The Nadas on Music Fog

The Nadas “Drink It ’til It’s Gone” by Jessie Scott for Music Fog

The Nadas are no strangers to our cameras, as we welcomed them on the bus for our first outing to Memphis for coverage of Folk Alliance in 2009. And they brought booze, rye whiskey, I believe. I was not a rye drinker until that moment, but I saw the light!

The guys formed at college in Ames, Iowa in 1995. By 2001, they were heralded by Playboy Magazine as “The Best College Band You’ve Never Heard Of.” After 16 years together, Mike Butterworth (vocals, guitar) and Jason Walsmith (vocals, guitar) have recently released their 7th album, Almanac, a year-long project, during which they wrote, recorded and released a new song each month, crafting a portrait of 2009. What’s more, every step of the process was streamed live on the band’s website, delivering unprecedented access to the creative process. Fans were allowed to offer critique on everything from lyrics to instruments, and some of the suggestions were even incorporated into The Nadas’ music. In September of 2009, select fans that had joined the Almanac project were extended an exclusive invitation to a special songwriting session to write that month’s addition to this most unique album. That’s brave and head’s up stuff indeed, but it doesn’t surprise us that they are embracing social networking in such an interactive way, as The Nadas were our Twitter spiritual guides early on.

“We started The Nadas sixteen years ago with just a couple of songs, a van and a newsletter, then grew a community from there,” said Walsmith. “The tools we have now to communicate with and build that community are crazy. But it’s still about the songs, and our fans. They’re why we do this.” Music Fog, as fans, invited them back for a session on the Threadgill’s stage in Austin, TX this past March. And what do you know, they gave us a drinking song!

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