Excerpt from article:
Ottawa musician Drew Nelson has a knack for the sad song. A veteran of the city’s blues scene, the singer-songwriter-guitarist has a world-weary voice and an anguished guitar style that channels the torment of a hard life.
Nelson shares the pain on a terrific new album, The Other Side. His first in eight years, it’s a tasty collection of raw, soul-baring roots songs, written or co-written by Nelson, along with a pair of well-chosen cover tunes.
The album marks the end of a period of dormancy for Nelson, who was once one of the busiest musicians in town with a tour schedule that included a couple of hundred gigs a year. He got tired of being on the road, settled into home life and, for the last few years, hasn’t played much.
Enter Steve Marriner, the musical dynamo who’s getting to know his way around the industry through the success of his band, the Juno-winning blues trio, Monkeyjunk. He considers Nelson an under-recognized talent.
“I was kinda stagnating, playing once a month here and there with my band.” Nelson admits during a lunchtime interview at Irene’s Pub. He looks over at Marriner, who is also at the table. “And Steve, whom I’ve known since he was a young fella, he was encouraging me to do some recording.”
A fan of Nelson’s Muddy Waters/Elmore James-influenced guitar work, Marriner says it occurred to him while listening to Johnny Cash in the van with MonkeyJunk that Nelson also has a voice that does justice to a heartbreak song. “It’s not that Drew and Johnny’s voices are the same, but I just thought, ‘Drew could make a record like this.’…