Jared James Nichols premieres searing live performance of Skin 'n Bone, from forthcoming Shadow Dancer EP

Blues ace Jared James Nichols has served up a gritty live performance of Skin 'n Bone, taken from his forthcoming EP, Shadow Dancer.

Appearing at Blackbird Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, the trailblazing guitarist – with his Epiphone “Gold Glory” Les Paul Custom in hand – delivers the track's abundance of gain-laden leads and more subdued rhythm passages with passion and precision, reminding us once again why he's such a prominent force in the blues-rock scene.

Jared James Nichols has thus far released two tracks from the four-track Shadow Dancer EP: Skin 'n Bone and the scorching Bad Roots.

“I'm going to a lot of places I've never gone before,” Nichols says of the release. “For the first time in my life I said, ‘I'm going to write with no filter – I don't care if it's blues, if it's rock, if it's this or that. Whatever's going to come out is going to come out.’ That was such a liberating feeling. It was so cool to spread my wings and say, ‘How far can I take this before the train goes off the rails?’” 

“Before this, I don't know if I ever felt completely comfortable in the studio,” the guitarist continues. “I would say it took three years of touring, sleeping in a damn van and playing shows every night to figure out what was the core of what I was trying to say not only onstage, but also as a songwriter.

“We finally captured it on this record, mostly due to the fact that we didn't constrain ourselves to anything – we just went in and played in the most organic, natural way we could. And it had to be that way in order to capture the excitement and the energy and the overall feeling of this music.”

Nichols goes on to explain that Shadow Dancer “feels like 2021 blues”. “I try to interpret this music in my own way,” he says. “For me, it's not about trying to be traditional or act as if I'm from a certain era – it's about breathing fresh air into this music that I love.

“It's all my emotions, all my feelings, all my angst and energy bottled up in one record. It's my version of the blues.” 

2021's been a busy year for Jared James Nichols. In tandem with hyping up his brand-new EP, the guitarist also secured a spot earlier this year as a new Gibson Brand Ambassador, and more recently set about to restore Dorothy – one of the first Gibson Les Pauls ever made that was destroyed in a tornado.

Fans will get the opportunity to see Nichols play the guitar onstage, too. In a post on Instagram announcing its completed restoration last month, he said: “It's time. Dorothy is ready for a new life. I cannot wait to play her tonight onstage, back where she belongs.”

  • Jared James Nichols' Shadow Dancer EP arrives September 17 via Black Hill Records.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.