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Finally Friday Pairs Andrew Duhon and Nashville's Nick Nace

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Andrew Duhon

Mellow tempos and thoughtful storytelling are on tap this week when our video stream points its gaze in the direction of a couple of experienced, bearded troubadours. Nick Nace sings a new lament about Nashville while Andrew Duhon brings the heart-swelling songwriting that’s made him a favorite in his home town of New Orleans.

Andrew Duhon emerged around 2010, and when his 2013 album The Moorings hit the folk world, fans and critics fell all over themselves with praise. “This record is genius, not kidding” said one executive. “One of the best things I’ve heard all year,” said a writer in Los Angeles, which is a long way from the Big Easy. For my part, it was the follow up False River from 2018 that made me a fan. The ease on guitar and the silky soul vocals will remind you of Darrell Scott. The synergy of his trio evokes the southern groove of the Wood Brothers. He doesn’t try to mime the blues and R&B that inspire him but transmutes it into something personal and achievable that would appeal to anybody with ears and a heart. He’s rolling up to the release of his new opus Emerald Blue. The video for the breezy, loving title cut finds him in an idyllic western landscape, grooving gently and taking in natural beauty. This road warrior gets around.

Nick Nace is a Nashville friend and colleague of the Cafe Rooster scenesters like Brian Wright, Jon Latham and Darrin Bradbury, but he’s a native of Canada, so that’s where he vamoosed during the pandemic to be closer to his family and burrow into songwriting with few distractions. But not before he gathered the impressions of stasis and silence that led to the chilled-out rocker “There’s No Music In Music City,” which WMOT premiered in early June. That and an entire album of quarantine-inspired creativity emerges on Friday with the release of The Harder Stuff, Nace’s second LP. He came back to town and made the project in March 2021. At his website the 40-year-old artist says, “The record is really about relationships. It’s about how tricky and absurd and beautiful it is to just be a human on a day-to-day basis and how the past couple of years have really brought us, and me especially, face to face with what I call ‘the harder stuff.’”

That said, it’s darned easy to listen to. Nick gets our Finally Friday music started at noon with Duhon to follow at 12:30.

Craig Havighurst is WMOT's music news producer and host of The String, a show featuring conversations on culture, media and American music. New episodes of The String air on WMOT 89.5 in Middle Tennessee on Mondays at 8 pm, repeating Sundays at 7 am. Twitter and Instagram: @chavighurst.