquor store ‘

7-Whitesnake- Flesh and Blood: An album I had zero interest in until Ladano and John Snow got into my noggin about how good it was. They were right. Coverdale wrote a batch of tunes with Reb Beach and together they slid out 14 good rock tracks especially Hey You (You Make Me Rock) Plus add the two reissues this year of Slide It In and Slip of the Tongue.  Cov has been one busy dude! All hail the old guy!

8-Sammy Hagar & The Circle- The Space Between: Speaking of an old guy. Crazy to think that Sammy is 71 and has been doing the Rock thing for 5 Decades! That’s longevity in the truest sense. Sammy  with his good pal Micheal Anthony along with Vic Johnson and a drummer whose last name is Bonham released a pretty decent rock record in 2019. Concept album none the less about Greed and Corruption. Trust Fund Baby is a great track and as well the production on this album is old school sounding. No Polish and that’s a good thing.

9-Motley Crue- The Dirt: Never been big on soundtracks but The Dirt soundtrack interested me for some reason or maybe I was bored that week it came out. Dunno but when Tricky Sixx and Tommy muster up some new songs with Bob Rock I’m onboard. 4 new songs 3 of which are originals are ok but the cover tune of Madonna? Ummm. Whatever, still though when you dump a bunch of tracks off the first two albums (Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil) the sucker in me will always bite!

10-Sean Kelly-Touch Me: All round Great Canadian Fella Sean Kelly when not playing guitar/singing/songwriting in a bunch of bands (Coney Hatch/Alan Frew/Lee Aaron to name but a few) reactivated his old band Crash Kelly and put out a doozie of a track titled Touch Me which is a Glam Rockers delight. Think Cheap Trick mashed up with The Sweet.  This is Ear Candy. I think we need a full album, Mr. Kelly!

Check back here in a couple of days for another Best OF list with a twist!

Jared James Nichols: Black Magic(2017)

As many of you already know it takes a lot for me to really dig my heels into any new rock at this point in my life!

One of those acts that has recently come along is Jared James Nichols who smacks a real guitar oriented heavy blues rock in a power trio format or as Jared says “Blues Power”.

It was Frank Loffredo who put me  in the direction of Jared’s music as Frank raved about Jared when he made his Thunder Bay debut a few months back opening for Fozzy and as Frank mentioned  that JJN stole the show that night!

Now Frank has been bringing hundreds perhaps thousands of acts to Thunder Bay for over 30 years so when he says something like that he’s not saying it as Bullshit! Put it this way. Frank even said it on social media and he doesn’t toss those kind of statements lightly! He also told me Jared is a “real chill great guy…”

At the recent John5 show here in town that Jared was opening he didn’t disappoint in backing up what Frank had said about him. Jared fused a ton of heavy blues rock fronting a power trio and kicking all kinds of ass all over the stage that night!

Even at one point Jared told the crowd ” We got T-shirts and CD’s for sale. You don’t have to buy anything even just come back and say Hey Man!”

The chill great guy comment I can also back up as I met him after his set and Jared is a great guy. Perhaps someday I can get a 10 questions or some kind of interview out of him….


So after Jared’s set which was right behind where me and Tbone were standing was the merch table. I purchased both a T-shirt and CD for $20 each which in this day and age is a steal. Jared and his band obliged and signed my disc….

So the day after the concert it was a quick drop onto the iPod the Black Magic disc via the computer.

Black Magic is a great album. Not just saying that, it seriously is! Jared fuses his own style of Blues Power and that’s what this album is.

From opening track Last Chance to the last track What Love Jared lays down some serious law on the guitar and has a great rock voice as well. Listen to that solo on the opening track posted below!

I love the fact that Jared doesn’t muck about on these songs. Only 2 of the 10 tracks are over 3 minutes long while all other tracks are under 3 minutes!

Short N Sweet and to the Point!

Must mention also that Anthony Perry (Joe’s Son) co wrote and produced this disk with Jared. I love the production on it as it’s not produced to slick and still has a little rough around the edges rawness to keep  it from sounding  over polished!

Other than the drums being played on the album by three different fella’s( Aquiles Priester/Benjamin Tilestone/Dennis Holm )and Perry himself. Jared handles of course all Guitars/Lead Vocals and Bass.( except for one track on the album. Erick Sandin has that honour on Gotta Have You by playing the four string!) I must add the extra use of Percussion and Keys at certain time’s enhances the overall sound of the disc.

These guys kept it in-house with a sound that bleeds blues and heavy rock throughout with no two songs sounding alike. Take the second track The Gun that just goes into the opposite of opener Last Chance. Very diverse sound but maintaining the common thread and when you listen to this disc you get it what Blues Power actually is…

Blues delivered with Power!

If you stumbled across my concert review of the John5/JJN’s show last week you will have read  that I compared Nichols sound to a certain act. There are other influences as well. Give the two vids a watch/listen and tell me your thoughts on it…

Thanks Frank for steering me in the direction of some Blues Power! A highly recommended Disc and if Jared hits your town by all means Go!