Gary Nicholson
Stacie Huckaba

Premiere: Legendary Songwriter Gary Nicholson Shares 'Immigrant Nation' and Alter Ego Whitey Johnson's 'More Days Like This'

There's a good chance Gary Nicholson has written at least a few of your favorite songs. The Texas Heritage Songwriter's Association Hall of Fame member has written songs recorded by Waylon Jennings, George Strait, Patty Loveless, Garth Brooks, BB King, Fleetwood Mac and more. Now the singer-songwriter is gearing up to release his solo album The Great Divide (out on June 7).

Nicholson says "Immigrant Nation," the first release from the album, celebrates all those who've come to America in search on freedom and opportunity.

"'Immigrant Nation' was written during the same time I wrote 'The Great Divide' and 'Trickle Down.' I was having a strong reaction to the politics of division and the news of children being separated from parents at the border and songs kept coming through spontaneously," Nicholson tells Wide Open Country. "I had no plans to make a record, the songs were recorded into my phone and not shared beyond my wife. I finally realized I had to make proper recordings, and I called on my friend and master multi-instrumentalist John Jorgensen to help, and he amazed me, playing guitar, mandolin, twin saxophones, bass, percussion, I later added my buddy Shawn Camp on guitar. My father-in-law immigrated from Germany in 1936 to escape the Nazis, hard to imagine him being turned away. Of course all our ancestors came here seeking freedom and opportunity. The song is so simple, and though our immigration policies are more complicated, America has been the refuge for so many since the beginning, and I just had to put it in a song everyone can sing along to. I was thrilled when my friend Jim Shea had the idea for the video with children of various ethnicities interacting, building a wall and knocking it down and showing pictures of their ancestors."

Watch the video for "Immigrant Nation" below.

In addition to The Great Divide, Nicholson will release another album, More Days Like This, as his blues alter ego Whitey Johnson. Wide Open Country is premiering the album's title track today.

"'More Days Like This' was written with my friend Seth Walker. In my Whitey Johnson performances it is always so well received, and instant singalong, to hopefully offer a respite from all the incoming craziness of the daily news. Just a simple song to celebrate time together with the one you love," Nicholson says. "Recorded with Whitey's amazing Nashville band, featuring Dana Robbins on the sax solo."

Listen to "More Days Like This" below.

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