NISSWA — Drew Nelson, one of the best new songwriters on the U.S. folk scene, makes his Grassroots Concerts debut at 7:30 p.m. April 12 at the Live Well Night Club and Coffee Bar in Nisswa.
Nelson, a Michigan-born Navy veteran and multi-instrumentalist, writes songs as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he’s met along the way, mixing Americana and roots rock with traditional folk styles.
“I admire his down-to-earth songwriting, which portrays our world and ordinary people with such deep feeling and unflinching clarity,” Eric Peltoniemi, president of Red House Records in St. Paul, which has signed Nelson, said in a news release.
“I love that Drew can rock out as well as write sensitive ballads. He has worked hard in life and hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty. He has 100 percent credibility in the subject matter he writes about, and I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”
Drew has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridge and Edwin McCain as well as esteemed folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka. He met Gorka in 2006, performing as part of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s prestigious songwriting contest. Gorka found him backstage after his performance and told him how much his songs moved him. Since then, Nelson has shared the stage with Gorka several times, including at such big events as the Kerrville Folk Festival.
Nelson garnered further attention in 2009, when he released “Dusty Road to Beulah Land” and it topped the folk radio charts.
Nelson’s Red House debut, “Tilt-A-Whirl,” was released this year. He can also be heard on the new album, “Dark River: Songs of the Civil War Era,” along with Jon Dee Graham, Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry and new label-mate Eliza Gilkyson.
In support of his new album, Nelson showcased at the 2012 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis and is touring North America and Europe.
The final artist to perform in the spring concert season will be evocative songwriter Greg Trooper on May 3.
Admission is $10 at the door for adults and $5 for children under 12 with listening attention, when accompanied by an adult. At all shows, seating is first-come, first-served. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Grassroots Concerts are made possible in part by a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council through the Minnesota State Legislature. At each concert volunteers welcome donations of non-perishable food or cash, which they deliver to the local food shelf.