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Jared James Nichols serves another fantastic Home Stand with the pleasant surprise of opener, Hero Jr.


Sometimes; well actually more times than I like to admit, an opener is just an opener, with me growing impatient for the headliner, usually just after a few songs. In full confession, I had spent my time prepping for the return of Jared James Nichols, leaving me without any idea of what to expect with Hero, Jr.

Hero Jr

Hero Jr. is Evan Haughey (vocals/guitar), Ken Rose (lead guitar), David DuBrava (bass) and Ryan Keyes (drums). I was instantly drawn to Evan’s voice and the lyrics of “Jump Ship,” which was well complimented with David’s bass work and Ryan’s energetic drum skills when suddenly my full attention went to Ken’s guitar playing.

David DuBrava 2 of Hero Jr

For me, Ken’s guitar work is a near perfect blend of the best from the 1970’s to the present, without any nonsense filler, as I felt every note and witnessed him energized the entire crowd at Shank Hall!  

Evan Haughey & Ken Rose1 of Hero Jr

I had a chance to speak briefly with Ken after their show. He shared the story of how he and Evan met, by <destined> chance in IN, and wound up enjoying what they did so much, that Ken moved back from Europe to partner with Evan in Hero, Jr.. What impressed me the most during our discussion, and I can easily hear in their live music and their vinyl album “Sometimes You Just Got to Give It the Business,”  is how creatively soulful they are, as they play from their hearts, “to give our music the most authenticity!”  

Ken Rose 8 of Hero Jr

Speaking about their album, Ken explained: “We do our own recording and production.” What is so impressive is the masterful quality production of “Sometimes You Just Got to Give It the Business,” and the brilliance of Hero, Jr.’s music, as it takes a lot for me to keep spinning an entire album of originals, especially of a band I had just met. 

Ryan Keyes of Hero Jr

Hero Jr. is a band I need to have return to Milwaukee STAT as the headliner!

SMOKIN’ HOT time with Jared James Nichols

Jared James Nichols 38

One of my greatest pleasures over the past decade has been a front-row seat to Wisconsin’s Jared James Nichols, as I continue to witness his dreams turn into an exciting career, which is also why I try to never miss him when he returns to WI.

Jared James Nichols 33

Jared James Nichols is a powerhouse of technique while combining Blues and Rock with both his original songs and his tasty selection of covers.  There are great guitarists who have spent countless hours practicing and then there’s Jared, who not only puts his practice time in, he studies the significant history of music, as he consistently shows us he blends the best of both.

Ronnie Elvis James 12 of Jared James Nichols

He has performed with the late David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, which was the direct link to Robert Johnson, during Earwig Records 30th Anniversary Celebration.  Jared has also opened for many of his heroes including Zakk Wylde (Jared James Nichols opened for Zakk’s entire Book of Shadows II tour), Kenny Wayne Shepherd, UFO, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, and Derek Trucks. His discography includes ‘Black Magic,’ ‘Old Glory & The Wild Revival,’ my favorite vinyl EP – ‘Highwayman,’ and ‘Jared James Nichols ‘Live at the Viper Room.’

Ronnie Elvis James of Jared James Nichols

‘Highwayman’ is an EP I happen to spin frequently, due to Jared James Nichols’ SMOKIN’ HOT covers of “We’re an American Band” and “30 Days in the Hole.”  

Dennis Holm 1 of Jared James Nichols

He also just dropped a new single, “Nails in my Coffin,” which we got to experience during his performance at Shank Hall. The track is a tremendous effort as Jared captures both haunting blues and melodic rock!  

Jared James Nichols 4

Jared also whipped out a brilliant cover of James Gang’s “Funk 49,” with adding his own polish, which was highly received, judged by the reaction from all who were at Shank Hall! His current band includes Dennis Holm (drums) and Ronnie ‘Elvis’ James (bass).  

Jared James Nichols 3

I promise you will not be disappointed if you follow Jared James Nichols, especially if you catch him live!

See full gallery of the night here!

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