Nick Waterhouse grew up in a coastal town near Long Beach, CA. It was a serene setting: the ocean stretching out for miles to the North and South, manicured lawns, two-story homes, long swathes of concrete highway, fast food chains and mega malls. He was there for two decades. Then, he left.
He found a home in his early 20s in San Francisco, working at record stores alongside a collective of like minded young crate-diggers and 45 collectors. And then he started making his own records: “Time’s All Gone” in 2012, “Holly” in 2014, “Never Twice” in 2016, “Nick Waterhouse” in 2019. These were evocative albums, steeped in a perfectionism and clarity of vision that informed every choice, from the studios to the players, the arrangements to the album art.
Everything, deliberately designed and purposeful, bubbling over with power and feeling. And as those records rolled out into the world, Waterhouse found a dedicated audience of his own as well as a bevy of influential champions and collaborators, including garage-rock mystic Ty Segall, retro-futurist R&B bandleader Leon Bridges and the LA-based quartet Allah-Las, whose first two albums he meticulously produced and played on. There is a “Waterhouse Sound'' and it comes from both the man and the method — recording everything on magnet- ic tape, through analog equipment, and playing live (!), eyeball to eyeball, whenever possible.
Now, he’s finished his fifth album. Nick Waterhouse takes the color blue as his hue of choice as he takes a spiritual look to the past on new album, ‘Promenade Blue’ due out April 9 on Innovative Leisure.
The new collection sparkles beatifically, reverberating with energy, heart, creativity, and vibe from start to finish. Nowhere is this more evident than on the album’s opening track, “Place Names,” bringing teenaged memories to the forefront, pondering the pride he takes in his hometown and the distinct life that he has made (or that has made him). A soulful, sweeping arrangement punctuated with Girl Group backing vocals, “Place Names” which would find itself at home in a vibrant New Orlean’s club or alongside contemporaries Marlon Williams and The Budos Band.
The world of Promenade Blue represents rebirth and reinvigoration as well as a clarity of purpose. It is vivid and magnetic, buoyed by both light and density due to Nick’s newfound collaboration with co-producer Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, Devendra Banhart). It’s notGatsby’s New York in the 1920s, it’s Waterhouse’s California in the 2020s.