Iowa Alumni Magazine | October 2007 | Reviews

Faces and Words by Nic Arp

By Kathryn Howe

"The things we never say... keep ringing in my ears." Sparkling phrases such as this—marked by simplicity and truth—have earned Nic Arp rave reviews for his first solo album, Faces & Words. In his CD, Arp masterfully intertwines a mix of slow and fast-paced songs to create a refreshing, balanced compilation for his listeners.

You just can't pigeonhole Arp, whose music reflects appealing elements of blues, folk, country, and bluegrass, punctuated with acoustic guitar, mandolin, violin, and harmonica.

"The Things We Never Say" is especially striking for its honest observations and narrative about the everydayness of life, its difficulties, joys, and regrets. Other favorites include "Cosmic Debris," "That Lucky Old Sun" (the CD's only song not written by Arp), and the upbeat "#9," which features pleasing references to the buildings and bustling streets of the singer-songwriter's hometown: Take me up to Iowa City, so's I could get my baby back.

Whether the songs are spunky twang or mellow relaxed, Arp's lovely tenor voice resonates with experience and warmth. He receives talented backup from musicians in the local bands Beggarmen and Tornadoes, but it's encouraging to note that he can hold his own in a solo acoustic performance. The sincere lyrics and varied sounds on Faces & Words prove an impressive introduction to an artist who's just beginning to receive recognition for his work. Surely, there's more to come.