Nico Wind and Seth Cordova's band, Free Rein, recently cantered into the Portland music scene and their unique sound is causing quite a stir.
Led by Portland vocalist Nico Wind, whose bands have toured around the country for a number of years, Free Rein intends to produce a combination of styles and genres, including blues, R&B, soul and funk, in a professional and engaging way. Wind is backed by a dynamic crew of veteran musicians, including guitar players Seth Cordova and Gordon Hermanson; drummer Nicole Black; and bass player Kirk Bryant. Free Rein's recent gigs during the Waterfront Blues Festival at Mill Ends Tavern and other venues around town have elicited positive reviews.
Although she was born in Portsmouth, Virginia, Wind's actually a Portland girl. Her Aunt Lucy taught her first lessons on a classical guitar; the singing was happening before she could even talk. Clearly, Wind knew what path she intended to ride early in her life. A relative youngster, she opened for such acts as Ray Charles, BB King and the Coasters. Others include good friends Sonny Terry, Brownie McGee and also Curtis Salgado, Paul deLay, and Jim Mesi, who have encouraged and inspired her love of the blues.
Wind spent more than 25 years on the road, performing up and down the west coast, in Hawaii and Canada, with several of her own R&B and soul bands. A born singer who has also worked hard through the years to enhance her musical talent and ability to entertain, Wind can still stop a room in its tracks with her voice, her soul and a delivery of a variety of songs that keeps fans coming back for more.
Although guitarist Cordova was born in Idaho, he also considers himself a Portland man. Cordova has stayed involved in the music scene for many years, too. His first band was Afterburner Blues; he also played with Francine West and the High Speed Wobblers. He played in a tour of Europe with Jim Mesi, in Norway, Germany and England. When he returned to Portland, Cordova knew he had to find his day job(s) and, although he continued to jam with friends such as Norman Sylvester and Chad Rupp, he didn't totally connect to the music scene again until he met Wind. On their first date, they ended up playing together at Hoppers with Erin and Johnny Black.