Nick Moss kept the sound of classic Chicago blues alive in the 21st century. He worked his way up through the ranks, initially playing bass with Buddy Scott & the Legendary Blues Band, but really making his name as a guitarist for the Jimmy Rogers Band. Moss headed out on his own at the tail-end of the ’90s, initially supported by a group called the Flip Tops. By the end of the 2000s, he turned his backing band into the Nick Moss Band, and it was in this incarnation that the guitarist began to rack up accolades and acclaim that only gained strength when the group teamed with harpist Dennis Gruenling for a pair of albums in the late 2010s. The first of these, 2018’s The High Cost of Low Living, helped Moss earn the award of Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year by the Blues Music Awards in 2019, an indication that he was indeed keeping the flame of Chicago blues burning.
A native of Chicago, Nick Moss was born on December 15, 1969. Initially drawn to sports, his athletic dreams were dashed after kidney surgery, so he pursued his other love: the blues. He began playing music in his teens, picking up bass at first. Moss played bass for Buddy Scott for a couple of years before jumping to Jimmy Dawkins’ backing band. In the early ’90s, he joined Willie “Big Eyes” Smith’s Legendary Blues Band, on the condition that he switch from bass to guitar.
Moss played on the Legendary Blues Band’s final album, 1993’s Money Talks, but he got his six-string sea legs by playing with Jimmy Rogers for three years before he formed Nick Moss & the Flip Tops. The band’s first album, First Offense, appeared on his own label, Blue Bella, in 1998, but the group got off the ground with 2001’s Got a New Plan, which was the first of four consecutive albums to earn a W.C. Handy nomination. These next three LPs arrived quickly: Count Your Blessings appeared in 2003, Sadie Mae in 2005, and Live at Chan’s in 2006. After 2007’s Play It ’til Tomorrow, Moss abandoned the appellation Nick Moss & the Flip Tops, renaming his group the Nick Moss Band in 2009.
The first album from the Nick Moss Band was 2010’s Privileged, and musicians would wind their way in and out of the band over the next decade, but along with Moss, guitarist/vocalist Michael Ledbetter and drummer Patrick Seals anchored the band. The Nick Moss Band started to gain traction in 2013, when 2011’s Here I Am earned a Blues Music Award nomination for Rock Blues Album, while 2014’s Time Ain’t Free broadened their fan base. Live & Luscious followed in 2015 and From the Root to the Fruit arrived in 2016. Moss teamed up with harpist Dennis Gruenling for 2018’s The High Cost of Low Living, the group’s first album for Alligator Records. After its release, the Blues Music Awards named Moss Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year.
The Nick Moss Band re-teamed with Dennis Gruenling for 2019’s Lucky Guy. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi