Medium Build at Manchester Academy

Medium Build
Manchester Academy
7th November 2024

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As a musician with a nomadic lifestyle, Nick Carpenter often enters spaces as a stranger and leaves with lifelong friends. The creator of Medium Build possesses a connective charisma that shows in his songs and performances—which can seem like equal parts concerts, testimony, and stand-up comedy. That gift and yearning for connection has been amplified during a transformative season for Nick.

In 2023, Medium Build signed with slowplay / Island Records, toured with Lewis Capaldi, and reached the Billboard charts for the first time collaborating with X Ambassadors. Life was pulling Carpenter away from his home, dog, and sense of belonging in Anchorage to Nashville. Nick spent his drives looking, listening, and reflecting. This inner and outer journey led to Country, the thematic album draws from Carpenter’s roots as much as it considers his future—while exploring genre.

His music is as vast and unique as his backstory, but “if you slow all of my songs down, they’re just three-cord bummer Country tunes,” he admits. Evident in the video single “Cutting Thru The Country,” this collection packs for a trip that explores wide open spaces, musical frontiers, and oneself.Medium Build began as the name Nick Carpenter attached to four-track recordings a decade ago. The storyteller applied aspects of a middle-class church-going Georgia childhood and a Tennessee education to truths learned along the way—ultimately delivering the queer extrovert to find a community in Alaska. There is duality and dichotomy in Medium Build’s life and music—but it is drenched in authenticity.

The music has endured, resonated, and connected with a growing base. “Now I’m realizing that my career can last longer than five seconds and I can kind of just breathe and show one thing at a time,” Nick shares. His dynamic catalog mirrors the people who have shown up in his corner: Elton John, Boygenius, John Mayer, and Noah Kahan, to name a few. 2019’s somber and synth-tinged “Be Your Boy” and 2022’s therapeutic “Never Learned To Dance” are fan favorites amid the kaleidoscope of sounds and moods.

Country seems much more focused, even if birthed by uncertainty.Now in his thirties, Nick says he only recently learned about his father’s poor rural South Carolina upbringing. As a result, Country music was something Nick’s dad covered up—along with the poverty and corresponding shame of his past. “I had no sense of identity as far as place,” the artist admits. Lately, the father and son began talking about the past and sharing Country tunes—exchanging culture and heritage. As an understanding of his DNA developed, perhaps the twang and American in Medium Build’s songs stood out. However, his Country is something unsurprisingly personal. “It feels self-soothing,” Nick says of the opener, “Beach Chair,” which is a love letter to self in a time of need. “Crying Over U” is deeply specific but conjures emotions in us all—when confronted by closure and what remains in the rearview.

Written on the road, Country was fittingly recorded on Nashville’s Music Row. Carpenter and creative partner Jake LiBassi, aka Laiko, embraced experimentation. “We made the album we wanted to make,” he says joyfully and confidently. “It’s so easy to get back in touch with yourself if you can throw off the heavy cloak of duty and just do something that feels good.” At a time when people take the same photo a dozen times in search of a curated aesthetic, Medium Build captures the snapshot. The lyrics and the spirit of Country embrace both wandering and wondering. “I want this to feel lived-in,” Nick says. “It’s sort of me finding a defined place.”

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