Nick began singing from his heart too, developing a booming baritone that was raw, robust, and real. While attending church camp as a 15 year old, he teamed up with another singer — Lee Brice, who'd eventually find fame as the man behind hits like "I Don't Dance" and "A Woman Like You" — to create a makeshift recording studio in a pump house located on the church grounds.
The two spent their time recording gospel songs, laying the foundation not only for their own careers as a soulful country frontmen, but also for the eventual formation of Pump House Records. This new, unique collective co-founded by Lee, award- winning songwriter Rob Hatch, engineer/songwriter Elisha Hoffman, and Derek and Kristi Hutchins, was born in late 2019 with the goal of transforming Nick's self-made success — including a wildly-dedicated following in his adopted hometown of Key West, Florida — into a national, widespread movement.
"Nick is like a mix of Van Morrison and early Zac Brown, with a little bit of Levon Helm," says Rob Hatch, who recorded Nick's new album at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville. Lee agrees, adding, "He always had a passion for singing, but after moving to Key West and singing multiple hours a day, six days a week, for more than a decade, he's at a whole new level. His stuff is so soulful and so groovy. When we started working on his record, we knew we needed to keep it simple, and just focus on the combination of a band and his voice. There are no computer tricks. It's so pure."
That purity can be heard on songs like the title track, a timeless-sounding piano ballad about battle scars, resilience, and growth. "I'll be coming out on the other side a better man," Nick promises during the chorus, digging into his gospel roots for a staggeringly soulful performance.
Elsewhere, All In offers everything from the New Orleans-flavored heat of "Cock Crows" to the sly, countrified bounce of "Porch Man." If the vocal performances sound fluid and natural, that's because Nick road-tested the songs during the months leading up to the recording sessions, fine-tuning every line in front of his nightly crowds. And if the Muscle Shoals-worthy grooves and sympathetic arrangements sound similarly effortless, that's because Lee — in addition to co-writing several of the songs with Nick — also helped hand-pick the band, bringing musicians like pianist Gordon Mote and harmony singer Rebecca Lynn Howard into the fold.
Like its name suggests, All In is an all or nothing effort. “I’ve worked for years and now’s the time,” says Nick. “I’m giving it all I have and am getting to do it with some of my best friends who are also artists. I couldn’t ask for a better set up.”
Nick has spent years building a thriving career on his own terms, usually alone. He's been a soul singer. A storyteller. A road warrior. A one-man show. Now, he's joining hands with others who share his vision for analog southern music at its most soulfully authentic, resulting in a collaboratively-created album that nods to the promise of Nick’s 2010 release, Hey Cheater, while also catapulting its star into a new realm.