May 8, 2013

B-sides

Workingman

Southern Indiana-based Americana singer/songwriter Nick Dittmeier has been playing music professionally for almost half his life, and now he has an EP, Extra Better, to show for it. While it’s the first release under his given name, he led the band Slithering Beast for several years, so he’s no newborn. WFPK has been playing “I Can Sing” from the EP, and Dittmeier celebrates its release with a show at the Monkey Wrench on Friday, May 17.

“My grandma is a music teacher, she taught me how to play guitar,” he says, sounding like a country song even in conversation. His dad Paul Dittmeier is now his pedal steel player, though he never showed young Nick how to play two decades ago.

As a boy, Dittmeier wanted to play in a band, partly because he thought a kid across the street was in a band he could join. He was wrong, so they started a new band instead.

In his teens, the streets of Louisville were filled with coffeehouses and other all-ages venues welcoming to unknown troubadours, more so than today, so he began learning how to win over crowds in that polite fashion. Today he mostly plays in bars and sees what he does as a job like any other, “like a guy who sweeps the floors.” He’s unlikely to label himself “an artist” but doesn’t care what you call him (“Nick”’s fine).

His new EP was recorded in his drummer’s house off Mellwood Avenue. “It was probably the most fun record I’ve gotten to make, because I didn’t think too hard about it. When I was tracking, I’d just go and do it and then leave.”

As a result, he sounds more relaxed, “more mellow,” he thinks, on the new recordings. He’s equally relaxed about its commercial prospects, even as he begins working on the next one.

His hope is to get a label interested in putting out his next record, or some radio airplay out of town — no private cruise with Beyoncé for this regular guy, just a realistic, down-to-earth dream he can work toward.