Jared James Nichols

Jared James Nichols
Jared James Nichols
Jared James Nichols: Marty Moffatt. Steve Cropper photo courtesy Craft Recordings/Concord Records.

Pentatonic beast and Gibson ambassador Jared James Nichols’ third album bristles with out-of-the-box soloing amidst crafty tunes where blues-rock meets grunge at the trailer park. Nichols cuts loose with testosterone-fueled vocal intensity and solos that signal the end of the world. Raw production and unmanicured bass and guitar support Nichols’ refreshing meat-and-potatoes vision. The 12 songs are bold, visceral, and an epic showcase for the beauty and power of his Les Paul.

“Down the Drain” mixes punishing riffs with psychedelia and a searing guitar solo. Alternative metal and grunge make an appearance like on “Skin ’n Bone,” but blues rises to the surface. Nichols channels Black Sabbath on the pummeling “Hallelujah”; on “Saint or Fool,” strap in as he exacts revenge on every civilian who ever asked a guitarist to turn down. Torrents of skull-crushing G-forces lay waste to all with a soulful feel and extroverted double-stop string bends.

The solo in “My Delusion” evokes memories of Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo. At the same time, on “Hard Wired,” Nichols wails right out of the gate, manhandling his Les Paul with bizarro effects like a demon during an exorcism. A powerful record.

This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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