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Nicholas & The Pessimistics: Album Review and Interview

The Pessimistics are a Cincinnati band who have been together for a few years now, and are releasing their first album. They are comprised of Nick Baker (vocals/guitar), Shawn Steele (lead guitar), Alex Fraser (bass), and Donie Maness (drums). The record was recorded at Fat Tracks Studio located here in Cincinnati and was engineered by Rob Nadler. The record took some time to record, but after all the blood and sweat cleared up, and a switch of personnel was finalized mid-way through the recording process here we have their first full length. This record for them has been a labor of love to say the least, and to have it completed and done is a testament to the perseverance to the band. This was an investment that simply took longer than expected, but that being said they are glad to have it out and ready for all of your ears.

The record is ten songs that lyrically spill out more like “a journal” and are “more honest” according to Nick one of the lead songwriter’s in the band. Musically the record ebbs and flows through country and rock, and are simply honest. From the first to the last song the album told a story within itself in just the sequencing of the songs, let alone the actual story that each individual song is telling. You have the beginning or the set – up, the middle amped up and raucous, and the end saying see ya later but leaving the door cracked open for more.

In the conversation I had with Nick the one ideal he and fellow Pessmist Shawn Steele wanted to get across lyrically were, “these songs having merit more than simply sounding good,” and I would say they achieved both. The record expresses the honesty of songwriting and the musicianship is top notch. Ten songs worthy of a listen while heading to Anywhere, USA and listening to the rubber on the road or just going to the grocery store either way the record definitely has “merit” and definitely “sounds good.”

Within our conversation you understand how over the years this album could be a journal. Nick is the son of musical parents from his Father being in and out of bands and his mother sang in the church choir, so it was inevitable music would be the way he went and as he put it about his early years, “it seemed like I was figuratively somewhere in between George Jones and Jesus.” He picked away at 9 on a guitar with the help of his father, and when a chance opportunity landed him in some trouble the punishment was to join his school choir which turned out to be a blessing rather than a curse.

Fast forward many years and while you cannot deny the influence and support from his parents Nick would also like to thank his wife Lindsay Baker for putting up with him for about 15 years and counting. To simplify it in his words, “Anyone who’s merely dated a musician knows it’s no picnic. I nominate her for a CEA every year.” The support has been un-wavering and I have had the pleasure of knowing Nick for a few years now, and his passion for music comes across humbly and honestly. 

Nicholas and The Pessmistics are releasing their debut self-titled album this Friday at The Drinkery. This is an album full of honesty and songs that come from the heart. Changes come when we least expect them and through those our resolve becomes stronger and it seems as though these fellas went through that and came out alright. There was a final question that I asked Nick that I like to ask all musicians and artists “why music?” and I’ll let him finish this off.


“I’ve always felt fortunate because I’ve never had to wonder what I wanted to do with my life. Some people spend years searching, trying things out, figuring out what they really want. But I put some words over a few chords decades ago and I never asked myself twice what I wanted to do. It’s not always easy. It isn’t always grand. Sometimes it’s downright sad. But it’s what’s in me. I have no idea what the future hold, but as long as I’m here I’ll be writing songs and singing them to people. So far, it’s been pretty good to me. I’m hoping that trend continues.” (Nick Baker)


Join the band this Friday February 5th at The Drinkery for their album release! They will be joined by: The B-Sides & Willow Tree Carolers