Nick Moss Band perform ‘Shade Tree’

The Nick Moss Band perform “Shade Tree” at Second Story Garage music video studio in Boulder, Colorado.

Guitarist Nick Moss used to be in The Legendary Blues Band — that’s the one from the movie “The Blues Brothers,” and the band’s drummer, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, is the one who suggested Moss switch from bass to guitar. Singer Michael Ledbetter, a distant relative of legendary folk artist Leadbelly, used to be a professional opera performer in Chicago. Put these two on a stage together and you’ve got yourself quite a show.

That’s the Nick Moss Band. Moss and Ledbetter — backed by Taylor Streiff on keys, Nick Fane on bass and Patrick Seals on drums — are the one-two punch of a musical knockout. The Chicago-based group delivers a bluesy, soulful rock set that’s packed tight with skill and power.

Moss also knows how to write an incisive tune, and his “Shade Tree,” which the band premiered in the Garage and which we posted by itself on Thanksgiving Day, is especially poignant in light of recent events. The song was inspired by the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., but the song took on much more meaning after the announcement there would be no indictment against Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Brown, and the ensuing protests. Moss explains in his interview with Quentin how he came to write “Shade Tree.”

If you haven’t already listened to “Shade Tree,” we suggest you do so immediately. But don’t overlook the band’s two other outstanding songs, “Catch Me I’m Falling” and “Grateful.”

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Your host

Your host Quentin Young, reporter at the Times-Call (Longmont), and Daily Camera (Boulder) respectively.

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