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Sunday, July 1, 2018

Johnny Nicholas and Friends’ CD release party featuring Tino Gross, Tony Garner and Scrappy Jud Newcomb

  • Doors Open: 7:00 pm
  • Show Starts: 7:30 pm
  • Ticket Price: $20
  • Genre: Blues

Blues guitar from a longtime member of Asleep at the Wheel


ANN ARBOR, MI – Heralded Austin-based blues/roots musician and songwriter Johnny Nicholas returns to Michigan to celebrate the deluxe vinyl LP reissue of his long out-of-print 1977 album, Too Many Bad Habits – including a special bonus album of previously unreleased performances – on July 1, 2018, at The Ark in Ann Arbor. Performing with Nicholas will be bassist Tony Garnier and drummer Tino Gross, both featured on the original album, and Scrappy Jud Newcomb on guitar/mandolin.


Garnier was Johnny’s roommate in Asleep at the Wheel and is best known as Bob Dylan’s bass player since 1989 – Dylan’s longest-running sideman.  Gross is the well-known front man for the Howling Diablos, a heavy influence on the Detroit music scene and early mentor to Kid Rock. Newcomb is renowned as one of the top guitar/mandolin players in the country and one of the most frequently demanded studio/live musicians in Austin.

Too Many Bad Habits was recently nominated for a Blues Blast Magazine Award in the “Historical and Vintage Recording” category. Fan voting begins July 1 until August 31 at:

The 2018 Blues Blast Awards ceremonies will be held on September 29th, at Tebala Event Center in Rockford, Illinois.

In the late 1960’s, the college town of Ann Arbor Michigan found itself at the epicenter of a resurgence in Blues music. At the heart of the Ann Arbor Blues revival was guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Johnny Nicholas. Arriving from the East coast for the 1970 Blues Festival, he brought some of the best Blues players out of retirement and brought them together night after night in local clubs and concerts. While he performed with dozens of well-known artists in those venues, among the most frequent and popular with local Blues lovers were the legendary Big Walter Horton, Johnny Shines, and Boogie Woogie Red. 

“This album was initially released on the fledgling Blind Pig label in 1977,” Nicholas recalls, “but the recording sessions included a bunch of stellar performances which had never been released. Walter and Johnny and Red were my friends and mentors, and hearing this stuff was such a thrill. I hope people enjoy listening to these historical slices of the real blues, played by the masters, as much as we have enjoyed re-discovering, listening to and remastering them. I’m really excited to return to Ann Arbor, where it all started, and am looking forward to seeing many of our old friends at The Ark to celebrate the release of this great music.”

The two-album set, Too Many Bad Habits, is a window into an important era in American music history, when Ann Arbor was one of the hottest and most influential music scenes in the country.

The package is available as a previously-released 2-disk CD, as well as the new deluxe double vinyl album, which includes a 60-page scrapbook filled with photos, posters and memorabilia.


Photos & Videos


Johnny Nicholas
Credit: Brandon Aguilar

Big Walter Horton Johnny Nicholas and Johnny Shines circ 1975.jpg

Photo circ 1975 (left to right) Big Walter Horton, Johnny Nicholas & Johnny Shines

Johnny Nicholas: Bayou Blues