When we last heard from Nickel&Rose, the folk duo composed of guitarist Carl Nichols (Painted Caves, RAS Movement) and upright bass player Johanna Rose (New Boyz Club, Ruth B8r Ginsburg, Thistledown Thunders) was traversing Europe as part of an international sojourn that brought the couple overseas for four months. While there, Nickel&Rose played dozens of shows in France, Germany, Romania, Poland, and Ukraine, with stops in Amsterdam and Prague as well. They also shot a video and, during an extended stay in Berlin, recorded an EP.
Oh Sweet Love is an auditory souvenir of Nichols’ and Rose’s European journey. The duo trades off verses in the slow-strummed and somber rendition of folk standard, “Red Rocking Chair,” to ease the effort into motion. Rose takes the reins of the effusive ode to her deceased father in form of the touching “My Old Man,” before Nichols displays both his impressive pipes and his soul amid a flurry of punctuating guitar wails in the emotional “My Father’s Only Son.” The pace hastens after the halfway point, as “Don’t Believe” finds bouncing bass and distorted guitar vying for control of the song, only to both fall short when Rose carries the EP outlier to higher ground with her commanding voice.
With Nichols’ captivating vocal chops accenting a folk-blues-gospel hybrid (“Troubled Blues”), the twangy title track duet that brings the EP home, and the delicate and emotionally-wrought songs that precede them, Oh Sweet Love is a recorded testament to the inability to put time and distance between feelings, but the possibility to turn tough times into something vibrant with a little help from a traveling companion (and the kindness of strangers along the way).
Nickel&Rose will release Oh Sweet Love at Club Timbuktu on Thursday, April 20. The show begins at 8 p.m. and costs $5. Caley Conway will play in support. Before the EP is officially released, you can stream Oh Sweet Love in its entirety, only at Milwaukee Record.