Johnny Nicholas & Friends Set to Rock Ann Arbor

Article Contributed by Mark Pucci Media | Published on Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Heralded Austin-based blues/roots musician and songwriter Johnny Nicholas returns to Michigan to celebrate the deluxe vinyl LP reissue of his long out-of-print 1977 album, Too Many Bad Habits – including a special bonus album of previously unreleased performances – on July 1, 2018, at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Performing with Nicholas will be bassist Tony Garnier and drummer Tino Gross, both featured on the original album, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb on guitar/mandolin.

To watch a special video with Johnny talking about the new vinyl LP package, click here.

Garnier was Johnny’s roommate in Asleep at the Wheel and is best known as Bob Dylan’s bass player since 1989 – Dylan’s longest-running sideman.  Gross is the well-known front man for the Howling Diablos, a heavy influence on the Detroit music scene and early mentor to Kid Rock. Newcomb is renowned as one of the top guitar/mandolin players in the country and one of the most frequently demanded studio/live musicians in Austin.

For tickets and more information on the July 1 performance at The Ark, visit here.

Johnny Nicholas & Friends will continue the celebration on July 2 with a performance at 20 Front Street, Lake Orion.  For tickets and more information, visit here.

Too Many Bad Habits was recently nominated for a Blues Blast Magazine award in the “Historical and Vintage Recording” category. Fan voting begins July 1 until August 31 here. The 2018 Blues Blast Awards ceremonies will be held on September 29th, at Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois.

In the late 1960’s, the college town of Ann Arbor Michigan found itself at the epicenter of a resurgence in Blues music. At the heart of the Ann Arbor Blues revival was guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Johnny Nicholas. Arriving from the East coast for the 1970 Blues Festival, he brought some of the best Blues players out of retirement and brought them together night after night in local clubs and concerts. While he performed with dozens of well-known artists in those venues, among the most frequent and popular with local Blues lovers were the legendary Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, and Boogie Woogie Red.

“This album was initially released on the fledgling Blind Pig label in 1977,” Nicholas recalls, “but the recording sessions included a bunch of stellar performances which had never been released. Walter and Johnny and Red were my friends and mentors, and hearing this stuff was such a thrill. I hope people enjoy listening to these historical slices of the real blues, played by the masters, as much as we have enjoyed re-discovering, listening to and remastering them. I’m really excited to return to Ann Arbor, where it all started, and am looking forward to seeing many of our old friends at The Arkto celebrate the release of this great music.”

The two-album set, Too Many Bad Habits, is a window into an important era in American music history, when Ann Arbor was one of the hottest and most influential music scenes in the country.

The package is available as a previously-released 2-disk CD, as well as the new deluxe double vinyl album, which includes a 60-page scrapbook filled with photos, posters and memorabilia.