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John and Rachel Nicholas - Here You Are

~ CD Review ~

Mar 1, 2015
Kimmy Sophia Brown

The music of John and Rachel Nicholas is all about passion. I hear it in the harmony of their voices and in the music and lyrics they write. I saw them last summer at the Swans Island Sweet Chariot Festival. The format of the festival was set up so that all the musicians supported each other at different times on stage. I noticed that John was frequently playing guitar for others, as well as singing back up along with Rachel. She has a great stage presence. I loved watching her dance moves—she puts her whole lovely self into it.

I get the sense that they see their music as a chance to serve. They communicate beauty, messages of hope, and insight into human situations. Their music carries the social conscience and rock-and-roll hearts of artists such as Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Browne.

John and Rachel Nicholas“Here You Are” is a plea to live in the moment:

Here you are, you’re a knock on the door,
Here you are, you’re crossing the floor.
Here you are, you sink in your chair,
Here you are with that faraway stare.
Here you are, you’re telling stories
about your long-ago once-upon glories,
If you could just see that you’ve come this far. Oh here you are.

“America It’s You” is a patriotic love song, recognizing the value and beauty of the United States, historic warts and all:

I’m gazing at your hills and the mountains carved long ago,
at the trail of tears that runs bitter
and the shadows black as a crow,
it′s quiet out on the prairie
and the memories shimmer like dew
oh America, America, America it’s you.

“People like Us” is a theme about people who are always pinching pennies, juggling bills, and trying to survive—a state of being that many of us can relate to.

“Everything I Need” is a song about reaching the maturity of adulthood, embodying gratitude, and putting life’s trials in perspective:

I spent my life always wanting for this, waiting for that,
trying to be everywhere but where I’m at.
Oh, but here’s my resolution, my evolution.
Going to see with new eyes that love is the prize.
Gonna stop wasting time now I realize,
I’ve got everything that I want,
This is my highest creed.
I’ve got every single thing that I want,
I’ve got everything that I need.

The Country-Rock song “Hole in the House” speaks of every parent’s ache when their child moves out:

There’s a hole in this house but I can’t let her know.

“Hold On” is the Nicholas’s version of “You’ve Got a Friend” or “Bridge Over Troubled Water”:

I know doubt calls your name when you’re seeing through fear
I wish strength had a voice that would speak in your ear
if patience were stars I’d show you the vault of night
if troubles were stones I’d lift yours with all my might.

Hold on. Be brave my friend. The ground may shake and the walls may bend.
I will hold you in my arms. If you just hold on.

In the liner notes they write:

Some things happen in their own time. Along the way we, like everyone else, have felt the unvarnished glory of life—and death. From light to dark, dark to light we make our way. We navigate as best we can.

Their voices blend beautifully, almost as if emerging from the same throat. It must be because they’ve been in love and have been making music for over thirty years. There is an earnest and idealistic soul in their songs, full of longing, with poetic lines like:

When birds fly away they take their songs.

John and Rachel are songbirds, giving of their hearts because they must. Their contribution to the music world is genuine and beautiful. And I just have to say this, they both have great hair! You can reach them on Facebook at: facebook.com/johnandrachel.nicholas.

Photo used with permission - Click for larger image

Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.

She writes the column "From the Back Porch" as well as reviews of music in her column "MusicViews". Her goal in her music reviews is to introduce music she loves to people who may not have heard that particular artist or CD. For information about how to submit a CD for review, click here.

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