Gary Nichols back to bluegrass, signs with RBR Entertainment

Former Steeldrivers vocalist, Gary Nichols, has announced his return to bluegrass music, with a new single for his new label, RBR Entertainment.

Gary spent seven years with the Steeldrivers, stepping in for founding member Chris Stapleton when he made his exit in 2009 to pursue a career in country music. Nichols seemed an ideal stand in, with his soulful, bluesy voice, and he recorded a pair of successful projects with the band, taking home a Grammy in the process.

When the Alabama native dropped out of the band, and seemingly off the planet, in 2017, Steeldrivers fans were flummoxed and confused. But Gary had decided that it was finally time to deal with his addiction issues, and didn’t make much noise about it at the time.

Fully recovered, and with a newfound passion for music, he has signed with Nashville’s RBR Entertainment, and begun recording again with Billy Droze producing. A debut single, written by Droze, Eddie Wilson, and Chris Myers, is set for release next month.

For Gary, this one has parallels to his own addiction and recovery.

“Man, I’m so excited to be making music again. I haven’t recorded an album since the Muscle Shoals Recordings with The SteelDrivers back in 2014. So much has happened since then and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

Billy played Fire In The Dark for me and I immediately felt a connection to the song. The song talks about the hold the singer’s lover has on his heart and, to me, it mirrors my struggle with substance abuse.”

With Nichols on guitar and lead vocal, support comes from Seth Taylor on guitar, Josh Swift on reso-guitar, Ron Stewart on banjo, and Tim Crouch on bass, mandolin, and fiddle. John Meador adds harmony vocals.

It’s a nasty groove. Check it out.

Chris Meyers of RBR says that his whole team is excited about working with Gary.

“The first time I heard Gary, I was a fan. His vocals are velvet smooth yet, hard as steel. Whether he is singing a tender ballad or an ‘in your face’ barn burner, his vocals are spot on.

I think Gary’s return will fill a void that’s been missing in bluegrass music for years. The entire team (comprised of RBR Entertainment, Amy Scruggs Media, AirPlay Direct, and 629 Music Group) are completely focused on filling that void.”

Fire In The Dark will be available from popular download and streaming services on February 17. Radio programmers can get the track now at AirPlay Direct.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.