1. What does it mean to be selected as a finalist?
My wife and I are super new to Texas, and neither of us knew too much about the music scene here before we moved to Houston. Being selected as a top ten finalist is a really exciting way to dive into the scene and get to know so many amazing songwriters and performers. Obviously, it’s a huge honor.
2. How did you select the songs for the Wildflower contest and are they based on any memories or experiences?
Funny enough, one song “Bones of my Beloved” is about my recent move from North Carolina to New York City then to Houston and what it’s like to miss home and the friends and family and places that were so important to me there. I think the song is trying to work toward accepting the fact that I had good reasons for leaving and that my family and friends will be alright. I wrote the other song, “Who Haunts this Place,” for my wedding. Some friends played it and surprised my wife with it, so the song is pretty special to me.
3. Other than the guitar, fiddle and mandolin, what instruments do you also know how to play? What make/model will you use during your Wildflower performances?
Fiddle is my main instrument–I’ve been playing since I was four—and I eventually fell in love with guitar sometime in middle school. Mandolin is just what inevitably happens when a fiddle player learns guitar. Otherwise, I’m not very good at other instruments, but can sometimes fake it on keys. I’m super excited to be playing a Martin D-16 at Wildflower. I bought it not too long ago though I’ve been lusting after it for a while–we’re still honeymooning.
5. Is bluegrass your preferred genre?
Right now, I’m placing myself in the Americana genre because it seems to hold together the country, bluegrass, folk, pop, and gospel sounds I grew up with. Being from the mountains of North Carolina, it’s impossible to get away from bluegrass (which I think is a pretty neat stroke of luck), and I embrace the bluegrass threads woven in my music. But I’m not disciplined enough to be a true bluegrass picker.
6. Where is the best place to experience songwriting utopia?
Somewhere quiet and kinda private where I can listen to my thoughts and feelings and everything else that gets dumped into the songwriting crock pot.
7. Do you have a favorite quote, lyric, or credo that you live by?
I do have a credo! It’s the North Carolina state motto:
“Esse quam videri.”
It means “To be rather than to seem.” Pretty straight forward stuff but also challenging.
8. Does it take practice to rattle off lyrics at such a quick tempo? Do you ever insert or omit a word here and there when performing?
This question makes me chuckle a little because I never realized I don’t get tongue-tied by my own songs. (Let’s hope I didn’t just jinx it.) If I cut out or insert words during a show, it’s normally to clean up some language (sorry, Mom) or riff on something with the audience.
9. How did you meet your wife and will she be in the audience on Saturday during the contest?
My wife and I met our first week of our freshman year of college. She was dating someone else at the time, so we became good friends for a few years until we eventually started dating. I know it can be a cliché, but I actually married my best friend which has been pretty cool. It’s like I’m always double-dipping–I get to go to Wildflower with my partner and my best friend and they don’t have to feud over getting an extra ticket. So, yea, that’s a really weird way of saying, we’re both coming to Wildflower this weekend!
Nathan Evans Fox is competing with the other finalists on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 11:30 a.m. on the UnitedHealthcare Singer Songwriter Stage located inside the Eisemann Center at the 25th Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival. Nathan will also perform on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on the CityLine Stage. Additional information about the 2017 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest and the full list of Top 10 Finalists is detailed on the website: http://www.wildflowerfestival.com/songwriter-contest-workshop/. #WAMFest2017