Nelson Sobral is a singer-songwriter guitarist hailing from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, equally inspired by the vast, wide open spaces of the country he calls home and the labyrinthine maze of the city in which he resides. Sobral’s music is as much Americana and blues as it is soul and rock’n’roll, perfectly balanced with the energy and sound of each of his respective influences, uniting them all with one, singular mission: to move and energize audiences into an all-night frenzy and travel the world on the might of his song.
Armed with a distinct and unique voice, Sobral has had the opportunity to share the stage with the talents and likes of David Wilcox, The Trews, Altameda, Wild. T, Mattie Leon, The Redhill Valleys, Midnight Vesta, Del Barber, Sate, Crown Lands, Cleopatrick, Ferraro, Jeremy Voltz, Irish Mythen, Countermeasure, The Lazys, Ready The Prince, Monowhales, Skye Wallace, The Pack A.D., Ian Moore, AHI, Birds Of Bellwoods, Wild Rivers, Jeff Healey.
“Hard-as-nails urban soul, blues, and rock and roll, with the tenderness and twang of a roadside tavern. Toronto-based songwriter inspired by heart-worn country, northern soul, urban blues, and rock’n’roll, delivered with a spirituous temper and passion along the highways of the world. The magical voice & guitar playing of Nelson Sobral channels soul, country, blues and rock’n’roll into one transformative and cathartic late-night vision.”
“Nelson Sobral's passion for music is IMMENSE and his brushes with like-minded artists many, from Jeff Healey to Mick Taylor, and he has stories about both and more. ” - Jeff Woods
Second Arrow - LONG FORM ALBUM COPY
After two years of slowly teasing his listeners with singles from his upcoming full-length album Second Arrow, Toronto-based songwriter Nelson Sobral is readying the finished product for a wider release this winter.
A lot has changed since Sobral unveiled the first single “Yours and Mine” in 2020, with the subsequent follow-up tracks “Pendulum” and “In The Middle Of The Night” in 2021. “I still connect with the tunes,” Sobral admits, reminiscing about his newfound fatherhood, the loss of a close friend, and the emotional ride through the ever-changing state of the world over the last two years. “Writing some of these songs feels like a lifetime ago now. Two years ago, I was in Nashville, and the person I went with is no longer with us. Very heavy things. All that weight is still there, so it still feels current.”
This sense of reflection brings Sobral to discuss the album’s title, Second Arrow, and the cryptic meaning behind the phrase. It all seems perfectly fitting when discussing the way things have unfolded since the first inception of the songs. “It’s a reference to a Buddhist parable,” Sobral explains. “If someone does you harm, that’s the first arrow; but dwelling on it, that’s you causing yourself the next wave of suffering. The ‘second arrow’ is the arrow that you fire upon yourself. It’s all about how you deal with things.”
The music on Second Arrow is definitely a reprieve for the downtrodden and broken-hearted: song after song is a joyous, momentous occasion. Second Arrow is the perfect antidote to the tribulations of our time, and it’s a much-needed reminder about the powerful effect music has on our lives. Like many artists, that kind of power is something that Sobral can’t always explain. “If you sit down with your instrument and a pen and paper,” Sobral describes, “you’re a conduit for, and a culmination of, all your experiences: that record you heard when you were ten, that song your dad first played for you, or that first time you went to a show and your mind was blown. As a musician, I’m channeling these experiences all the time, and presenting them through the lens of who I am right now, at this very moment.”
Although Second Arrow chronicles so many of these memories for the accomplished songwriter, it's not only the pain of losing loved ones, the wonder of bringing a human life into the world, and the wild ride that we’ve all been a part of since 2020 that are woven into the album. Sobral’s lifelong love of country, soul and rock also creates while might be aptly described as a torrential downpour of jubilation. The album’s next single, “Dancing Fool”, is no exception. “I’m so happy to get this out,” Sobral excitedly explains. “I want to keep pushing towards something more. When you think of what went into making this album and all the things that have happened since, you step back and feel the weight of these last two years, and that’s exactly how this album feels: near and far, at the same time.”
Through Second Arrow's barroom-stomping, Motown-inspired soul (“In The Middle Of The Night”), fiddle and mandolin-heavy Americana twang ("HoneyBee"), to tender tear-jerkers (“Raining In Nashville”) and the electric guitar-centric rush of the title track, you get the feeling that Sobral isn’t standing still long enough to even be struck by that figurative “second arrow”. Instead, he’s building a body of work that brings a much-needed sense of elation, a raucous revelry, and a kind of healing that only music of this caliber can induce.
"Dancing Fool" SINGLE RELEASE / SHORT FORM ALBUM COPY
This winter, Toronto’s Nelson Sobral releases Second Arrow, the highly anticipated full-length that has been teased with a steady output of single releases over the last two years. The next single, “Dancing Fool”, leads the charge with its bombastic chorus, raw swagger, and virtuosic guitar playing, as well as serving as the album’s high-energy opener. “Saving ‘Dancing Fool’ as a single until the album’s release was a conscious choice,” Sobral explains. “I wanted to think of the album like a live show, and start with something powerful to grab the listeners to convince them to dig into the rest.”
“Dancing Fool”, and Second Arrow overall, bridges gaps between country, soul and rock, hand-picking the best of each genre and creating a celebratory and joyous concoction of kinetic songs. “I like that it has all those flavours on it,” Sobral says of the diverse and eclectic range of sounds and styles on the record. “When you hear a Rolling Stones album, everything lives together like little vignettes and it’s never the same thing all the way through.”
Both Second Arrow and “Dancing Fool” couldn’t come at a better moment: Sobral’s soulful, uplifting and powerful songs perfectly soundtrack the optimistic shift from winter to spring, not to mention the figurative “thaw” we’ll all be experiencing as we emerge from what has been a heavy and emotional period in many people’s lives. “I’m so happy to get this out,” remarks Sobral, speaking to the anticipation of listeners hearing Second Arrow altogether, how it was meant to be heard. “I want to keep pushing towards something more. When you step back and feel the weight of these last two years, that’s how this album feels: near and far, at the same time.”