Ken Nicol plays acoustic and electric guitar, resonator guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin and ukulele. He’s a highly acclaimed musician, singer, songwriter, producer, playwright and composer, and as well as his extensive solo work he’s been a member of Steeleye Span and The Albion Band and worked with artists ranging from Al Stewart to Phil Cool. He has recording credits on more than 50 albums.
His music ranges from folk to ragtime, blues to rock, ballads to jazz, amazingly intricate instrumentals to singalong comedy numbers.
Born in Preston, Lancashire, Ken had early success as one half of Nicol & Marsh’s Easy Street along with Pete Marsh. They recorded four albums on the CBS and Polydor labels, before he moved to Los Angeles in the late-1970s.
Returning to the UK in 1989, Ken recorded solo albums Living In A Spanish Town, Two Frets From The Blues, as well as working with other artists including Chris While, now of renowned duo While & Matthews.
In 1996, Ken started working with Ashley Hutchings – the man who founded British folk-rock giants Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band. It was to prove a very fruitful partnership which continues to this day. Ken has worked with Ashley in The Ashley Hutchings Dance Band, The Albion Band and as a duo.
Ken joined legendary folk-rockers Steeleye Span in 2002, touring the world and recording a further four albums with the band.
In early 2010 Ken took the difficult decision to leave Steeleye Span, in order to concentrate on his many other projects which see him performing across the UK, Europe, New Zealand and Australia.”
What others say about Ken Nicol:
“Formidable and painstakingly acquired skills on both acoustic and electric guitars, a very high class player indeed. Flexible too. He seems comfortable with whatever style is tossed at him.”
“I first met Ken when we collaborated on an Ashley Hutchings song on his last album. I was amazed at Ken’s beautiful ragtime guitar style.
He has such a great way of delivering a story and gently laying down the punch line. Humour, great guitar skill and the right drop of humility, and a passion for right, proper, good music.”
“Ken Nicol is a consummate musician. A guitarist of broad scope, a sensitive singer and an intelligent writer of songs with stirring melodies. A musical paragon.”
KEN NICOL’S “INITIAL VARIATIONS” CD ~ REVIEWS
Acoustic Magazine: The musicianship is staggering, seldom are the compositions less than inspired.
Living Tradition: I would urge even listeners who wouldn’t normally subject themselves to an entire album of instrumentals to give this one a bash. . . KN at his best – rollercoasters of musical virtuosity that spellbind . . .
Record Collector: Guitar players will appreciate his masterclass style, while more general listeners will be aware that his gift for melody carries the album higher than the rest.