Nice Like That rekindles Hazel & Alice in the UK

Neala Hickey and Jeri Foreman are a pair of traditional bluegrass and old time musicians in the UK who have teamed up as Nice Like That, a brand most intentionally calling on the Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard song by that same name. Both of these young ladies are strongly influenced by Hazel and Alice, and are working to revitalize that sound from their respective homes in Glasgow and London.

Though plying their trade now in Britain, these two strivers grew up and developed a love for traditional music living in Australia. Jeri started out learning Irish and Scottish fiddle music in Australia, while Neala was discovering flatpicking and Doc Watson.

Neale says that what unites them is their love for the gritty reality of what Dickens and Gerrard had recorded in the 1960s.

“We both have a great love of Hazel Dickens and Alice Gerrard, the rawness and sincerity about the lives of women stands out. We feel similarly about Lynn Morris. As much as we love a slick Tony Rice song, there’s something special about the unvarnished truth of a Hazel and Alice song, and it seems under-appreciated.

We don’t often hear women belting out, ‘Don’t put her down (you helped put her there),’ though the Hazel and Alice repertoire at sessions is improving! We wanted to pay homage to this side of the genre, unapologetic, often loud and expressive.

Given that bluegrass songs often rest on high emotion in reaction to the world around you, or what’s happening in your life, we want that raw delivery to be central to what we do.”

Traveling separately through Europe and North America, they each discovered bluegrass music, and the sense of camaraderie it espouses in the jam setting.

Jeri explained bit about her journey…

“I headed to Europe, then North America, then back to Europe, eventually deciding to live in Scotland. There’s some good pickers in Scotland, and we’re working on building the scene here. I also really enjoy participating in English and Irish bluegrass, whenever I get the chance. And of course, heading across the Atlantic is much easier than crossing the Pacific, so now that I’m here. I try to visit and reconnect with friends in the USA as often as possible!”

After a year of gigging together, the girls are working now on a debut recording, prompted by an appreciative audience member who volunteered £500 to get them started in a crowdfunding effort. They are continuing that using Kickstarter for pre-orders, and plan to head into the studio next month.

Here’s a look and listen to the Nice Like That sound, with snippets from a live set at Green Note in London last year, running through some 1950s and ’60s country and bluegrass music.

And of course they also do their namesake song, Nice Like That.

Welcome Nice Like That to the fold!

You can follow Jeri and Neala on Facebook, and pre-order their first project via Kickstarter.

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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.