Performed live May 30, 2019 in Grass Valley, CA

Tom Thumb

(Official Video) • Performed Live in Modesto, CA

Love is My Drug

Performed at the Do Good Distillery


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A Step Behind.jpg

A Step Behind by Nathan Ignacio

A Step Behind is the February 1, 2018 release by singer/songwriter Nathan Ignacio on the IAC Records label. This great album is a mixture of rock, bluegrass, and Americana.  I was impressed with his vocal style and songwriting abilities with such tracks as She Never Knew, Blame It On The Heartbreak, the title track A Step Behind and much more.  This album was well written, recorded, and performed.  Take a listen to this album on Spotify and if you like it you can purchase this album from Bandcamp, Amazon, IAC Records and other outlets where CD’s and digital downloads are sold.

Californian singer-songwriter looks over the hills and far away to lay his feeling on the line.

“Don’t hide the melodies from your soul,” intones this Modesto artist in the desperate title track of his debut record, and that’s what Nathan Ignacio does here, shedding a “one-man band” approach in favor of a full-band album where his multi-instrumentalism has all the support his songs need to hit hard even without a graphic novel the musician came up with to accompany the aural experience. And quite an experience it is!

At its start, out of tentative strum emerges a cinematic shimmer of “She Never Knew” and Ignacio’s spoken intro makes room for a scintillating reverie, where, spurned with sensual electric guitar, reminiscences are streamed before the listener like an Appalachian river, the song’s fluid lines caressing the ear. It’s only logical for this piece to be followed by “I’m Not Broken” – a brief, bluegrass-styled confession of Nathan’s vulnerable resilience – and “Weathered” whose unhurried twang and harmonica heighten the performer’s sweet pain.

Yet there’s also communal spirit in “Blame It On The Heartache” to turn the middle-eight drama into hoedown and wrap sadness into merriment, although the dance will begin in earnest when fiddles strike to relocate Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” to Tennessee. Still, the resolution comes with the bluesy vigor of “Broken Hands” – a dirty, drums-driven number that must open the artist’s soul in its entirety – but it’s too late to latch onto such an energetic lament, as the album runs out right after this cut is surrendered to silence… to set up the scene for the next one. Hopefully, Nathan’s going to deliver a sophomore record soon enough.

Musician’s early life fraught with despair

ByTony Sauro

Music saved Nathan Ignacio’s life.

“I was the first in my family to get a car and a job,” said Ignacio, who’s now a full-time musician. “If it wasn’t for music, I doubt I could have ever gotten out.

“I have no idea what I’d do if I didn’t do music. I’ve lost more friends to meth than I have to death.”

Today, Ignacio will be sampling barbecue and happily playing in two bands during Taste! of San Joaquin at Stockton’s Weber Point Events Center.

While 30 teams test their barbecuing skills during the sixth annual waterfront event, Ignacio will do his cooking with Modesto’s The House of Orange and Earl Matthews and Poor House Millionaires. Stockton’s Latin Magic and Lydia Pense and Cold Blood, a Bay Area rock-R&B band, add spice.


Ignacio, 25, plays bass and sings in House of Orange - “it’s like Americana-driven waltzes” - and provides harmonica in Matthews’ country-blues group.

“I always hear people say I’m competing for the most bands,” said Ignacio. a Modesto resident who plays solo and in “at least six” groups. “When I start to say out loud how many bands I’m in, I can’t remember them all.”

It’s similar with playing instruments (mandolin, harmonica drums, guitar): “As many as I can get my hands on. YouTube is a great medium for anything you can’t do. You can find an answer yourself.”

Such obsessiveness - and self-reliance - enabled Ignacio to survive an early life of homelessness, poverty, truancy and despair. It sounds almost fictional. Ignacio’s musical awakening hardly was conventional. He started playing harmonica at 5.

“We were poor and homeless,” he said of his formative years with two sisters and a drug-addicted mother. “A great way to put some spin on it was that, instead of homeless, we called it ‘being on tour.’ My mom (LaDonna), who’s still out there running around somewhere, took us on the run. We’d travel and sleep on people’s floors. In cars.”

He’d play for change on streets. Soon, state and county agencies interceded - his father, David, had been injured severely when struck by a car - and “I got bounced in and out of 10 or more foster homes. It’d either be, ‘Oh I hate it. Get me out of here.’ Or, ‘I hate this kid. Get him out of here.’ My harmonica is pretty much all I had.”

That also meant multiple schools - seven junior highs and four high schools - more estrangement and frequent truancy.

He didn’t start writing songs “I don’t think, maybe, until eighth grade,” Ignacio said. “I was really into playing harmonica. Growing up it wasn’t a cool instrument. I’d come to school and get yelled at: ‘What is that stupid thing?’ ”

An older sister was “locked up when she was under 18,” Ignacio said. “She’s out there, but I don’t know exactly what happened to her. His “little” sister works at a Starbucks in Concord. Ignacio’s dad attends a lot of his son’s shows.

“I was so young and so angry,” he said. “I didn’t have any parents to tell me to go to school. It was real hard. A lot of life lessons, though I had a lot of jump starts.”

At 15, he just started playing drums - teaching himself - in Nothing But Losers, a Modesto heavy-metal band: “We played at Fat Cat (a Modesto club). That was beyond my dreams at that point. I started playing shows and being in the scene. It was a cool thing. If you play, you find people who play. If you’re a good drummer, you get respect from them.”

He drummed and toured with Falling Sleepless for six years, before two potential recording contracts failed to materialize.

Three years ago, he was playing bass in Love Core when Ray Vazira, House of Orange’s ukulele player, saw him. They jammed with a Love Core & House of Orange hybrid.

“It was a little underground hub of music events with regular jammers,” Ignacio said. “We started to write songs.”

Now modified to House of Orange, the seven-member collective is “probably one of the hardest bands I’ve had to describe,” Ignacio said. “Soul singer” Irene Carrillo, who got it all started with drummer Paul Muncy in 2010, is “the one who really keeps everything together.”

The Orange musicians - including Adria Bray (clarinet, violin), Chandler Pratt (mandolin) and Amanda Wood (trumpet) - prefer “new-age saloon, Gypsy-rock, old-world-jazzy-bluesy-floozy.”

When he’s not grouping up, Ignacio’s a solo singer-songwriter: “I could play an hour of Bob Dylan’s songs. I do open mics if I’m not practicing.”

That’s all part of his musical survival mission.

“When I wake up every day,” he said, “I wonder, ‘What can I do to further my music?’ Get better musically. I love what it does for people and how it brings people together. Don’t worry about what chords they are. Just listen to what’s inside and let it out. I want to be able do this forever.”