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He's From A Kansas City Blues Family, But Nick Schnebelen Proclaims He's 'Crazy All By Myself'

Nick Schnebelen
Nick Schnebelen has played with bands such as Trampled Under Foot and K-Floor, and has toured with Buddahead. He has just released his first solo studio album.

Music runs in Nick Schnebelen's family, especially the blues. 

His parents, Lisa Swedlund and the late Robert Schnebelen, were musicians known for the band Little Eva and the Works. Music was always playing around the house, and when he was about 10, Schnebelen recalled, his dad started listening to a lot of blues.

"I started really getting into it around 12, 13," Schnebelen told Chuck Haddix, host of KCUR's Fish Fry. "And I just loved the way the blues guitar sounded, you know. I just fell in love with it."

Schnebelen and his siblings, Kris and Danielle (who performs now as Danielle Nicole), started the blues and soul band Trampled Under Foot in 2004 and released the first of five albums in 2006. In 2008, Trampled Under Foot won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The band split up in 2015, as members moved on to solo projects. 

Previously, Schnebelen released an EP and a full-length CD recorded at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City, Missouri.

"I knew it was time to do a studio album," he said of his new release, "Crazy All By Myself."

Band members include (left to right): Cliff Moore, on bass guitar, Nick Schnebelen, and Adam Hagerman, on drums.

Selecting the right guest artists was important for the project, said Schnebelen, although some of that process happened organically. 

"In 'Altar of Love,' it's like a pickup truck going 75 miles an hour down the road, and dust flying everywhere. And I thought that would be perfect for Jason (Ricci), and he nailed it," Schnebelen said. "When it comes to 'Bad Disposition,' it's a real lowdown and I knew Dustin (Arbuckle) would be the guy for that."

Schnebelen wrote eight of the 13 tracks on "Crazy All By Myself," including the expressive "Soul Magic," with keyboard player Jeff Paris, who performs with Keb Mo' and Coco Montoya.

"We spent about 40 hours working on this one song," he said. "We really took the time to get the songs right for this record." 

The band will be on tour for the next few months across Europe and the U.S., "sharing it with everybody, you know, before I move on to the next one," Schnebelen said, "and representing the blues the best I can."

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter at @lauraspencer.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.