Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this afternoon’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be shining our gaze on Nick Driver, a singer songwriter from North Carolina who has been featured on Sirius XM’s ‘Coffee House’ program in the past. He’s also won a nomination in the John Lennon International Songwriting Competition. His latest endeavor, which dropped on Feb. 28, is simply entitled ‘Acoustic Mixtape EP.’ Let’s dig right into it and figure out what it’s all about.
‘Acoustic Mixtape EP’ is a pretty easy-riding pursuit. The songs are very ‘coffee shop’ - very jingly, pretty short, and lighthearted. ‘Tip Jar,’ the opening of the EP, exemplifies this. Driver just wants you to drop a bit of change in his tip jar so he can buy some snapbacks to impress all of the fine ladies. Who hasn’t been there, right? It’s an infectious tune, one that sets a good groove for the EP.
The minimalist production on the EP is very suiting to Driver. He’s typically backed by one or two acoustic guitars, some light hand percussion, and some sort of very simplistic synth or key section. ‘Baby Come Back To Me’ is a wonderfully lighthearted little tune that uses those key sections to great effect. One can appreciate Driver understanding the place of his music and securing that niche quite elegantly.
‘Coffeehouse Hero’ is one of the strongest tracks on the EP. Again, it’s Driver mastering his place within his genre. I love the soft hand percussion, and the micing of the acoustic guitar is perfect. As an independent critic, I can speak to the indie scene’s inability to mic an acoustic guitar properly. Driver’s got it down, though, which is refreshing.
‘Ain’t Goin To Take Your Shit No More’ is actually a bit bluesy, giving some nice spice to the opposite end of the EP. The snappiness of each tune is, again, very good. ‘Change My Ways’ is likely the weakest track of the album, if not just because it lacks the razor sharp direction of the previous tunes.
‘Wrapped Up,’ however, does a beautiful job ending the EP with the most emotional track of the endeavor. In contrast to ‘Tip Jar,’ it’s a surprising ending to an album that began pretty lighthearted. Thus, ‘Acoustic Mixtape EP’ is a wonderful excursion through acoustic singer songwriter vibes and musings. Check it out below, and spin it on Spotify, too.