Scott Nolan on 2/20/2013

His music earnest and expectant, if a little weatherworn and weary, Winnipeg-based songwriter and performer Scott Nolan has earned the esteem his works have rendered. Some have called him noteworthy, even acclaimed – but the smart money cites Nolan as a voice rarely heard this side of the century, a musician who shrugs away any five-dollar-cover singer-songwriter motifs before he unsnaps his guitar case. His are the songs sung for people with a past, sturdily backlit with unswerving musicianship and a disposition rooted in the best of rock n’ roll, roots and Americana.

Born in Toronto and raised in Winnipeg, Nolan hasn’t been without an instrument in his hands as far back as he can remember. His efforts in several bands, including Leaderhouse and Motel 75, soon directed him toward a strong solo career that has secured him a place in the ranks of the country’s finest songwriters and performers. A seasoned multi-instrumentalist, Nolan has recorded (alongside bandmate and drummer Joanna Miller) with several modern Americana tastemakers, including the Holmes Brothers, Hayes Carll and Gurf Morlix.

Weaving seamlessly between the twang of parlor electric guitar and heavy-hearted dirges, Nolan’s body of work offers an interchange of heady balladry as well as more muscular outflow. With five full-length recordings, two Western Canadian Music Award nominations and countless tours, “Bad Liver/Broken Heart” – a track from Nolan’s latest record, Receiver/Reflector – won second prize in the International Songwriting Competition in 2008 in the Americana category. Nolan’s latest album, Montgomery Eldorado is slated for release in 2011 on Transistor 66 Records.

Though some of his compositions deliver in a sparse and intimate tender – some would say even hushed – Nolan’s sonic rancor isn’t dug in too deeply, breaking forth with a crisp, yet threadbare elegance reminiscent of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith. Scott Nolan’s music is not the stuff that sidles into the background — even when it’s obscured: anyone who knows what’s worth looking at will know exactly where to find it.