Katy Nichole

Katy Nichole

Nichole, Katy - Self-titled EP

Not since Lauren Daigle’s debut have I been as excited by a first recording. The root word for excite means “to move, stir up, instigate” and that’s how I feel, especially after listening to two of the songs on this six song self-titled EP. Nichole’s testimonies of God’s power to set free move and stir me.

Power is another appropriate word since the Holy Spirit is often associated with it. Some of the lyrics reflect that source and the combination of words and music can be dynamite.

This is what reminded me of Lauren Daigle. They share strong voices, excellent backing and production, and a focus on God and his ability to transform lives.

“In Jesus Name (God of Possible)” is the soundtrack for Nichole’s going from being bedridden to becoming known to many. It’s compassionate and bold at the same time: “I speak the name of Jesus over you.” Lyrically, it’s Charismatic in nature: “I pray that a breakthrough would happen today/I pray miracles over your life in Jesus name.” Faith declarations abound.

Even though it’s immensely popular, it becomes a little over dramatic, which is why I favor the stripped-down version that closes out this EP. Still it’s too much like some modern worship that sounds the same. It reminded me of another popular song, “The Blessing.” Both have their appeal and strengths but can be monotonous to me.

I prefer the second track, “Jesus Changed My Life,” which reminds me of NEEDTOBREATH. It has a Southern roots rock feel. I hear a little country in her voice as she contrasts a soul’s journey from darkness to light. If I’m not mistaken it’s a slide guitar that gives the sound some swagger. Her voice soars and the music explodes on the chorus. The structure and melody appeal to me more than the previous song. It may not be innovative and deep theologically but it’s a testimony of liberation made dynamic by the music.

At the church I attend we have a large group from a nationwide addiction recovery center that join us. At times some of them will cry out during worship. Jesus changed my life is more than a trite expression. It’s the core of their being. I can imagine their outbursts of praise if they were singing along.

Big Daddy Weave joins Nichole for “God is in This Story.” Their relationship began when the group invited Nichole to join them on select dates for the band’s spring 2022 tour. The opening lines describe a desperation that might seem to define a person but assure that it’s not the end of the story:

There’s torn up pages in this book
Words that tell me I’m no good
Chapters that defined me for so long
But the hands of grace and endless love
Dusted off and picked me up
Told my heart that hope is never gone

On “Old Man,” Neil Young sings, “Love lost, such a cost. Give me things that don’t get lost.” “Things I Wish I Would’ve Said” is grieving such a loss, which comes with so much cost. Acoustic guitar gives it a plaintive feel with pedal steel furthering the sentiment.

Like “Jesus Changed My Life,” “Jesus Thank You” is electrifying. This release is worth having just for these two songs alone. This has a strong gospel influence complete with choir and excellent guitar work. Like the other aforementioned song it’s a celebration. It’s abundant life overflowing in gratitude. Once again I hear a little country inflection in the voice, which fits so well.

As with Lauren Daigle’s debut Katy Nichole’s EP is a significant discovery. They are not the same but each has the ability to make listeners feel more alive.

Michael Dalton