Rock On Philly’s April Artist of the Month, Nik Greeley, recently released his debut solo EP, Town Gypsy. The former frontman of Black Stars, Greeley has taken his soulful voice into a more polished and controlled atmosphere that brings in heavy jazz influence. Half the songs are love-fueled numbers, while the other half acknowledge the imperfections of life and take them in stride with an attitude of progress and maybe a cigarette or two.
The lead track, “Electric Sex,” is a upbeat song that is sure to stir up flames on the dancefloor. With a grooving beat and smooth vocal melodies, Nik Greeley creates a banger complete with his own raspy shouts, a sweeter sounding female voice, and a bold trumpet solo. “Hypnotized” continues with the themes of the opening track, but in a subtle way that is more suited for the lounge after the raging opening track. The bass and horns discretely create sounds that bring up imagery of somewhere more romantic, and Greeley’s voice reeks of seduction. He howls “I can’t let go, she took my soul!” over a twangy guitar riff and more enticing horns, making for a classic-sounding jazz track.
“Way It Goes” transcends the rest of the songs on the EP. The laid back approach is created with a tranquil acoustic guitar riff, the soft side of Greeley’s voice, and a gentle trumpet that sends the chorus to cloud nine. Nik calmly delivers lines like “and I see you out, but you’re so worn out / we’ve turned into strangers in a burned down town / and that’s the way it goes, or so I’m told / and your heart it breaks but you still move on, you keep moving on,” and his own thought process really helps put just about any situation in perspective. In “Gypsy Blues,” Greeley shows his hard rock roots with deep, clamoring guitar riffs and pounding drums. His style of brushing things off comes through directly in the lyrics, he exclaims “I really can’t complain, this is the life I chose!.” The southern style riffs and his belting vocals end the EP on a high note, and drive home the idea of being a town gypsy; not having much sense of direction but moving forward because you can’t go anywhere else.
On his debut solo release, Nik Greeley shows a knack for writing emotional tracks that will make you swoon with love or motivate you to accept things how they are and move forward. Whether the song is revolving around sexuality or personal betterment, Greeley writes lyrics that can hit hard and music that creates a reinforcing context for his thoughts. Below, watch the music video for “Gypsy Blues,” and stream “Way It Goes” as well as a live session performed at WKDU. Also, read ROP’s interview with Nik to learn more about him and how Town Gypsy came to be.