Celebrated folk-Americana act The Nadas have amassed a loyal and dedicated following over the past three decades for their engaging live shows and distinctive 70s-meets-90s sound. Blending twangy, Stones-era “country honk” with raw, alt-rock energy and wistful, folk-leaning melodies, their music is as alive as it is authentic. Over 30 years of making music together, The Nadas have shared the stage with The Beach Boys, Bon Jovi, Big Head Todd and Barenaked Ladies, been inducted into the Iowa Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, sold over 300,000 albums (even in a time when you can’t buy a CD player), earned praise from a wide range of major publications (including Playboy), and written the theme song for their hometown—twice. They’ve also developed a laid-back, narrative approach to songwriting, drawing inspiration from acts like The Head and the Heart, Avett Brothers, Indigo Girls, and Tom Petty, to explore the everyday joys and heartaches that make up a life.
Old friends and music industry veterans Mike Butterworth and Jason Walsmith founded The Nadas in the early 90s, bonding over a shared mixtape while students at Iowa State University. Initially playing the folk circuit as an acoustic duo, they added drums and bass as the band moved toward a grittier alt-rock sound. By the mid-2000s, their songwriting began to embrace more radio-friendly, pop-leaning territory, laced with anthemic choruses, compelling guitar riffs, and a refreshing sense of humor. With the addition of bassist Brian Duffey, drummer Brandon Stone, and Perry Ross on keys, guitar, and percussion, the Nadas have grown into a lively and idiosyncratic band that emphasizes sound and mood over genre. “We’re embracing it all, not sticking ourselves into one specific category,” says Walsmith, adding that perhaps this flexibility and a strong dedication to their families, friends and fans have helped the band stand the test of time. For Butterworth, it’s about connecting with people: “We’ve always written songs from the heart, and our fans have grown up along with us, learning as we learn, going through similar experiences and facing the same hardships. We’ve been able to evolve and experiment with our sound over the years, as the circumstances of our lives change.”
Now poised to drop their new, full-length album Come Along for the Ride this year, The Nadas continue to explore life’s twists and turns through their unique brand of compulsively listenable Americana. From the album’s driving, Jakob Dylanesque opening track “Other Side of the 45” (a song whose chorus evokes the kind of spontaneous singalongs that only happen on long, open-windowed road trips), to the simple fun of “Smashing the Squiers” (a punchline-turned-anthem about making the most of life as a minor league, working-class rock band), there’s an effortlessness to the songwriting that feels anything but stagnant. These are songs that serve as invitations, asking listeners to start over, push on toward the dream, hop in the car, join the parade, get back on the bandwagon, and move forward into the unknown. Each track expands organically, built around a relatable, narrative backbone and laced with lyrics that conjure nostalgia for the way things are now. Down-to-earth, dynamic, and easygoing, Come Along for the Ride is the perfect soundtrack for life as it’s happening.