Nick Autry: Cause & the Cure

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Nick Autry: Cause & the Cure


    It’s common and cliche to think it’s hard to stay true to yourself in Nashville and in the music industry as a whole. Maybe that’s true for any field where you find success and dig in. However, Nick Autry’s music is as real and true as it’s ever been, and his fresh release, Cause and the Cure, is a testament to his talent and drive as a genuine artist.


His attitude about performing is such a testament, too. I was lucky to hear the new songs on a Friday afternoon this past summer at an outdoor event downtown. Unfortunately, Autry was scheduled to go on during rush hour and the sky showed all indications of imminent downpour. Adding to the confusion, folks from a Bible convention (yes, a Bible convention) milled in and out, looking at the stage, very puzzled. By the time Autry and the band were onstage, a group of children had settled by the stage and were alternately dancing and coloring. One woman was dancing with her dog.

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Most performers would be dismayed (or worse) to show up and find a crowd with more photographers than onlookers when told there would be thousands of folks present. He laughed it off, and between songs told the audience, “I can hear my voice bouncing off the Capitol Building.”

He didn’t phone in his performance, either. Anyone shown footage of his performance without an idea of who was there would be convinced he was playing for a sold-out crowd. The fact that he performs this way for the meager crowd proves he loves what he’s doing.

But it hasn’t always been that way. At times he’s felt the pressure to put out music that wasn’t his style. He said, “I decided to come out and do stuff that was me and only me.”

Yet Autry does work a lot with more mainstream artists on the engineering side of music, and enjoys that as well. “You gotta eat,” he joked, “but there are really great folks in mainstream. They do their thing. Some of those artists are truly entertainers, and engineering and producing is just a different part of music. A lot of that music isn’t for me, but I can work with it. “ Autry has certainly worked with some all-stars, both behind the scenes on their albums, and he gathered an impressive group for the album (Audley Freed, Jon Graboff, Brad Pemberton, and Hags Haggerty.

Autry does some of his writing in the studio and finds that working with other artists is when some of the best songs come together. He wrote “Let’s Grow Cold Together” with Caitlin Cary the day after Christmas at Deep South, a venue he often plays when he comes to Raleigh (a story that in itself sounds like a song).

Noting the sad tones and references to home on some of the new album’s tracks, I asked what influenced this album. He smiled. “I write a lot of sad songs, but I’m a really happy person.” Continuing with that idea, I asked if he got the sadness out with his music. “That’s where it goes. I’m not always writing about me, but I do put myself in other people’s shoes a lot. “

Autry’s rural Southern background certainly comes through in his music, and the focus is evident on the new album. He said,  “If you can’t go home, you can write about it and be sentimental. Like ‘Carolina’ is about the good things and the bad things you observe when you move away. ‘You can’t go home again’ and all that.”

Autry is clearly Southern -- there is no disputing that. But, I did ask him where he felt like his music fit and what was the most Southern place he’d been on the road. He said, “I fit in down in Texas. Lots of friends write and play there, and I can relate to that place a lot. Good ol’ boy, backroad driving, all that shit about tailgates. I do take that with me, but I love a wide variety of music. I mean, listen to Bob Dylan. Everyone has a little Southern in them to some extent. It seems to be in the music of hardships, but there’s more and it’s everywhere.”

After a short set, Autry and the band were packing up to roll straight on to DC that night. I asked him what he was looking forward to about this new tour previewing the upcoming album. “I love being home, actually. I miss my wife and my little girl when I’m on the road. I am looking forward to new people, driving places I’ve never been, finding something I’ve never seen.” He started laughing again. “You’ve gotta be a sick, gypsy-type person to do this.”

And after the tour and promoting the new album? “I’m gonna chill out and keep writing music I really believe in.”

And thank goodness for that.

     Cause and the Cure is only seven tracks long, but it’s a deep, emotional seven tracks. It’s certainly melancholy but lacks the melodrama of much modern country, a definite upside. The music is clean yet not glossy or overdone. “Let’s Grow Cold Together” is meant for listening while driving down a highway; it and “Too Much” have the greatest potential for most memorable, catchiest tunes on the album. His rendition of Tom Petty’s  “Southern Accent” will make you homesick even if you’re sitting on the porch right where you want be. This album is definitely worth a listen. Pick it up and catch Nick Autry when he hits your town. Keep up with him at his website, http://www.nickautry.com/, and on Twitter (@NickAutry).

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