By Mike Dunn
As he prepares to head out on a European tour, Edmonton singer-songwriter Joe Nolan is thinking hard about where he wants to be and where his career path is headed now that he’s moved into self-managing his career. While the acclaimed songwriter has been guided by industry vets throughout his decade-long career, he recently decided to take the reins for himself, and embraces both the challenges and the rewards.
“I’ve always had a lot of help and support, in the beginning with Rhea March, then working with Neil McGonogill for six years before signing with Six Shooter,” says Nolan, “I feel like I’m a late bloomer as far as defining which direction I’m going in, and wearing the many hats you have to to be an independent artist. A lot of my strengths are focusing on the songwriting, as most artist’s are, and hopefully in the future, once I’ve worked on this on my own for awhile, I’ll be able to put together a new team, where everyone kind of does those jobs way better than I can.”
With any young artist, a sense of place can become as stifling as it is defining. While Nolan’s been proud to call Edmonton home throughout his career (with a two-year run living in Calgary as well), as he approaches this new phase, he’s strongly considering uprooting himself, and finding a new place to call home. “I’ve been thinking about Nashville a lot lately, to be honest,” says Nolan. “At a certain point, you change, and while the place around you changes here and there, some things can become routine. I grew up here, as soon as I got my licence I started driving into Edmonton from Fort Saskatchewan to play and busk. This is home, but there are a lot of place out there.”
Nolan’s considerable touring experience, and time spent in Music City has put him in a position to take advantage of the kinds of opportunities a young songwriter could find in a place where music is a definitive part of the local economy, and where being a songwriter is not only a respected, but viable career path. “In the small chunks of time I’ve spent there, I feel like I’m being pulled toward the Americana sound down there,” says Nolan. “The music I’m drawn to most is what’s happening in Nashville, like this band I’m touring with in Europe, The Cordovas. They have this certain sound I’m really into, and people like Todd Snider are down there making great music, and that’s really pulling me. There’s so much action in Nashville, and it’s something I’d like to be a part of.”
Joe Nolan plays at The Ironwood Stage & Grill on Saturday, March 2, before embarking on a five-week tour of Europe with The Cordovas.Joe Nolan