Local Vocals: Tyler Nail

Fans of the 70s group The Band know of drummer Levon Helm and are aware of his talent as a gifted singer/songwriter. He was a drummer but began his musical career playing guitar. His songs include greats such as “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” “The Weight” and “Up on Cripple Creek.” While throat cancer has silenced Levon (he passed away in 2012 after a long battle), we can look to a local musician for a parallel. Tyler Nail began his interest in music as a young child, playing guitar and drums, while keenly intrigued by lyrics and how they affected melody. Tyler’s interest in words came to him in sixth grade when he determined that he wanted to become a writer, journalist and author.


As with many creative people, Tyler’s gifts are intertwined in different genres. He began early, around age 6 or 7, by applying lyrics to music and analyzing the chemistry between the two. Always surrounded by music (his father was a drummer in his church), his interest in playing music was piqued when he received his first guitar at age sixteen.  The endless possibilities that using a musical instrument provided intrigued the budding musician.

Tyler grew up a shy, thoughtful, sports- oriented boy in King, North Carolina. He was a talented basketball player whose athletic career ended in injury before his college education was complete. Any NBA chances moved on and he returned to his love of music.

The Tyler Nail Band is an Americana/country/folk music group with a dose of rock thrown in for good measure. Tyler is a combination of “mountain man meets Rasta mon.” His music has roots in Woodie Guthrie inspired ballads (“Valentina”) and harmonies that revive Simon and Garfunkel mellowness (“Saltwater”). “Wayfaring Stranger” offers jazzy guitar riffs with lamenting violin, as well as harmonies and lyrics that create an ethereal spirituality. The song “Don’t Come ‘Round Here No More” is a folksy acoustic gem that shows Tyler’s great ability for storytelling and use of harmony in his songs.

Together with Jonathan Loos (guitar and vocals) and Quique Rodriguez-Pastor (bass), Tyler Nail and his band can be found at Krankies during the Winston- Salem Shuffle events. They can also be found at another interesting venue, the Community Arts Café. In connection with the Winston-Salem Singer/Songwriter Session, hosted by WFDD’s David Ford, the format of these eventsinvolvesfourperformersbeing asked questions and expanding on the “thoughts behind the music” in between performances. It offers a similar insight into the artists’ minds that the Bravo TV show “Inside the Actor’s Studio” provides. Catch Tyler at the upcoming session on March 29!

Check him out on Facebook and through his mailing list. TylerNailMusic@gmail.com