Nickelas Smokey Johnson (Field+Stream) is a musician and multidisciplinary artist from the Northern forests of Alberta, Canada. Drawing from western folk traditions and the avant garde, he creates a kind of gothic country music defined by Edmonton Journal as “a claustrophobic yet cinematic expression of prairie life, of potential threats, of existential discontent.”
He splits his time between Edmonton and Mossy Trails, his family’s off-grid property where he works as caretaker and curator of a forest populated by a pantheon of large handmade wooden gods, and hosts live music on the Boreal Vegas stage, an open-air, solar powered venue he built with his retired folks. It was here where “Horsecock” was written and the accompanying video was recorded.
“It’s a composite memory of growing up with rural men whose fears forbid them from experiencing awe,” Smokey notes. “In the video, the outer frame captures the trees I gazed out at to empty my mind to make room for this very important equine phallus ballad.
Using a mix of dusty acoustic and electric instruments, wobbly synths and lofi field recordings, Smokey croons through a cinematic dream world of regret and desire. A doomed scout, he wanders the woods holding aloft humor and horror like flashlights in each hand.
Smokey’s previously released music was supported by The Feeelings, a rotating group of top-tier artists that included Peter Sagar (Homeshake, Mac Demarco), Paul Arnusch (the Bobby Tenderloin Universe, Faunts, Whitsundays), Aaron Parker (Cantoo, Whitsundays), and Tom Murray (Eamon McGrath).