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CD Feature: “Time Ain’t Free”

Time Ain’t Free finds an inspired Nick Moss extending his creative streak, offering an intelligent, updated take on ’70s rock and R&B, marked by daring arrangements and surprising juxtapositions. Blending elements of Parliament, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Faces, even Afrobeat, and at times evoking an Ike Turner-Little Feat summit, the set encompasses Muscle Shoals sweetness, stormy postmodern boogie, greasy roadhouse R&B, soul-tinged rock, and gospel-inflected ballads, all filtered through Moss’s deep-blue lens.

—Tom Hyslop, Blues Music Magazine

Excerpt from the liner note by Josh Hathaway:

Time Ain’t Free, but Nick Moss is: free of labels and limitations, of boundaries and expectations. He has followed his heart from the very beginning, faithfully and passionately playing traditional Chicago blues the way he learned from listening to and playing with the best. He widened his scope on the critically-acclaimed Privileged and Here I Am, stretching himself and challenging his devoted audience to hear him in a whole new way.

One listen to Time Ain’t Free makes clear those records are fully-realized works, as well as mile markers on a journey to an ever-expanding idea of what is possible. From the rollicking opener “She Wants It” through the finale “(Big Mike’s) Sweet Potato Pie,” we are treated to jams, grooves, shuffles, and blues, whether in the form of the greasy guitar workout “Was I Ever Heard” or the funky, strutting title track. He is all over the place, and yet nothing is beyond his grasp. That confidence has him taking chances musically and vocally and those risks pay off, rewarding him and his audience. Nick has worked with outstanding musicians throughout his career and the talent and versatility of this new lineup is capable not only of carrying out his new ideas but even in­spiring a few of them. He’s always been gener­ous as a bandleader and now he’s taking that one step further, passing the microphone to second guitarist Michael Ledbetter (descendant of Huddie, or “Lead Belly”) to sing lead vocal on six of these new songs. Led’s voice and guitar work bring a powerful, soulful dimension to this album and the live shows.

“Moss’ class shines through in ‘I Want the World to Know,’ which builds into a showcase of his fluency on the six-string.”  —Billboard

“Nick Moss is one of the most consistent blues-influenced artists…”  – Vintage Guitar

“A perfect mix of tradition and innovation…”  –Elmore

“...nothing less than a powerful gumbo of Chicago soul, funk, blues, jam ad rock ’n roll.” – GuitarWorld

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