Sun, Flowers, Birds and Daniel Nickels – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

The sun shines as if nothing has happened for the past two years.

The buds on the cherry blossom are bursting. These mornings the tweety birds beat me out of bed. I hear them. They are also bursting. The vultures shout in the air “Never again”. Oh wait, it was December, and the vultures are still mom.

Either way, big windbreaks are soaring. Spring has arrived and his refreshment plan is perfect. As Barney Fife sang out of tune, “Welcome sweet spring, we greet you with a song.” Yeah, I’ve watched too many Andy Griffith reruns.

After everything we’ve been through, I feel like I’m waking up from a long nap with strange dreams. But this is not a summary of the challenges. It’s a silent relighting (for now) of the flame. The restrictions are falling, and it’s time for a new parody song, but you’ll have to wait.

Birds aren’t the only melodic voices I hear in the breeze. Musicians seem to have come out in record numbers, and for that we are greatly blessed. What better way to celebrate? Recently I was with friends at Rellik Winery enjoying J Brothers, when we were kicked out, uh, sorry, we were asked to leave because of a special event (which we weren’t at not invited), so we missed the second set.

We weren’t done recreating so we continued on to Hummingbird Estates. Alas, when we arrived their songbird for the day, Daniel Nickels, had just finished and was packing up his gear. I introduced myself and said how sorry we were to miss his songs.

Then Daniel did something out of the ordinary, which I usually like. He asked if he could play us a song. He picked up his guitar, came to our table, sat down with us and sang not one, but two beautiful pieces of his own design. It was perfect.

After he finished I started asking questions and turned on the recorder so now please meet Ashland native Daniel Nickles (like the buffalo nickels ), singer, songwriter and … nurse.

“I’ve been singing, writing, recording, and performing since I was 16. My dad showed me some guitar chords, and from there I started. In elementary school , my mother taught me the piano, so I had a few recitals, and that was a game-changer.

In high school, Daniel listened to a friend’s band. “Somebody hit that (moody) A Minor chord, and it was all over from there.”

He started learning Tom Petty’s songs and considers Petty a major influence.

“I started to be intrigued by the songwriting process – just sitting around campfires.” Friends urged him to get serious. “The first 100 songs were the worst.” His mother cherishes them, I bet.

Daniel is also a nurse at the Medical Eye Center in Medford. He said his job as a nurse fuels his passion for music. He attended St. Kitts School of Nursing in the Caribbean. Yeah, I know. There he formed a rock band called Leeward Fate and toured the islands. His classmates named him the most likely to work as a nurse until he became a famous musician. He sometimes serenades patients.

In 2003, he trained with musician John Clark at Santa Barbara City College. Clark has trained some of the biggest names in music. Daniel needed an audition to get accepted, and the line of hopefuls stretched out the door. After hearing that the class was full, Daniel’s friend said, “You need to hear this guy. Clark listened and said he was there.

“It was really a grueling songwriting class. He was yelling at people. He was really intense. From that class, that’s what gave me the roots.

Daniel is releasing a new album of original songs this month. I found his other work on Spotify.

He left us with a song called “Get There Together”, his tribute regarding the Almeda fire. Look for him live and playing all over the valley, and don’t forget to support our local musicians. We need the creative appeal, and it’s alive and well in southern Oregon.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer/writer. Contact her at

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