Dwight & Nicole, an American roots band formed by recording artists Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson are set to release their sophomore LP, the aptly titled Shine On, on April 22, 2014. An inspiring mashup of folk, blues, pop, jazz, gospel and reggae, the album can't be categorized easily, but that's fine. “I don't like to be categorized...because I'm changing all the time. And in every moment, I'm a little bit different. And as I am feeling things, what I want to express becomes different. And I think our fans appreciate that honesty,” says Nelson.
Recorded at Milt Reder's Rear Window Studio in Boston, Shine On was heavily funded by Dwight & Nicole's devoted fans via music-centric crowd-sourcing site, PledgeMusic.com. The album is a culmination of an exciting couple of years that saw Nelson appear on NBC's hit talent show, The Voice; chart a stirring rendition of Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah” at #24 on iTunes; and win a Boston Music Award for “Female Vocalist of The Year.” The duo's recent momentum also landed them on Boston Globe's “25 Most Stylish of the Year” list, found them playing major festivals and performing at storied Fenway Park.
Dwight & Nicole's performances have inspired comparisons to some of the greats — Etta James and John Lee Hooker, the Rolling Stones and the Staple Singers — but it's their fresh blend of spirited blues, rock and gospel that is propelling them to make their own mark on the music world. They have performed at countless world class venues and festivals including Montreal Jazz Festival, Life Is Good Festival, Symphony Hall, Fenway Park, Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble, and The Blue Note in NYC, while sharing the stage with iconic artists such as BB King, Buddy Guy, Dave Brubeck, Dr. Maya Angelou, Mavis Staples, Ray Lamontagne, Trombone Shorty, Levon Helm, Norah Jones, Dr. John, Wynton Marsalis, The Avett Brothers, Chuck Berry, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Irma Thomas.
“The songs are inspired by our love together and trying to look at the world's bright side,” says Dwight. “It's not about the bright lights/big-city lights. It's about the inner light,” adds Nicole. Or as producer Milt Reder says, “There's a spirituality to it without it being heavy-handed. It has a lot to do with the way their relationship is.” Look for Dwight & Nicole's newest release, Shine On, on all major digital platforms starting April 22, 2014.
“This Brooklyn-based duo's songs cull inspiration from a broad musical palette: folk, blues, soul, jug band, Afrobeat, and pop. Guitarist and co-vocalist Dwight Ritcher is an unusual sight... He plays a Flying V, a guitar usually associated more with the likes of Megadeth and Metallica, not folk musicians. But Ritcher and gorgeous, dusky-voiced singer Nicole Nelson lay down sultry soulful music. Nelson also adds rhythm, beating out circular country-blues time signatures, either on tambourine or with a sharp tap of her foot. Ritcher occasionally takes over on lead vocals, and the pair's harmonies are sublime, making for an earthy, retro-soul sound.”
–Linda Laban, The Boston Globe
“...I've been asking people on the scene...who they think is making the best music and who seems poised to take that next step toward the big time. I've asked these questions across genres—from blues and soul people and into rock and pop—and the one name that comes up across the board is Dwight & Nicole.”
–Mike Mellor, The Killing Floor
“It was a happy day for music when Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson got together. The artists became Dwight & Nicole, and have garnered fans including Maya Angelou with a sound that melds blues, soul, folk, rock, and jazz.”
–Milva DiDomizio, The Boston Globe
“Dwight & Nicole are...a ferociously talented duo, and they're madly in love. It's easy to see why, as 30 seconds spent listening to Nelson's charismatic crooning and Ritcher's effortless charm will have even the most skeptical critics drooling.”
–Hilary Hughes, Weekly Dig
“One of the benefits of festivals is they expose you to bands you might not come across on your own. The first of these, for me, was Dwight & Nicole, the genre-bending five-piece band fronted by Dwight Ritcher and Nicole Nelson. Take R&B, soul, blues and jazz, mix in razor-sharp rock guitar (Dwight), a soulful, joyful, foot-stomping, happy-to-be-alive stage energy (Nicole), heat to boiling, and watch your face melt. That's Dwight & Nicole. Catch them in a dark, smoky club where the sweat's dripping off the ceiling. Or at an outdoor festival, for that matter. They'll captivate you either way.”
–Mathew Shelter, Relix Magazine
“Nicole has a gift far and beyond what most people have.”
–Adam Levine, The Voice
“There are good voices and then there are great voices. Nicole Nelson is definitely the latter.”
–Christina Aguilera, The Voice
“Nicole's voice is like a mother's love.”
–Cee Lo Green, The Voice
“Dwight & Nicole are a refreshingly honest act that moves from R&B to silky soul, with hints of rock, gospel, and swampy blues. The music is diverse, but it all fits seamlessly on this strong new disc. It's a tour de force that demands much wider success...poignant...hard driving...and heavenly.”
–Steve Morse, The Boston Globe
“A voice for the ages.”
–Ted Drozdowski, Boston Phoenix
“Dwight & Nicole are truly great.”
–Dr. John (backstage at the Regent Theatre)
–Dr. Maya Angelou (backstage at Symphony Hall)
Read what Steve Morse— former staff music critic at the Boston Globe and nominating committee member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame —has to say about Dwight Nicole individually, and collectively.Read On