Country strong: Nicolette Good never listened to country music, so where does her music come from?

Alternative country-rock and folk, Americana, slide guitars, a powerful voice that sounds like it’s straight out of Nashville, and even more powerful songs. No doubt about it: Nicolette Good is a rootsy, country girl.

“Actually, no,” she says. “My music is a mystery even to myself. I never really listened to country music, so I don’t know why whenever I open my mouth all these country tunes come out.”

No matter how hard I press her to explore her past, the Grand Ole Opry never comes up. Her family never listened to country music. Instead, Good grew up on a steady diet of, first, classic rock, then indie during her high school years. Now, her favorite band is Radiohead and she even had a listening party at home for The King of Limbs.

“But if I had to compare myself to someone, it would be `Canada’s` Kathleen Edwards. She’s doing a lot of things I’m trying to do, like marrying country and folk with a smart Americana cross-section. However, I think my songwriting comes from the Beatles.” Not a bad place to start.

She started writing songs in college, sang in choirs, completed a bachelor of arts in music, and earned her living mainly as a freelance writer.

“But I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to perform and write music,” she said. “That’s my thing.”

Two years ago, she hooked up with Melissa Ludwig (“I learned the ropes with her”), with whom she sang harmonies and played keyboards. The association was fruitful: Ludwig’s Now That You’re Here was chosen Best Album in the Current’s 2010 Rammy Awards, and Good herself was chosen Best Singer-Songwriter.

Her five-track debut EP Nicolette Good (read our review here), to be released March 5 at San Antone Café and Concerts, started as a three-song demo but just kept growing.

“Things started going better than I thought they would, and ‘Ramona,’ for example, ended up having 10 or 11 tracks of performers total,” she said, describing her album as a sample of her “backwards thinking.”

“I started the recording before I even had a band, but it was worth it to do it that way,” she said. “It was a necessary expensive lesson.”

In part, that’s why she did harmonies with herself on the album, but for her show she’ll perform with Carly Garza, formerly with Blue Means Go.

“`Carly` is great,” Good said. “She has a soulful, super-rich, character voice. I’m so glad she wants to sing with me. I love singing harmonies. I’m not like a diva singer who always has to be at the forefront. When two voices lock in, it’s just magical.”

Good is an anti-rock star. She just writes and sings her heart out, and when asked about why we should check out her show, she quickly talks about her opening acts.

“It’ll be a strong night,” she says. “I know you know Chris Maddin, but have you heard Doug Burr? He’s from Denton, and he’s one of those singer-songwriters who gives you chills and who sounds big without sounding loud.”

No, she’s definitely not from Nashville, and she isn’t going anywhere near Nashville anytime soon.

“I’m really proud of the album, yet I also see how much I grew in that year,” she said. “But I’m just like San Antonio: it’s a really good place to get started, it’s accessible and unpretentious. I’m not going to try to be cool. I just like to write songs, sing, and … go!”


Nicolette Good EP release party w. Chris Maddin and Doug Burr


9pm Sat, March 5

San Antone Café and Concerts

1150 S Alamo

(210) 271-7791

All ages

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