Boston-based collective Lick Neon is truly a breath of fresh air.
Comprising musicians and artists, the group has spent the last year bringing their fun, celebratory, and cathartic shows through their local underground circuit, awakening Boston’s bars and basements with their eclectic, laid-back blend of the old, the new, Texas blues, slacker rock, and folk.
Nick, Lick Neon’s lead singer and writer, curated a playlist of songs that inspired their upcoming EP exclusively for Musical Notes Global. Check it out below.
“Run That Body Down”-Paul Simon
When I started taking songwriting seriously, I was about 13 or 14 years old. I was headed to see Sting and Paul Simon at The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. Though I was a lifelong fan of Sting, I had never even heard any of Paul Simon’s music. That night I was a new man, with a newfound passion for the folk songwriting style.
This track is on Paul Simon’s debut solo record, and I feel like it captures what I would define as the perfect song. I use this song as my main reference for songwriting. I go to this song when I have questions or ideas. I wouldn’t say I rip this song off, but I certainly let it give me advice.
“If I Ever Lose My Faith in You”-Sting
Sting is the man. Always was and always will be the man. This guy is the reason you are reading this now. I heard The Police when I was 6 years old, and became a musician days later.
This song serves me as a reminder to not lose faith in the path that I am on. In this song, who “you” actually is is unclear. That is the beauty of this song. Sting let’s me decide who “you” is and for me, “you” is my road. I see my road now and it is gonna be a bumpy one, but I know I will stay true.
“You Can Close Your Eyes”-James Taylor
James Taylor is my guitar teacher. He doesn’t know that, but he is. I heard his finger-style guitar playing in high school, and immediately dedicated myself to the craft. I even studied with his brother Livingston for a while.
As a folk based writer, “You can close your eyes” is a song that EVERY folk artist wishes they wrote. I sing this song in the lonely hours of the night on my porch. This song’s melody is my therapy and It’s chords are my home.
”Black Water”-Doobie Brothers
Damn, the Doobie Brothers really had it going on in the 70s. in 1974 they put this track out and this song is something I use as a reference when arranging for the live show.
Though some of my songs are tender, I always make sure the live show is a thrilling experience. That’s what people pay to see and that is what they get. This song rides the line between tenderness and rowdy behavior. I live on that line.
“Ain’t That Easy”-D’Angelo
When I got to Berklee College of Music, D’Angelo’s discography was practically a required catalog to understand. Kids walking around getting stoned blasting this track out of bluetooth speakers, dancing around in the Boston alleyways.
D’Angelo is another influence of mine for arranging. I love using R&B styles in folk when writing the arrangements of my rhythm section. Also on this track, the harmonies are those of the gods. The intro of this song slaps me every time and I am still working on transcribing them. I put a lot of effort into my vocal harmonies and D’Angelo is a master. This song represents his mastery.
“Never Going Back Again”-Fleetwood Mac
I had a Fleetwood Mac shrine in my room growing up. I wanted, and still want, to be Lindsay Buckingham. This band is captures the same vibrations that I can only hope Lick Neon will capture.
It’s hard to pick one Fleetwood Mac song to discuss, but this track does it for me personally. Lindsay’s finger style guitar on this song is so insane, I have no idea how he came up with it. It’s almost cynical but so giddy. It’s clever and it has personality. Finger style guitar and a good vocal line, its the perfect song in my opinion. This track gets to the point and does it with eloquence and ease.
“The Spy”-The Doors
The Doors are my everything. I look up to Jim Morrison like a father figure. I hope to never be as unhealthy as he was, of course, but I hope to reach his level of awareness. Jim’s lyrics and phrasing take me all the way, and the way he is so casual is the icing on the cake.
“The Spy” takes me back to Texas and The doors really capture the blues here. I am all about the blues in an unordinary fashion. This slow, eerie blues is a true expression, and I model my blues songs to be unorthodox blues songs, with unpredictable nuances. The Doors were experts in this field.
”For The First Time”-Mac DeMarco
Mac DeMarco is the top dog. The writing coming from that dude is timeless, innovative, and sincere. We have not had someone like him since Lennon, in my personal opinion.
His latest record, “This Old Dog”, is his best work and he is progressing with every release. To see someone close to my age making music like this and getting such a great response gives me hope for myself and my project. “For the first time” is a song that I have a lot of memories to. A lot of heartbreak came over me a year ago, and then he released this record. This album, and especially this song, got me through that time. I am most of all grateful to Mac for writing this song. If I meet him, my first words will be, “Thank you”.