After almost three decades in the music industry Hayden Nicholas, guitarist for country music star Clint Black, is showing no signs of slowing down.
“It’s just been a roller coaster,” Nicholas said of the time he’s spent playing with Clint Black, noting the two are “like brothers.” “We’ve had ups and downs, but we’ve come to terms with everything and we all are close like a family.”
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Nicholas learned how to play guitar at age nine. By the time he was 14, guitar playing became a full time gig. However, his big break wouldn’t come until 1987 at age 30 when he met country singer Clint Black.
“I met him in Houston, where we both lived at the time, at a show I was playing in a band at, and he was splitting the show with them,” Nicholas said. “We just met and started talking and he played me some of his songs and I played him some of mine, and I had a recording studio, we got together and that’s how it all got started.”
It didn’t take long for the pair to turn themselves into country music superstars. Two years later in 1989, Black’s first album, “Killin’ Time,” topped the charts in the United States. For Nicholas, the sudden fame came as a surprise.
“It seemed like in no time we were headlining arenas,” Nicholas said. “It all just happened so fast.”
Black, Nicholas, and the rest of the band kept busy throughout the 1990’s, with their albums selling millions of copies worldwide. The band took some time off in the early 2000’s, but Nicholas says that they are back and better then ever.
“This new show is like a breath of fresh air for us,” Nicholas said. “Clint and I are doing a lot of stuff on acoustic guitar, so it’s more intimate, but we’ve still got drums and bass so it’s still dynamic. The long-time fans have said this is the best show they’ve seen. I think the intimacy and the way he communicates with the fans is a big part of that.”
Clint Black, along with Nicholas and the rest of his band, will perform at the E.A. Rawlinson Centre in Prince Albert on Oct. 18 at 7:30 p.m.
Recently, Nicholas has taken on a new challenge, becoming a published author with his first novel “Ezekiel’s Choice.”
“Ezekiel is a former special forces soldier that, in the aftermath of a national tragedy has to escort a family across Texas by foot,” Nicholas said, describing the plot of his novel. “It’s a fiction thriller, and most people say it’s a real fast read. And that’s what I want from a book. I spent a lot of time reading on tour buses and in airports, so I like a book that keeps you on the edge of your seat.”
Nicholas says that writing came easy for him, describing the process as very similar to songwriting.
“Songwriting is just another form of communicating,” Nicholas said. “Obviously it’s different than writing books, but it’s an extension of it. It’s a strange process, kind of like songwriting in the sense that you have an idea, and you start playing around with it and something comes to you.”
However, Nicholas has no plans to drop his music career to become a full time author. He says at his age, he isn’t looking for a new job, and that he still loves touring with Clint Black and the rest of the band.
“What’s important is we still really love playing,” Nicholas said. “And with this show right now, we’re having more fun than we’ve ever had.”