By Karynn Brown
April 8, 2019
Kansas City’s Nick Schnebelen arrives at the Zoo Bar Wednesday for a midweek early evening blues performance.
Schnebelen was raised in a musical family, surrounded by parents and grandparents in the music industry. Schnebelen later went on to form “Trampled Under Foot” with his siblings, Danielle Nicole and Kris Schnebelen. The band was founded as a side project for all of the members who had previously performed in various bands. They went on to release Badlands, a 2013 album that reached the number one place on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums Chart. The very next year, Trampled Under Foot won Best Artist of the Year at the Blues Foundation’s Blues Music Awards.
Schnebelen, who won the 2008 Albert King Award for his guitar playing, still often performs with the Nick Schnebelen Band, a rotating cast of bass and guitar players from around the blues genre. This week’s group consists of Chris Moore (bass) and Adam Hagerman (drums).
From a background of both classical and jazz guitar, Schnebelen’s style lays a heavy hand on electric, steel and slide guitar pushing melody and mood forward.
“I like things that are very potent and simple,” says Schnebelen on his website. “They get straight to the point.”
Schnebelen’s has made tour runs through the United States and overseas, including a residency on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise for October and November of last year. His discography includes two live albums from Kansas City performances: Live at Knuckleheads Vol. 1 (2016), Live in Kansas City (2016), and his debut studio album, Crazy All By Myself (2019). The latter sustained a number 13 place on Billboard’s Top Blues Album chart the week of March 16.
As a much anticipated studio album, Crazy All By Myself has gained traction for its harmonious mix of vocals and guitar, as well as prominent features of piano and harmonica. The album itself tells tales of journeying through lost love and lessons learned. The first half features upbeat, and dance-ready songs that hail to Schnebelen’s funk and jazz past while the second is a denouement of slower and more steady-paced poignant pieces.
His appearance at the Zoo Bar this week is an early stop for the April tour run which will continue into Omaha and Kansas City before departing for Switzerland, Australia and Norway. Catch him and his band at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Zoo and tune in KZUM’s “Highway Blues” for an in-studio interview and performance, at 3:30 p.m.
Karynn Brown is a multimedia intern with KZUM.