Nickel & Rose Return to High Dive Fresh Off Tour

Nickel & Rose.

Americana-folk act Nickel & Rose played the Riverwest dive bar Tuesday night and generated a full house. Minneapolis vocal loop-er The Nunnery joined them, performing lush and catchy hooks that will appear on an upcoming LP. The Nunnery is the solo project of Sarah Elstran; she last played Milwaukee in September, also at High Dive.

Nickel & Rose is made up of guitarist/vocalist Carl Nichols, double bassist Johanna Rose, and fiddler Ernest Brusubardis IV. The group formed from Nichols connecting with the other two at the Jam for Jam music festival.

Their last EP “Americana” dropped in September and they toured extensively across the US and Europe in the last year and a half to promote it. Their stops overseas included Spain, Poland, Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Denmark, and Romania.

In fact, just the day before they returned from Texas.

“I just wish it was warmer,” Rose said about being home.

Nichols says the greatest reception of their shows came from either Spain or Poland.

“Our first ever tour was in Europe and we went to Poland. All of a sudden we were a real band…people came to see us and we couldn’t understand why. Then we went back and Ernie was with us…and they like us for some reason,” Nichols recalled.

“It was a great house show circuit of people coming into homes and sitting down and listening and really wanting to experience the music,” Brusubardis added.

Rose had a musical emergency while in Ukraine, but it all worked out.

“We broke a bass while in Ukraine,” Rose said, “but then we found this really awesome guy that makes hurdy-gurdies. He was able to glue the bass together and fix it up. And then we had to take the train, so we wrapped the straps of the bass to the ceiling of the train so it could dry for the seven-hour ride. And it worked for the rest of the tour.”

Brusubardis is involved in two other bands besides Nickel & Rose, which are Chicken Wire Empire and Honest John. He weighs in on how gratifying it is to play with Rose and Nichols.

“A big part is that me and Johanna have been in bands ever since I got started in the scene, and Carl is such a great fit, so there’s a lot of familiarity that comes with this project where I already know what they’re gonna do. They might change something in a song without me knowing but I usually know what it’s gonna be. I also love that there’s some really cool influences in this group from all over the world, and Carl is an encyclopedia of world music. It’s great to pick his brain.”

Nickel & Rose have an album coming out around the end of August.

“It’s got some instrumentals, so it’s very much like us reaching into the deepest parts of our brains to pull out ideas and going back to our roots,” Nichols said about it.

In the meantime. the trio plays the Social Commentary Session about women filmmakers at the Oriental Theatre on April 20th and Cactus Club the following day.

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