Primarily the great acoustic blues and ragtime guitar masters of the 20’s and 30’s were Nick’s initial influences. Later and significantly, the brilliant country blues picking of Merle Travis and Doc Watson became ingrained in his style as well as numerous eclectic elements ranging from the jazz of Duke Ellington, the swing of Django and the more modern sounds of Leo Kottke and Chet Atkins. Nick’s latest album “Into the Blues” is a tour-de-force and a return to the fundamental elements.
"You can tell a lot about a musician by looking at their music room.
Nick Charles has a music room. It is an oasis, a reflection of the man himself – neat, tidy, organised. All his instruments, vast album collection containing the most important popular music of the last century, posters, books and paraphernalia collected over a lifetime of learning - and teaching - right at his fingertips. Lots of stuff - but no clutter.
I’m sure he can tell you something about every single item in his room, nothing is there by chance; every item has importance.
And that’s the sense you get when you hear Nick play guitar. Every note is important, every space and note exists for a good reason. There’s no clutter.
When you go to a Nick Charles concert, you are hearing a century or more of musical influences, distilled through Nick. Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, Django Reinhardt, Les Paul, Merle Travis, Chet Atkins, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones … the list goes on. All the greats, the pioneers, many lesser known names (but no less important), they’re all there. Listen carefully, and you’ll notice elements of all these artists when Nick plays.
And yet, as is always the case with great artists, and whether he’s playing 6-string, 12-string, dobro or mandolin, a cover or an original tune, what comes out is uniquely ‘Nick Charles’.
The fact is that to rise to the standard he has reached, and maintain body and soul as a professional musician, requires sheer hard work and dedication, and a work ethic that just won’t quit.
I’m sure Nick will be a little bemused by this award - it would not occur to him that he deserves it, and I suspect he might be uncomfortable with the attention.
Nick Charles: rest assured, you deserve it. The community of musicians, and music lovers everywhere congratulate you on becoming the recipient of this accolade."
Michael Fix, February 2014