Most of you may not know Aubrey Nichols by name but would surely recognize him as the rhythm-wise bassist of one of Pensacola’s most beloved bands, Timberhawk. One of the founders of the area’s “Best Cover Band” according to IN readers is gracious for the recognition that his primary band has been getting and the support of the community, but there are some wild oats that need to be sowed, and Timberhawk isn’t the outlet to make it happen. Thus, Aubrey, with the help of some of his close musical companions, has started working on original music to fill the need to create.
“Before anybody gets the wrong idea, Timberhawk is still going full steam ahead. That is what pays the bills, and we all love playing music together,” says Nichols. “The thing is, we never thought of ourselves as a cover band until we won “Best Cover Band” in your newspaper. Thanks a lot (laughs). As a musician, I have a constant need to create original music, but with Timberhawk, even though we wrote originals, they were usually tailored to the nightclub crowds and weren’t really filling that musical void.”
Nichols, who grew up in the South and has a distinct talent for harnessing those rootsy rhythms of the past, has been writing and recording his own music to keep himself busy and satisfied in between Timberhawk gigs. Enlisting the help of fellow T-Hawks, guitarist Nathan Dillaha and some other pals, including brother Matt Nichols, to help with making the vision a reality, Aubrey has found a good outlet for his unique brand of rock ’n roll. The style, which is very mellow and eclectic, can only be summed up and explained by Nichols himself.
“If you know me, you know that I love that old rootsy Southern music, so you will definitely hear stuff that reminds you of The Band, Dr. John and things like that. But you also have Nathan’s guitar style, which is very spacey and atmospheric, so it makes for a wacky but very cool sound. I’ve also been getting into a lot of river music and New Orleans style rhythms. If I could label the new music at all, I’d say it sounds like river music battling alligators in space. It’s just a little more rootsy and a bit deeper than the original material we write in Timberhawk.”
Although he’s already done a few gigs with this new project, Nichols hasn’t quite settled on any solid name for the backup musicians, but instead likes to have a little fun with it. “Officially, it’s just Aubrey Nichols, but we’ve been changing the name of the band with each time we play. It was The Fun Friends for the first gig, then we called it the Crazy Cousins at the Drivin’ N Cryin’ show, and we’ve done a few under different names. As long as my name is up there, people will know what they’re getting into.”
Aside from using his music to satisfy his musical urges and keep himself busy, Nichols and friends will be using the power of melody to help a buddy in a much more serious way. “We will be doing a benefit show for a guy named Tony Martinez on July 16 at the Big Easy Tavern. Tony is a local musician from Pensacola, and he’s in need of funding for a liver transplant, so a bunch of different bands from the area are coming together to play all day and raise some dough for our friend. It’s on a Saturday, and it’s for a good cause, so there shouldn’t be any reason not to make it out.”
Already moving copies of an EP entitled “Three Thousand Four Hundred,” (named for the address of the house where the magic happens) Nichols will continue to work on original music and making the world a better place with it.
AUBREY NICHOLS AND THE GOOD TIME GANG
WHAT: Benefit for Tony Martinez
WHEN: 12 p.m. Saturday, July 16
WHERE: Big Easy Tavern, 710 N. Palafox