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Local musicians set to tour Europe
Band pic
The Nigel Wright band is set to go on a European tour beginning in late June that will include performances in Frankfurt, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland. - photo by Chelsea Thomas Dawson Community News

When local resident Clay Dean first approached singer Nigel Wright in 2010 at a local cafe he didn't imagine the two would later be touring Europe through a German record label.

Yet, Dean and fellow 2011 Dawson County High School graduate Jamey Merritt find themselves in those exact circumstances.

Nigel Wright of Pickens County said it all started with a social network message that he thought was a scam.

"These two German guys who were doing neo-classical music had begun their own label and were looking for other artists to work with," Wright said.

"A friend of theirs recommended that they check out this guy named Nigel Wright, a noise artist from New Zealand. They looked him up but thankfully when they typed in his name all they had was my music."

According to its Web site, the record company, Butterfly Collectors, couldn't shake Wright's "haunting sounds" and finally sent him a message.

"A few weeks later they offered to release my music ... it was an amazing coincidence," Wright said.

Dean, a bass player, was pulled into the mix when Wright and the company decided they needed a band to appeal to European festivals. Drummer Merritt completed the three-piece set.

"I contacted Clay and Jamey and we were flown out [in January] to do promotional videos that we would present to festivals to bring us on," Wright said.

Dean said it was "cool" flying to Germany, but stressful with limited time to prepare.

"We weren't a band until a month before we flew to Germany. We had a month to prepare these songs and put together these arrangements," Dean said.

Most of Wright's initial music was solo work, leaving a challenge to incorporate the drums and bass.

"It's an ongoing process to keep the poignancy and the enchanting qualities of the solo work. When you started to analyze it there were crazy key changes and time signatures," Wright said. "There is a very specific atmosphere to it that was easy for me to achieve by myself, but difficult to share it with other people."

Now, months after their trip to Germany, the group's first album has been released, a remastered version of 16-year-old Wright's home recordings titled "Millfoil."

Dean, a previous member of the high school's chamber singers and percussion ensemble, said he really admires Wright's vocal style.

"The really nice thing about [the] album is that it's just so bare. It's just a guitar and a voice with occasional harmonies. It's haunting," he said.

One song titled "Anna" has more than 7,000 listens on the band's Web site and is reported to have had 5,000 downloads on Swiss iTunes the week it was released.

The Nigel Wright band's next local performance is at 8 p.m. Saturday at His Rock Café at 236 Hwy. 53 West, Dawsonville. Admission is $4.

The band's European tour will begin in late June and will include performances in Frankfurt, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland.

For more information on the music, visit