American Nomad – TMG Artist Spotlight

By | May, 20, 2015


TMG is pleased to bring you another exclusive artist spotlight, this time on the San Fransisco band American Nomad!

American Nomad is an award winning acoustic group in the widely eclectic Bay Area music scene. They were honored for best vocal performance in the 2013 Berkeley Old Time Music Competition, as a finalist in the 2011 International songwriting competition, and were recognized in the 2013 and 2011 Rocky Mountain Folk Festival Songwriter Competition. Rooted in Americana and folk/swing traditions, their carefully crafted original music maintains a modern relevance. Smart songwriting, catchy lyrics, tight rhythms, rich harmonies, and strong musicianship have already begun to earn American Nomad a reputation as a band that can intrigue listeners from a wide variety of musical tastes and backgrounds. Keeping in line with the ancient troubadour tradition, American Nomad draws from the spirit of travel and authentic life experience.

Here’s our exclusive interview with the band!

1. What’s your bands name? Where’d the name come from?

American Nomad. It comes from the fact that I’m half Nomad. My family were Bedouins from Jordan.

2. The Yellow Collar Collective is all about the daily grind musicians go through to perfect their craft, what has been your biggest struggle and accomplishment as a musician?

I think my biggest struggle has been writer’s block and a particularly vicious self critic. Through a lot of personal work I’ve been able to overcome it and make music I’m very proud of.

3. What other instruments can you and your fellow band members play?

We perform with guitar, bass, banjo, fiddle, and lots of harmonies.

4. Why’d you start making music and why specifically did you choose your genre?

I love Americana because of the stories and the versatility.

5. Do you have any memorable musical experiences that have shaped who you guys are?

I think working with Grammy winner Laurie Lewis on our last record Country Mile has really shaped me as a musician. Her experience as a producer has a way of permeating every project she’s a part of and makes the people around her better as a result. It makes me understand on a deeper level the kind of dedication keep a music career intact for the long haul.

6. Have you ever released any albums or are working on any now? Any special projects?

I’ve released 3 records so far. Temple Sunrise, American Nomad Live at the Freight and Salvage, and Country Mile. I’m heading back into the studio next week to being tracking my fourth album. I’ve been working on a memoir that’s to be published in the Fall. It’s called Composing Temple Sunrise.

7. Do you collaborate with other artists? Inside and outside your genre?

Yes. I really love working with artists who have a versitile background. Much of my music cuts across genre so collaborating with multidisciplinary musicians is ideal.

8. What venues and events have you performed at in the past five years? Which has been your favorite?

We have played all over. In the Bay Area we’ve played at the Great American Music Hall, The Chapel, The Freight and Salvage, The Independent, Grass Valley Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival, and Strawberry Music Festival. It’s hard to choose. Strawberry and the Freight were two highlights though.

9. How do you acquire shows and promote yourself? Do you have any recommendations for other artists?

I think it’s important to hone the music before anything. Practice with a metronome, get singing lessons, learn lots of songs you love, and get feedback on what you are writing from people who will tell it to you straight. Most of all be patient. Start there and you’d be surprised at how much comes your way via word of mouth. You want to get to a place where every gig gets you another gig. Support local live music and support some of the regional bands traveling through your town or city. Make connections as often as you can and be kind to everyone even if they aren’t being as respectful to you as you’d like. Take the high road. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.

10. Do you have any mottos?

“It’s not doing what you like to do but liking what you have to do.” My Grandpa

11. What artists inspire you?

There are so many artists that inspire me. That’s a difficult question in 2015. Bill Withers is my go to lately.

12. What’s next for your band?

The next goal for the band is to get a new record out there. I recently won a West Coast Songwriting competition and got some free studio time out of it. I’ll be laying the first tracks of the new record next Friday! I can’t wait to put down all the new songs I’ve been working on.

13. What do you do when you’re not listening to or making music?

I’m a writer when I’m not playing music. I’ve been working on a memoir for the past 5 years and am finally getting around to publishing it in the Fall. I’ve got some help from a great local publisher called Poetic Matrix Press. Here is a little blurb about the book.

Composing Temple Sunrise: Overcoming Writer’s Block at Burning Man is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir about a 26 year old songwriter looking to refuel his creative energy. Triggered by the Great Recession of 2008, Hassan El-Tayyab loses his special education teaching job in Boston and sets out on a cross-country adventure with a woman named Hope Rideout, determined to find his lost muse. His journey brings him to Berkeley, CA, where he befriends a female led metal art collective constructing a 37-foot Burning Man art sculpture named Fishbug. What follows is a life-changing odyssey through Burning Man that helps him harness his creative spirit, overcome his self-critic, confront his childhood trauma, and realize the healing power of musical expression.

14. What’s your favorite song right now?

The Wind by Cat Stevens. I’m going through a lot of changes right now and the words of that song keep it all in perspective. It reminds me to “let my music take me where my heart wants to go.”

Huge thanks to American Nomad for giving us their artistic perspective! Check them out this Thursday night in San Fransisco at the 50 Mason Social House; set time 8:00pm!

Buy your pre-sale tickets here! –

Author: Maxwell Stetson