Band Members:

Driving down highway 99’s 400 miles of endless asphalt one could unknowingly pass by Visalia, a town in the heart of the central San Joaquin Valley of California. This isolated valley could be seen as uninspiring, but out of such a place has come great inspiration: from Pavement to Butterglory, Grandaddy, to Journey, Night Ranger to Buck Owens and the Bakersfield Sound, to Nik Freitas who because of his surroundings involved himself in music and reached far beyond the valleys desolation.Born, raised and residing in Visalia Nik started to play the guitar at 8 years old and since then has learned to play an enormous range of instruments. Now at 24, his latest recording, Heavy Mellow was recorded with his childhood friend, guitarist and engineer Aaron Estes, who also collaborated on Nik’s 2001 debut Here’s Laughing At You. Heavy Mellow was recorded (after midnight only) above a stationary store on Visalia’s 4 block main street. You can definitely hear the raw energy that make’s Nik’s voice and music unique. As with Here’s Laughing At You, Nik impressively tackles the lion’s share by playing all the instruments save for Aaron’s expressive lead guitar.After traveling the world as a photographer for Thrasher Magazine, and then heading back out to promote his first album, Nik returns with a more seasoned and refined sound. It’s to our benefit that Nik’s isolated upbringing didn’t block his path as a songwriter and musician. Heavy Mellow is so immediately catchy and familiar sounding that you’d swear you’ve heard these songs before. Where as his first album rang with youthful innocence and insecurity, Nik now has infused more of his personal life into his songs. Like on ‘Summer Hearts’ where Nik sings, “grandma kneels/ at grandpa’s bed side/ whispering/ so he can hear” about a recent family loss. Then there’s ‘Penny’, a soulful, piano driven pop song about the trappings of over indulgence. All throughout Heavy Mellow, Nik has the ability to create intricate stories and place himself right in the middle. The track ‘ Nursery Street’ takes Nik across the country on a journey, he sings “when you can’t seem to find/peace of mind/ and the Joker sits smiling/ and the calendar starts to cry” you know that he is right where he should be. Track 8 ‘Bad Dream,’ finds Nik in a more impressionistic mood, describing his dreams while the song eventually dissolves into an abstract dizzying coda. With such a far-reaching range, Nik Freitas has proved that just like friend and fellow San Joaquin Valley do-it-yourselfer, Jason Lytle from Grandaddy, sometimes out of isolation comes inspiration.




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