It’s not unusual for a music artist to have another job that helps pay the bills. That being said, you probably won’t find many music artists that make their living as a nurse anesthetist. That is what singer-songwriter Nick Pagliari does. It’s safe to assume that In the last couple of years, Pagliari has experienced things that go far beyond the imagination of most folks.
He has channeled his experience into a new EP entitled Hard Lessons. Like his previous effort Midway, it is a collection of Americana songs with some influence the soul of Memphis, where Pagliari grew up. It becomes evident pretty quickly that he knows how to tell a story that feels like a slice of life.
The guitar tone in the title track sounds familiar even the first time you hear it. Maybe that’s at least partly because the guitar tone has some similarities to Tom Petty. It also comes across as very familiar because it’s easy to sing along with. The subject of the song is a woman who has had her share of ups and downs and has learned to weather it all. Particularly poignant is the line, “She learned to harvest strength from all the hurt” that is sure to remind you of someone you know. And you can’t help but sing along when he sings, “She takes hard lessons to heart.”
“Flame” is a heartland rock song with a sound that seems to draw from The Byrds. When you listen to the lyrics, you can hear that the theme of the song is a heavy one. And yet, he very succinctly summarizes the collective experience of the last couple years when he sings, “All this madness, all this unrest takes its toll on you…and it won’t stop until it stops.” It’s a line that is sure to hit home with listeners
The Memphis influence comes in particularly strong in “Down in a Rainstorm.” While the other songs on the album focus on the guitar, this one includes the Memphis soul sound with an emphasis on organ and horns.
“Here Comes a Woman” doesn’t have the sound of an anthem, but the message certainly comes across as an anthem and a plea for more female leadership. He even declares, “Let the woman take control.” He also dreams of a world where “money’s dead and love is king.” This is the sort of song you want to share just because the message is so important.
Hard Lessons by Nick Pagliari is only six songs, but in those six songs, Pagliari shows the ability to tell a story about people who haven’t always lived an easy life. He has a way with words and a way of writing songs that are easy to sing and relate to. The EP was released on July 22 and is available everywhere now.