The Nickel Slots release ‘Pack Up All Regrets’ at The Palms tonight
Sacramento- and Yolo County-based band The Nickel Slots dish up Americana with a dash of punk’s energy. With a sound that combines country and rock into a potent alt-country/Americana blend, the quartet features robust vocals, songwriting and instrumentation.
The Nickel Slots will celebrate today’s release of their fourth studio album, “Pack Up All Regrets,” with a show at The Palms Playhouse (13 Main St., Winters, Calif.) starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 ($14 with student ID).
“We are going to open the show by performing the new album start to finish,” said lead guitarist Steve Amaral. “The second set will consist of fan and band favorites.”
“We are really proud of the album and the songs as a whole and felt that it would be a treat to hear all of the new songs as they appear on the record.”
Since forming in 2008, the quartet has released three previous albums, opened for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at Sleep Train Arena, and won a fistful of awards including three Sammies for Outstanding Americana/Alt-Country Band, a Sammie for Best Live Performer, an individual Sammie (electric guitarist Steve Amaral), Best US Music Video at the 2015 American Online Film Awards and Best US Music Video at the 2015 American Online Film Awards. They’ve been inducted into the Sammie Hall of Fame.
The band cites both Johnny Cash and The Clash as influences. According to Amaral, the four musicians have different tastes, and together they “connect the dots between our punk and rock and roll roots to alt country and Americana. We often call what we do ‘Americana with attitude.'”
Lead singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist Tony Brusca uses subtly different vocal styles, using a touch of twang in the vowels for country selections and a full-throated, occasionally wistful approach to songs on the rock side of the spectrum.
Bassist and mandolinist Paul Zinn’s harmony vocals blend well with Brusca’s lead. Electric guitarist Amaral isn’t afraid to tear it up or play with restraint. Drummer Christopher Amaral brings power and precision to his rhythms.
Amaral said that Brusca, who wrote all the songs on “Pack Up All Regrets,” “is a great storyteller.”
“His lyrics paint a picture and still leave room for you to take away your own connection to the song. Tony is a master [at] taking life experiences and combining them with fiction to create the foundation of The Nickel Slots’ sounds.”
Brusca said that the album’s title sums up the feeling he had when writing the songs.
“Even if you have regrets in you life, they don’t have to define you,” he said. “You can learn from them, pack them up and let them float on down the river – and you can move forward into something better!”
Brusca acknowledged that it’s a difficult process, and said “King of the Landfill” reflects a rut he experienced.
“Most of the characters in the songs I write experience tough times, bad stuff. I like to explore how different people deal with adversity. Do they sit in their regrets or do they pack ’em up and move on?”
“We have a camaraderie between the four of us that translates well in the studio and on stage in our performances,” said Amaral. “We have a great time together and want to extend that energy to the audience.”
Looking ahead to tonight’s show, Amaral said that releasing the album at “this classic venue makes this event extra special to us.” He cited the club’s broad demographic as a good match for the music and the ambiance as an opportunity for fans to connect with the songs, noting that the venue “feels so connected to our roots in the area.”
Tickets are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite, and at the door if the show is not sold out.
For more information, visit palmsplayhouse.com and thenickelslotsmusic.com.