North Little Rock Singer-Songwriter, Brian Nahlen, knocked it out of the park on Saturday night, May 28 at Grove Park in Hot Springs Village. He pleased a large crowd of 300 to 400 concertgoers of all ages as he strummed his guitar and crooned out a variety of songs, both original and rock classics.

While living in North Little Rock, Arkansas for most of his life, as a child, Nahlen also spent some time traveling the world. Nahlen shared, “I am a military brat. I was born in Mildenhall, England, UK. When I was two we moved to San Antonio, Texas. When I was four we moved to Athens, Greece. I went to kindergarten and 1st grade while we were there. In 1984, my parents divorced and my mom, my sister, and I moved to North Little Rock, Arkansas and we’ve been here ever since.”

At the age of 13, Nahlen began playing guitar. “I mostly played the late 80s and early 90s rock and grunge. At 15, I took about three months of classical guitar lessons. At 16, I tried out for the North Little Rock High School (NLRHS) Jazz Band and happily made the cut. I remained in the Jazz Band for my junior and senior years in high school. I learned a lot about music in those two years.”

When asked what musicians had a profound influence on him, Nahlen responded, “The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Miles Davis, Django Reinhardt, Al Green, Bob Dylan, Chick Corea, Alice In Chains, Marvin Gaye, Sarah Vaughan, Diana Krall and so much more. I have a broad range of influences. I love music!”

Nahlen said, “I’ve been in several bands over the years. The most noteworthy would be The Big John Miller Band back in the late 90s. I’ve been in several cover bands since then. In 2015, I started the Brian Nahlen Band which is the vehicle to play my original music. It’s a five-piece band…Brian Nahlen – guitar/lead vocals, Jason Lee Hale – guitar/vocals, Tommy Priakos – keyboards/vocals, Brian Wolverton – bass/vocals, Patrick Lindsey – drums/percussion. We generally play 70% originals and 30% cover songs at our shows.”

Nahlen also said he was, “fortunate to play a dinner at The Clinton Library for the 50th Anniversary of the Little Rock 9.”

In 2017 Arkansas Parks and Tourism knew how special this performer was when they purchased the use of Nahlen’s original song Better Than I Thought It Could Be, played in a commercial to promote tourism in the state and also played in the fourth quarter of the Superbowl. Not a bad spot to have one’s song featured. Nahlen said, ” I’m proud to be an ambassador for the state of Arkansas ” Nahlen is still promoting tourism within the state on Instagram.

Nahlen has three albums, Better Than I Thought It Could BeCicada Moon, and Hiding Behind Blue Skies. and also four singles which you can find on YouTube. He loves ‘finger-picking songs such as those performed by Bob Dillon and John Prine.

At Grove Park, Nahlen’s adept guitar playing was not only accompanied by his golden tongue, but to the delight of the crowd, he treated the audience with his very-talented whistling. Nahlen also plays a little piano. In addition, he can play mandolin, ukulele, tuba, trombone, harmonica, bass guitar, bouzouki, and pretty much any stringed instrument.

Nahlen’s wife, Dawn was at the Grove Park performance and near the end, Nahlen shared a song he wrote for her called, Hiding Behind Blue Skies. Fit for the finale, he also sang, I’ll See You In My Dreams.” The couple has two teenage boys, Sean and Jack who love to play basketball. Two dogs and two cats complete the family.

A Big Shoutout to the Entertainment foundation and HSVPOA Parks and Recreation

Ken Goodman said that the concert was sponsored by Entertainment Foundation and that they have entertained 4,300 seniors and veterans. Goodman dedicated the performance to the United States Military and the military personnel who laid down their lives for our freedom and country. Goodman led the crowd in singing the National Anthem.

The concert was made possible, also due to the efforts of the Hot Springs Village Parks and Recreation Department. Special credit goes to the very talented Dakota Estes, HSV Audio Visual Supervisor, for his sound technician skills.

By Cheryl Dowden – Photos and video by Joe Dowden.