Nick Roberts takes the stage with his band

Sydney Kroll


Nick smiles at the camera during his Chow-Down Centertown performance.

Sydney Kroll, Reporter

On a recent Thursday, junior Nick Roberts glances up at the musical memorabilia surrounding him. In the backyard of local music promoter and ‘Walk the Beat’ founder Dave Palmer, you’ll find The Greenhouse, a small outbuilding that serves as a practice space and incubator for all manner of local musicians.

The 900 square-foot room is scattered with amps and speakers whose sound bounces smoothly off of the angles implemented into its structure.

He takes a deep breath and goes over the chords and lyrics in his head once more as the band is counted down. He begins to strum and lets the beat coerce him along. As Johnny Cash fills the room, he feels at home. This is what he’s truly passionate about.

Roberts has been playing guitar since age five. His parents had implemented a simple rule-if he wanted to play video games or hang out with friends, he had to do something productive first.

“That’s how I got good at it,” Roberts said. “Originally music wasn’t something I necessarily enjoyed, but it grew on me. As I got better at it, I learned to appreciate it.”

That skill has reflected well and he has become a very talented musician, especially since he is only 17. He plans on pursuing music and hopes to share his talent with the world.

“I want to pursue music because it’s a gift from God that I have to offer to the world, and I’m excited about it,” Roberts said. “Not to mention that it is a lot of fun.”

All in all, he aims to bring people together through his music as well as finding a way to make a living while doing so.

“I tell you what, that kid [Roberts] is super talented,” says Palmer. “Nick is one of the smartest players I’ve met in a long time.”

The band, consisting of Roberts, Palmer, 62, TJ Wagenmaker-Smith, 32, and Avery Jorgensen, 17, is a fairly recent development.

“We don’t even have a name for this band,” said Palmer with a slight chuckle.

However, the lack of a title hasn’t stopped them. They’ve already booked multiple gigs including a wedding, D. Baker & Son Lumber Mills 150th Anniversary, Burzurk Brewing Company’s Oktoberfest, and Downtown Chowdown. They played well and were popular among the crowd.

The band also participates in the uncommon practice of switching the lead singers.

“We’re learning, we’re harmonizing a lot,” Palmer said. “If it’s gonna be a Johnny Cash song or a song like that, we’re gonna throw that to Nick to be the front man. We’ll harmonize in the background.”

Outside of just simply having fun, the band has a deeper meaning to its members.

“Everybody looks at us a little weird when we show up. I’m 32, Nick is 17, and Dave is 62,” Wagenmaker-Smith said. “Music is one of the things that transcends age, race, and gender, and I think our band is a pretty good example of that.”

As for Roberts, this is an excellent learning opportunity, especially with a plan to pursue music.

“My goals with the band are to just grow in music for myself, so I can play harder things and get used to learning songs quickly,” Roberts said. “Just getting a chance to make music of my own with other people. That way, if I throw in an idea I can add in some of TJ’s flavor and personality and Dave’s experienced knowledge of how to put lyrics and titles along with my own ideas.”