Bio

Colin Black is an Americana singer-songwriter from the Alabama Gulf Coast now living, writing, singing, and playing in the Netherlands.

After ten years away from the recording studio, 2018 has marked a long-awaited return for Black. After a spurt of songwriting mid-year, Black began to scour the website soundBetter.com, looking for potential collaborators. There he found Nashville-based producer Josh Frigo (also a member of the band Coyote Talk), and the two started working together in November 2018 on new music scheduled for release in 2019. Black has said that he plans to release several new songs as singles, with a full album likely to follow late in 2019 or early 2020. Follow Black on Spotify, or watch his website ColinBlack.com, to hear the music as it comes out and to receive the latest news and updates.

Black was born in 1974, in Peoria, Illinois, and grew up in a small town along the Illinois River. It was there that he first picked up a guitar, an electric Fender MusicMaster he received as a gift from an aunt. His first lessons, at age 8 or 9, didn’t make much of an impression on him, though, and the MusicMaster ended up stuffed under a couch until the early summer of 1988, when Black broke his leg goofing off at Lake Barkley in Kentucky. Faced with a couple months in a thigh-high cast while his friends enjoyed the summer, Black dragged the guitar out from under the couch, got some lessons from the local music store (during which he learned mostly glam rock and Guns ‘N Roses songs!), and the rest is history. Kind of.

A couple years later, while in high school, Black began spending his summers working at the (in)famous Pirates Cove bar/restaurant/marina in the small Gulf Coast community of Josephine, Alabama. Miles from the nearest city, the most common entertainment was acoustic music out in the yard or on the porch at the Cove - song circles and late night jams in which local heroes (such as Guthrie Trapp, Jerry Trapp, Gove Scrivenor, and others) and unknown musicians alike would grab their guitars and mandolins or just sing along to songs ranging from old folk standards to tunes by the Grateful Dead, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Nanci Griffith and many others. One day, neighbors saw Black strumming his mom’s acoustic guitar on the front steps of his house, and they invited him to join their circle. And so began a life-long love affair with songs and acoustic music. Black has since lived in many places across the United States and around the world, but his nights and years on the Alabama Gulf Coast shaped his relationship with music as much as anything, or anyone, that followed. To a large extent, Black’s songs, and his unique sound, are a reflection of his life’s path – born in the American Midwest, inspired by the great folk and country songwriters of the 20th century, steeped in Gulf Coast musical community, and broadened by a life of travel (he’s lived nearly ten years in Europe, in various stints), Black’s songs reveal an identity that is both familiar and exciting to fans of the music loosely labeled Americana, alt.country, or country folk.

Black has been playing mostly acoustic guitar and writing songs for more than twenty years now. Although he can fake his way through a folk harmonica solo and has become a passable acoustic guitarist, his greatest strength undoubtedly is songwriting. More than anything, it is his lyrics which best reflect and reveal the depth and durability of his songs. Like a pair of old jeans, his best material just sounds better and better the more you listen to it.

Black’s self-titled and self-released debut album came out in 2001. Produced by Brian Rueb in New Orleans, it was in many ways a test-run, a learning exercise to see what it would be like to actually put together and record an album. Nevertheless, the CDs Black had printed were bought up by family and friends and friends of friends.

“No. 2” followed in 2005, with musical guests including his old friend Jerry Trapp of Alabama, Hirsh Katzen of New Orleans, and Alexandra Bilak of Paris, France. “No. 2” received glowing reviews and radio play in Europe and the United States, and was picked as the Alt Country Cooking “Flavor of the Month” for April 2005 in The Netherlands.

Black’s third album, “I Just Want You”, was released in 2007. This time around, Jerry Trapp and his musical partner Suzanne Schmitt played and sang on several tracks, while also helping with production and recording sessions both on the Alabama and Florida coast and in the mountains of North Carolina. Other guests included Shannon Whitworth singing on the haunting “Roll Into You” and Louis Elliot on harmonica and mandolin. To top it off, the album was mastered by Grammy-winner Charlie Pilzer of Airshow Mastering. Things seemed to be heading in a promising direction.

Shortly before “I Just Want You” was released, Black moved back to the United States from the Netherlands, got married, and started a new job, and the new album was somehow left behind, figuratively speaking. When Black’s daughter was born in 2011, music got pushed a little further to the back burner, and the birth of a son in 2015, coinciding with a move back across the Atlantic, left even less time for singing and songwriting. But Black never put away his guitar entirely (physically or metaphorically), writing songs in the free minutes between his work and family obligations, and as his children have grown, so has the time he’s able to dedicate to that other love of his life: music. With his return to the studio in 2018, family, friends, and fans alike can finally look forward to a new chapter in this ongoing musical story.

Black currently lives in The Netherlands. Besides Illinois and Alabama, he has also lived in New Orleans, Louisiana (twice); Madrid, Spain; Washington, DC (three times); and San Juan, Puerto Rico.