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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review: Spike Nicer - Mystery Time

Spike Nicer – Mystery Time
2008, Spike Nicer Records

Clarksville, Tennessee’s Spike Nicer is quite a find. Playing almost solely around his home base and in Nashville, Nicer has gained a strong following for his strong musical arrangements, vibrant story telling in song, and a quirky ability to show you the world you know in a different light. Blues, Rock, Gospel and Country all have free reign here depending on the song, and Nicer digs into each with a confidence and grace that puts the listener immediately at ease. Spike Nicer’s second sophomore album, Mystery Time, came out in 2008, and is really something you ought to hear.

Mystery Time opens with E.I.L.L.Y., where Nicer is the consummate showman. Elements of Blues, Rock and Gospel are all evident here in a song that will stay with you. Up next is Back-Up Man, a lively autobiographical song of a home wrecker played as the ultimate con man. This song will get you dancing with its classic R&B/Funk sound. The guitar and piano work here are sublime. Rain is a true highlight. Nicer finds perfect voice in a classic singer/songwriter tune with real pop implications. Nicer brings on the wry humor in Sarah, a song of melancholic obsession that’s either hilariously funny or eerily creepy depending on how you listen to it. Tangled Webs is also an interesting listen, like Bob Seger doing a Country/Gospel tune.

My favorite song on the disc is 99 Parts Dust, a musical metaphor for aging that relies on the “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” concept of death. Not nearly as morbid as it sounds; the song identifies the passing of years and of innocence with the collection of dust. It’s a powerful, poetic and beautiful musical statement. Longtime country fans will also dig The Day Chris LeDoux Died, a loving tribute to the great country singer/songwriter and rodeo man. From this solemn moment Nicer takes us on a wry remembrance of a near-miss on a train, reminding us that some moments can never be recaptured. Mystery Time closes out with Turn The Lights Off, Baby, a tongue-in-cheek treatise on middle-aged love that will have folks of a certain age nodding their heads, and the younger set swearing it will never be them (right).

Spike Nicer is the sort of artist who deserves a bigger stage than the ones he sits upon right now. He is a troubadour in the classic sense, making you think, feel and laugh with his music. You’ll become so involved in the music and stories that the end of Mystery Time will come around and you’ll wonder how it went to fast. Nicer has a voice and style that have been influenced by Johnny Cash and Tom Waits, among others, but as an artist he is his own person. Mystery Time is an outstanding listen.

Rating: 4 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Spike Nicer at or You can purchase a copy of Mystery Time at

1 comment:

Storm said...

I've had the pleasure of flying in Combat with Spike Nicer, always a professional and a real classic guy. I also enjoyed his impromptu combat concerts. Awesome artists and good war buddy.