Born in Beirut in 1955 (his father worked for the State Department), Nick was raised in upstate New York. He started playing drums at age ten, but abandoned them in favor of his first guitar a year later. As a teen, he played in folk and folk-rock bands. His desire to pursue music as a career in the mid-seventies led him to Colorado, where he met up with the three young men who would join him in forming the contemporary bluegrass band Hot Rize in 1978. For the band, Nick supplied bass, vocals and guitar and was also well known for his exceptional ease and grace as the M.C. and host. He won recognition as a writer as well, earning praise from Rolling Stone Magazine as “an exceptional songwriter.”
Hot Rize established an acclaimed international reputation, releasing ten albums and touring worldwide fulltime for over 12 years. The band appeared on countless radio and television programs, including Austin City Limits, The Grand Old Opry and Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. Hot Rize earned both a Grammy nomination and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 1991. Ironically, in the face of this success, the band members collectively decided to pursue individual projects later that year and went into semi-retirement. While on a highly successful State tour in eastern Europe during this time, Nick conceived the idea of a new concept in radio, eTown, the popular weekly radio variety show now heard coast-to-coast.
As eTown’s host, Nick leads a radio program that entices the audience with live performances from today’s top musicians, then engages listeners with conversation and information about our communities and our environment. His warm on-air wit, stellar guitar playing and strong vocals are hallmarks of the show.
In addition to eTown, Nick remains an active player in the music world, performing at major festivals and playing recording sessions for various artists like Big Head Todd and the Monsters and Kathy Mattea. He also is an accomplished record producer whose most recent project was nominated for a Grammy.