CRS 2020 with Nathan Thomas
Updated: Mar 8
We caught up with Nathan Thomas during Country Radio Seminar and we "Talk" about everything he has been up to including, "Simpler Times."
When first listening to a new artist, whether new to the industry with their own music or just new to me, as a listener, I try to go in with no expectations. I want the music and the story in the songs to do what it is supposed to do and take me on a journey.
When I first listened to Nate Thomas' first single, "Talk," from the debut album Simpler Times, I began my journey, and it was indeed one that I am still traveling.
Let me start off by saying if you are expecting "traditional" country from Thomas, you may be disappointed. However, the other side of that is, if you listen with an open mind and heart, you will feel the soothing, gritty, intense vocals; perfectly surrounded by clear, precise hooks and melodies that allow you to really immerse into each song.
This album has been perfectly mastered and produced to give the listener a roller coaster of emotions, which is exactly what a great album should do.
So many artists are giving us just one single at a time, which is acceptable for artists that we are already familiar with.
When I am being introduced to a new artist, I want the album so I can hear what else they have, other than the one single.
Let me say, Thomas gives me everything I want in an album. From an upbeat feel-good song that brings back memories to a love song with all the feels, right back to continuing on the journey, that just makes you feel, well, good. We could all use more of that these days!
Watch our interview during Country Radio Seminar in Nashville as we discuss his music, growing up with a musician and what he has planned next.
Nate, thank you for taking the time to talk with us. We are so excited to see what happens next for you. We are definitely fans and honored to also call you our friend. We look forward to seeing you again soon!
Y'all, make sure to like, follow, subscribe and keep up with all that this amazing artist has going on. All the links are below.
More About Nathan Thomas:
Singer-songwriter Nathan Thomas is something of a rarity, in more than just one respect. A lifelong Nashville resident, he’s the son of an in-demand musician who played with acts as varied as bluegrass legend Del McCoury and future Country Music Hall of Fame member Barbara Mandrell. From shadowing his dad during local performances to playing in bands in high school and now to the present-day, creating and performing music has been his passion. As a young man, there was music everywhere around him, but more importantly, there has always been that spark inside of him to create and perform. With the release of his debut project, Simpler Times, the spark has become a bright, colorful inferno.
Co-produced by Thomas with producer/musician/songwriter Foster Ferrell, Simpler Times is laced with elements of anthemic contemporary country and powerful pop, echoing the stadium-filling, fist-pumping drive of songs by Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts, but also the intricate, acoustic works of such artists as John Mayer and Fleetwood Mac. At the same time, the songs are also imbued with raw intimacy and delivered with a soulful, authoritative vocal style that’s warm, reassuring and mindful of the tradition from which he has come.
Rooted in compelling, relatable lyrics and irresistibly catchy melodies, the emotional trajectory of the songs on Simpler Times are as autobiographical as it is universal. Thomas evokes childhood memories in the opening title tune, which builds with a palpable intensity before its slow, quiet distillation into what feels like an eye-to-eye and heart-to-heart conversation. The radio-ready songs throughout the album, including “Look Up,” “Distracted” and “Talk,” address the importance of communication and connection, and of recapturing the best of those simpler times.
“Simpler Times was actually the last song we wrote on the record,” said Thomas. “I had been writing all year, trying to find the right song to glue it together. When you’re writing a record, you want it to be a body of work, to tell a cohesive story, even if it’s different. At this season of my life, and I think a lot of people can relate to this, we all lead lives with a lot of noise. We have these permanent distractions that are in our hands called iPhones, and we’re connected to everything, but we’re as least-connected as we’ve ever been from a realistic perspective.”
The uplifting “When I Grow Up,” offers a passionate rumination on parenthood, a natural expression from the married father of three young sons, who range in age from 2 to 8 years old. The nostalgic “We Were Boys” recalls Thomas’ early musical pursuits with high school friends, while “Best in Me” closes the record on a deeply moving note. It’s an emotional love letter to his children, on behalf of parents who aspire to, in his words, “be all that our kids see in us and to live our best for them.”
While the songs throughout Simpler Times are written with wisdom and compassion, qualities borne within the artist and fueled from an early age, the road to his becoming a songwriter and performer was anything but direct.
“I was definitely obsessed with anything my dad did and thought it was so cool,” said Thomas. “My dad was super supportive, but also encouraged me to maybe not go into music. He went through a lot of hard times, especially in the world of being a sideman. He was like, ‘Go to college! Get a real job!’ I dropped out of college, got a developmental record deal at 19 years old, and in my mind, I was gonna make it. I had the dream so many kids have.”
Like other longtime Music City residents, Thomas has been a witness to Nashville’s staggering growth in the past several years. But some of his most cherished memories are of a lower Broadway that today’s more exuberant tourists would likely find surprisingly quaint.
“My dad used to let me go with him into Tootsie’s,” he said of his father’s frequent gigs at the famed watering hole, mere steps away from the legendary Ryman Auditorium. “It wasn’t as rowdy as it is now. It’s such a party town. It’s so funny just thinking about that. I’d sit behind the sound booth, watching my dad play in the small room downstairs. You can’t do that anymore. I mean, I’ve got an 8-year-old, and I don’t think I’d ever imagine taking him to Tootsie’s with me to play! But it’s awesome, it’s good for Nashville, it’s a lot of opportunity.”
With Simpler Times, Nathan Thomas endeavors to provide a sense of hope and inspiration in extremely challenging times.
“People need to know, number one, that it’s possible to make your own music. I think a lot of songwriters out there really need hope. A lot of entertainers are waiting for a record label to find them, or for somebody to come along like a big-name producer or manager and make them into something. In all reality, it just takes putting in the work. I’m just out here trying to be myself and writing songs about everyday life that I hope are relatable to everyday people.”
Keep Up With Nathan Thomas: