Photo: Courtesy of Artist

Last year, Houston native Nathan Quick released an album, “The Mile.” On it, he reminded me of part John Prine, part John Hiatt, and part Elvis Costello. Quick was easily tapping in to the singer songwriter side of his music on the release. This year, he returns with a three song EP, “City Lights,” where he sheds that singer songwriter sensation to a more rock meets classic rock emotive. In three songs, Quick does a 180 degree turn on what you thought you knew about his sound; further expanding the realm in which he exists while impressing you on who he is an artist.

 

Quick doesn’t hesitate to get things started with the Black Keys meets Flat Duo Jets sounding “City Lights.” The song departs from the softer side of things he employed on his last release. There are elements of rockabilly, blues rock, and a hint of that throwback impression. It works, as Quick’s gruff vocals rasp in and out of the track that adds a distorted guitar growl full of tone and the melody of rock’s past. He even takes it further with a hook heavy chorus and a separated solo. He keeps things more on the rock side of things when he ventures into the second song, “Just Hold On.” Quick is definitely channeling more of Bruce Springsteen tone with the way he starts slow, picks up speed, then returns to the slower side on the song. The chorus has dual vocals, and even emotes a more Rolling Stones feel with the groaning solo and falsetto background vocals. This is a definitely different and more bluesy focus to Quick’s previous efforts, and it makes you wonder where this Keith Richards side to him came from.


Things close with the slower paced and almost Ryan Adams feeling “Dusk Til’ Dawn.” It might be the acoustic timber of the opening, but Quick sheds that quickly with a more John Mayer meets Clapton type of chorus. He cuts through that with a blues harp that feels like a second set of vocals. I know that Quick likes tobacco, and maybe that’s where this impassioned and raspy vocal he’s employing is coming from. Wherever its origin, it works for the artist on these three songs with ease. Quick makes you forget his previous works while keeping you impressed with his chops as a performer. The entire EP clocks in at under fifteen minutes, and commands another listen. You can hear Quick perform “City Lights” live, when he holds his album release party this Friday at Fitzgerald’s upstairs. The show includes Color Gravity, The Caldwell, and Ruckus, and the doors are at 8:00 with tickets between $10.00 and $12.00 for the all ages show.