Artist Snapshot: Nick Andrew Staver
While he may receive his mail in Shippensburg, PA, Nick Andrew Staver has made a home on the road for much of the last five years, bringing his bluesy steel guitar and heartfelt lyrics to venues large and small throughout the country. Currently promoting his fifth independent release, YOPE (2017), Staver visits our region for a stint “On the Dock” at Vinton’s Twin Creeks Brewing Company. We caught up with him to learn a bit more about the itinerant singer songwriter in the lead up to his Saturday show.
“We all want the same things. It’s just a matter of how we get there. I use music. And I use it as a tool to communicate to people around me.”
“My sound is centered around blues music but it’s much more than just blues. The core is blues, but you hear drops of jazz, R&B, rock n’ roll, folk, and country. Playing that music live is the most thrilling, fun, free thing I’ve ever done in my life. There is something special that happens on stage, and every night that “something” differs from the night before. Words can’t describe that feeling when a musician finds their “zone”, and the search and discovery of that “zone” in itself is priceless. Music is like a confession for me, it lifts a weight off my shoulders and makes life melt away for a few minutes during a song.”
“The music I play comes from all kinds of influences. The music I grew up with was never one specific genre. The albums my family had on in the house covered many styles, so it was nearly impossible for me not to use those influences in my own music. Specifically, I loved Howlin’ Wolf, John Coltrane, Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, Otis Redding, and the list could go on and on. But I’ve found it much more pleasing to take a little bit from all my favorites, rather than a big scoop of just one or two. Now the key is to not dive in and overwhelm my music with a single influence. I tend to soak in bits from a wide variety of artists and styles, and allow myself to bleed some of it into my music. I like to digest the sound, let it work its way into my style slowly, just a drop at a time.”
“I could run off a million personal reasons why I play, but honestly a huge factor in it is the people I play for. I look forward to meeting the people at every show. Meeting someone who my music reached out to, and to have them communicate that with me is something I never imagined would happen. Through it I find we all have issues, we all have happiness. We all want the same things. It is just a matter of how we get there. I use music. And I use it as a tool to communicate to people around me.”
“I have been playing guitar since I was 14. It was a very long and strange experience getting to know the instrument without a proper teacher at the time. But I couldn’t put it down. Because I wasn’t skilled enough to play other peoples music, without me evening recognizing it, I was forced to write my own songs. Writing my own music pushed me to play and write more. Then people started liking what I was doing and my involvement snowballed into what it is today. For that I’m incredibly thankful. I couldn’t be happier with the path that I’ve followed.”
“As far as my future path, it may not be flashy by today’s standards, but my goal is to use music as a vehicle to provide. Whether that’s providing an audience member a night of fun and forgetting their troubles, providing economically for my family, or just providing myself with that feeling of pure enjoyment that music has given me all my life. I love what I do and I’m very grateful that I’m able to play music every day. Thankfully, those goals of “making it big” or “becoming famous” went out the window when I was a teenager. Music became something more to me than just a way for people to like me. When I was mature enough to recognize that, my goals became simpler and more direct.”
“As far as advice for new musicians starting out, all I can say is “Be ready to work.” The modern musician is a working musician. “Sleep all day, party all night” is a cool t-shirt slogan, but the reality is an uphill march 100% of the time. You will never reach the horizon; it will always stay in front of you. But going after it is worth more than words can express. Everyone’s story will be different depending on the goals, but the pursuit is something that I’ve come to cherish and look forward to everyday. Discover what you want music to do for you and go from there. If you just want to play coffee shops or bars, do it. If you want to play for the world, do it. Just be ready to work and make sure that you are happy.”
So come out Saturday to see this happy workman at Twin Creeks Brewing Company. Staver will be playing 6-9p, and will be sure to stick around to meet the audience. You can check out more of Staver’s music at his website, and follow him on Facebook.