PORTLAND (July 25, 2022) – Nels Johnson releases the Americana single “The Light That Guides Me” on August 9. It’s off the upcoming album release, “Ios,” due out October 14. “The Light That Guides Me” delves into a father/son relationship asking, “If he passed away, how would I want to remember our time together?” The single wistfully remembers and processes loss while finding hope within it all.

The single takes a nostalgic look at positive memories growing up, some real, some contrived, all of them gone and not here anymore. Johnson says, “I love the nostalgia of the first verse, of finding a picture of an old loved one in an attic and being surprised at how different and young they used to look, and just remembering them in a new and different way.” The song also looks to the past as a guide through challenges in the present, “as I travel through this distant and foreign land, longing to grow into a man.”

On “Ios,” Johnson leans into the theme of surrender, coming to grips with who you are as a person and what makes you happy. The songs embrace the human experience and stories that shape and change us along the way. A visit to the Grecian island, Ios, inspired the record’s theme. Johnson wrote three songs on the album, “Rest,” “Holy Men,” and part of “Surrender,” while on the island. He says, “It was a place of total relaxation, which freed me up to slow down, quiet all the loud voices and get in touch with what I was feeling. It’s hard to describe, but I experienced a sense of freedom and just comfort in my skin that I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced before.” Those themes are captured in the songs that led to the album being named after the island.

Ios Track Listing

  1. Sixteen Years
  2. The Light That Guides Me
  3. Her Memories
  4. American Dream
  5. Rest
  6. Wake Me Up
  7. Surrender
  8. Old Virginia
  9. Another Peace of Mind
  10. Holy Men

About Nels Johnson

Nels Johnson thought he wanted a career where he’d rise the corporate ladder, so he decided to go to law school, where the experience beat all the creativity out of him. He didn’t pick up a guitar, pen, or paper for over a decade. Finally, in 2016 Johnson picked the guitar up again after realizing that the white-collar ladder was no longer something that provided meaning or something he wanted to be attached to anymore. He spent the next few years rediscovering the joy of playing and writing music and reorienting his life around the gift of being able to be creative again. Letting go or no longer resisting creativity fundamentally changed his life and has led him to a much healthier, fulfilling, and joyful place in life.