Blues guitarist Nick Moss is a diehard practitioner of the Chicago blues style. Leading his raucous band the Flip Tops, Moss pursues a sound that is as unique as it is familiar. With plenty of blistering fretwork and wild blasts of harp, Moss and his crew deliver a joyous brand of pure houserockin' blues.
It wasn't a regular guitar that Nick Moss first picked up, but rather a bass guitar that he first learned to play. Moss learned a lot about the blues by watching his older brother, guitarist Joe Moss, perform with bluesman Buddy Scott. After graduating from high school, the younger Moss took the bass slot in Scott's band, before later joining Jimmy Dawkens' band as his bassist.
As Moss continued to hone his instrumental skills, he moved from bass to six-string guitar as part of the Legendary Blues Band, playing and recording with Chicago blues legend and former Muddy Waters drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Later, Moss would spend three years polishing his blues pedigree touring with legendary guitarist Jimmy Rogers. Moss also lent his six-string skills to recordings by blues artists like Smith, Big Bill Morganfield, and Monster Mike Welch.
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops
After spending a decade in the employ of various Chicago blues lifers, Moss decided in the late-1990s to form his own band. Nick Moss and the Flip Tops released their debut album, First Offense, in 1999, followed by Got A New Plan in 2001. Both albums were released by Blue Bella Records, the independent label formed by Nick Moss and his wife Kate.
Both of Moss and the Flip Tops' first two albums received a fair amount of critical acclaim, the former for its adherence to a vintage 1950s-styled Chicago blues sound, the latter for its incorporation of a contemporary edge along with 1960s and '70s blues influences. Moss and the band's reputation continued to grow with the release of Blues Music Award nominated albums like Count Your Blessings in 2003, and Sadie Mae - named after Nick and Kate's daughter - in 2005.
Live At Chan's
The fifth album from Nick Moss and the Flip Tops was Live At Chan's, a scorching 2006 live set that would become the band's break-out release. Moss followed a year later with the critically-acclaimed two-disc set, Play It Til Tomorrow; both albums also received Blues Music Award nominations from The Blues Foundation. In 2009, at the request of fans, Moss returned to the scene of his earlier success and recorded Live At Chan's: Combo Platter No. 2 with guest star Lurrie Bell.
Aside from constant touring (100+ dates yearly) and an ambitious slate of releases that includes seven albums in ten years from Moss and the Flip Tops, Nick and Kate's Blue Bella Records label has also been busy, releasing acclaimed albums from Flip Top harpist Gerry Hundt, the Bill Lupkin Blues Band, and the Kilborn Alley Blues Band. With his own music, and his support of other musicians, Nick Moss is a one-man Chicago blues cottage industry.
Recommended Albums: Either of the two live albums do a fine job of capturing fire in a bottle, although the addition of guitarist Lurrie Bell favors Live At Chan's: Combo Platter No. 2. The two-CD Play It 'Til Tomorrow, with one electric disc and one acoustic, is a masterpiece of modern Chicago blues music. Moss mixed up blues and rock for his Privileged (2010) and Here I Am (2011) albums while 2013's Time Ain't Easy offers a near-perfect blend of blues, rock, and soul music while featuring new vocalist Michael Ledbetter.
Nick Moss & the Flip Tops Discography
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- First Offense (Blue Bella Records, 1999)
- Got A New Plan (Blue Bella Records, 2001)
- Count Your Blessings (Blue Bella Records, 2003)
- Sadie Mae (Blue Bella Records, 2005)
- Live At Chan's (Blue Bella Records, 2006)
- Play It Til Tomorrow (Blue Bella Records, 2007)
- Live At Chan's: Combo Platter No. 2 (Blue Bella Records, 2009)
- Privileged (Blue Bella Records, 2010)
- Here I Am (Blue Bella Records, 2011>
- Time Ain't Free (Blue Bella Records, 2014)