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Nick Shoulders Brings an Ozark Yodel to This Week's Punk & Old-Time Radio Show

Nick Shoulders is here to put the "Try" in country music. Wielding a high yodel and whistle crafted from a lifetime chasing lizards through the Ozark hills, Nick combines his family's deep ties to southern traditional music with years singing to empty street corners to create this hybridized form of raucous country music. Performing music born of some dark holler and bred to be stomped into New Orleans dancefloors, Nick Shoulders' popularity has only grown during the pandemic, thanks in part to his growing Youtube channel.

While he’s hesitant to call his music “country”, fans of Luke Bell and Pat Reedy will find familiarity with his work. Nick breaks from the pack with an incredible voice and world-class yodel, the likes of which haven't been heard since the days of artists like Slim Whitman. This stunning combination harkens us back to the era of the Singing Cowboy and all that you can envision from that realm of country music. And it’s not just the yodel, but Nick’s whistling, throat trumpet, and general high vocal abilities that make songs like “Lonely Like Me” a truly enchanting listen, however niche in appeal it may be.

This week, Folklife Program Coordinator Ian Hallagan brings Nick on board to discuss his journey through the niche genres of country music and the “oddball storytelling” in his newest album “Home on the Rage.” McKissick's radio show Punk & Old-Time Radio: Conversations on Community, Conflict, and Cohesion airs weekly on WUSC Radio (90.5 FM)  through April, Thursdays at 2:00pm EDT. 

“It’s so humbling, to claim a tradition, because you’ve become a part of something so much bigger than yourself,” Shoulders says. “My absorption of this landscape and the people who have made music on this land make me feel like I am a part of this deep undercurrent that is flowing through all of these seemingly disparate folk traditions the whole world over.” – Bandcamp

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