Back in high school I got on a Jefferson Airplane kick. I’m not sure how it happened, but one day I was suddenly consumed with the idea of getting all of their albums and any bootlegs I could find and trade for. It was an unexpected urge. It probably had something to do with Jim Carrey’s karaoke rendition of “Somebody to Love” in The Cable Guy, but most likely not.
More to the point, on their debut album Surrealistic Pillow it wasn’t “White Rabbit” or “Somebody to Love” or “She Has Funny Cars” that left the greatest impression. No, it was the one song without Grace Slick’s inimitable warble that converted me from casual fan to proselytizer.
“Embryonic Journey” is beautiful. Anyone that hears that song can’t deny it raw tranformative beauty. It makes you stop and listen, regardless of what you’re doing. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Detroit music teacher and instrumental guitar player Nick Schillace that I heard the same unmistakable beauty. The kind that illuminates a sunny day, that works just beneath the level of consciousness.
Schillace has nothing to fall back on musically, there are no obtuse lyrics to make audiences think the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. There is only the melodies. He is alone, as a boxer or writer is, conquering the world with his talents. Only his guitar and finger-picking storytelling abilities.
There are few like him making this kind of music – illuminating our world as the great painters have always done. Weaving a tapestry of layers, so that you never experience the same thing twice. So this is me, proselytizing once again, I hope you’ll open the door and lend Nick Schillace your ear.
Landscapes and People is out now via Burly Time Records