Vern Nicholson is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. From his home base of Toronto, he crafts folk 'n' roll: spirit-filled sad songs made better. In 2017 he released his solo debut Linden Tree near the Water, a self-produced tour de force on which he wrote, played and sang everything. FemBots alum A. David MacKinnon, who mixed the album, says, "Vern's songs greatly impress me with their hooks and skilful arrangements. Regardless of the style he works in (from power pop to British-style folk), he retains a strong sense of melody and harmony. His playing and singing are always impeccable, tasteful and perfectly suited to the song. On top of all this, he plays every instrument on the record and still manages to sound like a band."
Vern's pedigree includes lengthy stints with speed-pop trio Sour Landslide and alt-country mavens The Benvereens, with whom his fluid bass work and soaring harmonies graced five critically acclaimed albums. In addition to his signature bass and vocals, over the years Vern has taken up acoustic and electric guitar, dulcimer, mandolin, banjo, violin, keyboards, harmonica, recorder, drums and percussion. Pretty much any instrument he encounters is fair game—the more exotic the better. On the performance front, he has played over 300 shows and toured across Canada and the US Midwest, along the way sharing the stage with such luminaries as Feist, The Lowest of the Low, Universal Honey and Art Bergmann.
Among Vern's guiding lights are early '70s Top 40, The Beatles, The Byrds, R.E.M., XTC, Syd Barrett, Wire, New Order, Hüsker Dü, Wilco, fIREHOSE, Guided by Voices, Teenage Fanclub, Game Theory, Madness, The Kinks, Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Paul Weller and Van Morrison, along with dollops of psychedelia, soul, electronica and prog rock. On the folk side, favourites include Bob Dylan, Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span, Nick Drake, The Waterboys, Bruce Cockburn, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Pentangle, The Washington Squares, Paul Westerberg and Peter, Paul & Mary. After 35 years of music-making, he can confidently state that he’s absorbed his influences and no longer apes them.
Future plans include a follow-up album, Days of Secret Seeing, for which Vern has written and demoed ten songs to date, along with select live performances and promotional appearances to support Linden Tree near the Water.