Over the last year, artists have had to adapt in ways they never imagined. Blues-rock guitarist Jared James Nichols was forced to learn exactly what it meant to be alone, left only with his creativity, and how to navigate a new normal. In a new edition of American Songwriter’s “Behind the Mic” series, the singer-songwriter took a moment to reflect upon what quarantine meant for him and his band and how he poured his anxieties and ruminations deep into his songwriting.
“As a songwriter, quarantine did me in. I was alone with my guitar, wondering what to do, how to do it, where to go, who to collaborate with. When in reality, it was just me, a guitar, and a sheet of paper,” he says. “The songs that I wrote for my upcoming record/EP were all written out of a genuine state of consciousness, understanding that I had time to finally dig into songs. I wasn’t looking for the next tour. I wasn’t trying to go out and see another show or hang out with friends. It was just the solitude of being alone, writing, and trying to make music, to make myself feel better.”
Nichols performed three songs, including the searing “Threw Me to the Wolves,” a sobering track that was “actually released right before the pandemic,” he remembers. “I was on tour. We were just getting ready to do our first headlining run all the way through Europe. This song had just came out, and the sky was the limit. And we quickly learned that within a few weeks, we were all going to be taken back home and locked up.”
Following his performance, Nichols then revealed the winners for the July/August Lyric Contest and the owner of a Gibson J-45 Vintage Sunburst. Watch Jared’s Behind the Mic below.