RON HARTMAN / CHRONICLE PHOTO- Greg Nestler performs at the PublicHouse in Springfield on Friday evening.
SPRINGFIELD – Greg Nestler is playing this Friday at the Bohemia Mining Days Festival in Cottage Grove. On July 28, Nestler and his band will help celebrate the return of the Coburg Concert in the Park. Two days later, they’ll be playing at the Eugene Saturday Market, then they’re back in Cottage Grove on Aug. 24 for the Concert in the Park at Bohemia Park.
Anybody noticing a theme here?
When it comes to playing community-related events, Nestler can’t get enough of them.
“I love playing those, they are some of my very favorite shows, I wish I could do those type of shows all the time,” Nestler said after playing in front of a nearly packed PublicHouse courtyard Friday night. Nestler performed solo because one of his bandmates suddenly tested positive for Covid.
“The community events are so fun, my family gets to come. They don’t always get to come and watch, so I love it when they do. I find the crowds are great, the setup is great, and the stage and sound is usually a really smooth operation.”
Nestler’s wife, Aly, grew up in Springfield and they bought a house together in 2017, where they welcomed their daughter, Avery, now 3.
“I couldn’t do anything without Aly – she’s the backbone of the operation,” Nestler said. “I just do the fun stuff.” He said his wife works for the Lane Education Service District, where she helps teachers and does contract work with OEA.
“Aly is also close to getting her PhD,” he added.
Nestler has been especially prolific in his songwriting as of late. There was the forced Covid break, and he also lost his mom in 2019. “A lot of my new material is exploring those feelings,” Nestler said.
On Friday night he played a beautiful, brand-new tune called “Nobody” that seemed to strike a few emotional chords.
“It’s like a new little baby, it’s fun when you write songs,” Nestler said. “When you finish it, it’s new and shiny, and you love it, you haven’t grown to despise it – then the next night you perform it and see how it lands.
“So I literally just finished that song last night, so it’s good to hear that it went over well.”
The new album – Love Fear Desire – will be available on all platforms after the CD release party on Aug. 20 at Sam Bond’s.
Nestler said his No. 1 mentor is Bill Harkleroad, the 73-year-old former guitar player for Capt. Beefheart who lives in Eugene.
“We’re so lucky to have somebody here in the community who gives lessons to schmucks like me,” Nestler said. “Every day he gets up and practices and learns. He’s a master and he knows he hasn’t figured it all out yet.”
Nestler has figured out enough to create a unique sound. While his style and voice are somewhat reminiscent of John Mayer, you can hear the soulful influence of Bill Withers. Still, through it all, the hard-driving styles of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimi Hendrix – his guitar gods – find a place in the mix, too.
“I’m still learning every day,” Nestler said. “Having a guy like Bill around always keeps it challenging for me.”
Nestler said he isn’t scheduled to play any future shows at the Axe & Fiddle or the Brewstation, but he sure wouldn’t be opposed to playing there again.
“I love playing down there, especially during community events because people there really care about their music,” Nestler said. “And those two places have the best sound guys, too.”