We’ve had our eyes on Philadelphia’s Nik Greeley for a little while now, and it’s always been clear that he is one driven and charismatic dude. His old band Black Stars gave him a solid start – the four-piece fused classic and modern rock, showing a heavy reverence for two of his favorites, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Rolling Stones. Even though that group’s recorded output never quite managed to equal the polish and precision of its live show, it got Greeley established in navigating the Philadelphia music scene. 

Back in the winter, a live session on Drexel’s WKDU saw him stepping out for the first time under his own name. The performance debuted a new live band he’d been toying around with, and showcased material he’d written with a strong, soul-oriented focus, a promising sign of things to come. Enter the new Town Gypsy EP: in it, Greeley comes into his own as a songwriter and arranger. You can hear a bit of that Anthony Kiedes drawl on “Hypnotize,” but mixed with suave horns and smooth keyboards, it’s less overt; the swagger and machismo of Mick Jagger is echoed on “Gypsy Blues,” but rather than drawing on the Stones themselves, Greeley reaches further back.

And of course, there’s the seven-piece live band, which you hear in full effect on Greeley’s Key Studio Session. Bringing in instrumentation outside the guitar-bass-drums rock configuration adds color and texture to his songs, and their playing is totally on point, whether you’re talking the New Orleans march of “Follow the Sun” or the rambling, rumbling “The Way It Goes.” This group is going to crush it opening for Shuggie Otis at Ardmore Music Hall tomorrow, so if you’re going, make sure you arrive early. Tickets and more information on the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar; stream Greeley’s Key Studio Session below, and grab a free download of it via Soundcloud.