Nick Hensley & The Love Songs For Angry Men, The Solo, Duo, Trio & occasional Full Band (with the terrible name) From Saint Paul, Minnesota (The Best City in the Twin Cities!)
Nick Hensley is the former lead singer and co creator of The District, a regional alt rock act from the upper Midwest, co based out of St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL.
Hensley created Love Songs For Angry Men shortly after The District called it quits in 2003. Hensley’s alias, stage name and alter ego, Love Songs For Angry Men, originated as a bad joke… similar to other shorter lived band names like Amish Puppy Mill and Billy’s Little Secret. Unfortunately, for Nick and his band members, now approaching 20 years later...THE NAME JUST WON’T GO AWAY!
Hensley’s 3 STUDIO ALBUMS were released (in 2009, 2013 & 2019) to sold out crowds in Chicago, Saint Paul and MPLS. The albums are currently available at all major retailers, live shows and everywhere on the web. All three records have received several rave reviews from different media outlets including a 4 star review from Paste Magazine and AltCountry.com and a best of 2013 local selection in the City Pages.
The new record is in the can and due to be released in 2023 (Also the 20 year anniversary of NICK HENSLEY & The Love Songs For Angry Men)
Hensley has maintained a full schedule since 1998 playing more than 200 shows a year throughout the North America and overseas. He has shared the stage with several National acts including: The Why Store, Alex Ligertwood of Santana, Fastball, Big Head Todd and The Monsters, The Gear Daddies, The Samples, Low, Semisonic, The Wallflowers, Soul Asylum and many more.
Hensley is also a booking agent and an avid supporter of local MN music. In turn, he has created some of Minnesota’s most popular Songwriter Showcases including: MNaked and the MN Songwriter Showcase, which is held every Sunday at Plums in St. Paul (for 17+ years) and every Wed at The Aster Cafe in NE MPLS.
Nick Hensley promotes Minnesota-made tunes, one songwriter at a time
Wednesday, January 10, 2018 by Jim Walsh in Music
Nick Hensley of Love Songs For Angry Men & Creator of The MN Songwriter Showcase & MNaked Music SeriesIt’s another Wednesday night at the Aster Café, and about 60 patrons are staving off the December cold with mulled wine, hot toddies, whiskey, and warm meals. Outside the windows behind the stage, winds whip up from the frozen Mississippi, and a horse-and-buggy trots past on the cobblestone street—a romantic backdrop to the sight of a single guitar-wielding man sitting behind the soundboard.Few in the boisterous room pay attention when he starts to sing, but slowly and steadily, the chatter subsides. His husky voice implores all to listen, and as they do the man epitomizes the age-old ritual and role of the troubadour, experienced in both bars and life, and the power of a single soul to hush a room with just voice and guitar.
“I think the raspy voice kind of cheats through at first,” says the singer, Nick Hensley, sitting in the Aster’s River Room earlier that day. “But then after about a minute that goes away and so hopefully eventually you hook ’em with something other than that initial shock of, ‘Whoa, that guy doesn’t look like what he sounds like.’”Hensley has spent the last 12 years providing stages for himself and other up-and-coming songwriters. He organizes and hosts the Minnesota Songwriter Showcase series (Sundays at Plums in St. Paul and Wednesdays at the Aster in Minneapolis) and hosts the MNaked songwriter series (one Saturday a month at Flat Earth Brewing and one Thursday a month at the Green Lantern in St. Paul). Both events have become the lifeblood of the ever-fertile Twin Cities singer-songwriter scene.“Late 2005 is when we first started, but it didn’t take off right away,” says Hensley. “It took a long time, and a lot of doing it for free. And not that we pay the mortgage now, but it took a long time for us to convince [bar owners and sponsors to support it], and now it’s grown into something that I realize is as important to me as it is to other people: provide quality sound and make it really easy. I’d been to a bunch of open mics that I didn’t really care for, where the [host] just [introduced a songwriter] and then went outside and talked to his friends and didn’t listen and didn’t care. That drove me crazy.”Hensley cares. Seriously. He introduces, listens to, and pays performers for their time—no small feats in clubland. Ask any of the area singer-songwriters traversing the solo road and they’ll likely tell you that ripping their hearts open in front of strangers for few people and fewer dollars can be an alternately lonely, exhilarating, meaningful, and humbling experience. Hensley knows as much, and his encouraging words and respectful demeanor provide comfort and courage.“He creates a safe environment for people to come, whether they’ve been doing it a long time and they know everybody in the room or whether it’s their first time,” says songwriter Graham Bramblett, who sits at the bar as Hensley turns the mic over to the first songwriter of the night. “I’ve been a regular since 2013. I was really at a point where I wasn’t writing a lot and I had some insecurity about what I was doing as far as songwriting, and it created a consistency and rhythm for me to challenge myself, like, ‘You need to get out and you need to play.’ By doing that I met other songwriters and they said, ‘Hey, I’ve got a slot. You should come play a show with me.’ So a lot of really good energy flows from the songwriters’ nights, and Nick is kind of the nexus of the scene.”It’s an oft-repeated accolade among area singer-songwriters, be it up-and-comers or vets who’ve broken through to media coverage and radio airplay. As songwriter Averil Bach puts it, “The singer-songwriter community here is well and warm, like a down comforter, and Nick has a constant invitation to get as many people under that blanket as possible.”“He’s not like, ‘This is my kingdom, my fiefdom.’ He’s, ‘This is everybody’s,’” says songwriter Doug Collins. “For as busy a musician as he is, he is the most supportive person I know—to everyone. He’s really fostered this community that so many of us singer-songwriters rely on, both for gigs and basic human emotional sustenance. He honestly cares about every single person that goes up there, and he wants them to succeed. He’ll background sing or play harmonica or do whatever or do nothing if that’s what you want. He’s a very sympathetic musician and person.”Hensley grew up in Detroit and Chicago, where he attended a Waldorf school and was first introduced to music. He moved to the Twin Cities to attend St. Thomas in the ’90s, but dropped out to sing in the District, a college-rock band that regularly played the Fine Line and other Midwestern clubs. After the District split up, he picked up the guitar and started writing solo songs for the first time in his life, but he missed the community of a band, and so his collective Love Songs for Angry Men was born—along with a desire to bring songwriters together.Now 41, the newly married Mac-Groveland homeowner helps make ends meet with day gigs as a voice-over artist, jingle writer, and club booker. He’s unassuming about his role as a scene-maker, and he stammers away praise before it even hits the ether.“I hope I don’t make myself out to be anything that… I think that it’s all of us together,” he says, post-stammer. “There’s a solid crew of 30 to 40 that I see month to month, and tying all these genres together and seeing all these people start bands is really cool. It’s not even the scene or specific genres—it’s just a bunch of people that care about something coming together to even have a scene. Because you can see that things are closing and changing rapidly, and that’s a scary thing, so I think we all… I’m just proud to be a part of something once in a while.”Still, why does he do it? Most songwriters who choose the solo route prefer solitude and the freedom of a one-person operation; most musicians don’t carry an entire scene on their shoulders. But Hensley has made the act of championing artists into a gift that gives back.“I love to keep busy. Like, I get anxiety attacks on the beach—not when my head’s in the game,” he concluded. “But I’m so afraid that I’m annoying. I literally have [sent] strange texts like, ‘Thank you for letting me text and tag you throughout the years, thank you for loaning us your talent, I apologize for the texts.’ But this is where we are, and this is what we have to do. And now part of it is, I get to watch all these great people from when they first started to now they’re blowing up. We all get a kick out of it.
Nick Hensley (aka Love Songs for Angry Men)- The Beginning of an Ending
TRANSLATED FROM DUTCH:A process that grabs you by the scruff of the neck is often a source of inspiration. This includes Nick Hensley and his latest project. He has his musical tale of love, loss and separation entitled: The Beginning of an Ending. A difficult period, when you honestly analyze, can also be beneficial - is his conclusion. This album is dedicated to all those people whose hearts have been repeatedly broken. "We get stronger everytime we put ourselves back together": is Hensley's experience, and he knows that a new beginning can be lurking around the next corner. If you dare to live, he is surprisingly continuously, rarely boring or paved. There are pitfalls, and there are challenges. There are options when you use them within the possibilities you are awarded.
Such is life, a matter of trial, get up and move again. Nothing that to consider. You for grantedSeveral years ago my attention was drawn by Nick Hensley presents Love Songs for Angry Men. A raw album where the haunting raspy singing was leading. Since then, it seems little has changed. The class of the plate is at least continued. Yes, damaged men can be heard and show their feelings without being pathetic to reduced. The Beginning of An Ending again offers several love songs. One of the most beautiful on this album is the duet with Ashleigh Still. A very short track, Awkward Correspondence, but he knocks it out from all sides. The abrasive, almost plaintive, sound on the strings has undoubtedly intended to accentuate it. Painful element Music that speaks! By this I do not at all the say the other songs are lacking. Nick Hensley appeals to your senses, and does not shy away from taking gentle method. The cumulative,The Last Thing You Said, brings tears. Not pity, but sympathy. Fear, insecurity, wounded pride, sadness, a whole portion are put forward. His feelings put to words, can hardly be otherwise, touch you. A therapeutic project, but not one that makes you weep in a towel because, as we said, each end has a new beginning. Music created out of necessity becomes beauty. Here at least.
My brother tipped me this Nick Hensley CD a while ago...
If we are in terms of genre music on the same track, and give each other sometimes an occasional boost. Patches of Love Songs for Angry Men came by occasionally from a digital source nearby. Secretly I sometimes had to look at the display on my screen: "Who is this" Simply, this is the kind of music that matters! But before I could focus on this CD, myself carefully we unfortunately been a month or three more.
However, my brother Drenthe right that this is one of the better albums of 2009. Most of the songs have been around for several years, although this result is Nick's first solo. Some were already regularly played by former band of this new singer songwriter.Some of these songs are even previously recorded. If you are lucky you will find them something on Ebay. But my instinct tells me that this acoustic music of The District is scarce, because even though there are several live recordings, the material was sold only after concerts. When terziele go of this group began acute Nick's solo career. Nick Hensley is the only fixed component during the recording of this CD, as well as performances by this artist draws from a rotating musical group. Besides the 14 balanced compositions, is the basis of this record without any doubt the raw voice of Nick. Even though the numbers considering semi-acoustic, they wear obviously a hard rock feel to it.Retained voltage at intelligently written material about the rough rootsy life. No poetic conceit, but music about alcohol and women, and other types of loves. Love Songs for Angry Men is the title, and indeed systematically seeps through something of disappointment, but also regret. Get Off The Fence is one of the shortest songs, and provides simplified again the theme that Nick Hensley sings in his music. Let's make the world a better place, less complexities, and more understanding. But "I'm a Rock 'n Roll fool, who traded his live for a Barstool" Music from the heart of a tough guy who actually still show very mild weather. This is a clear case, accompanied toehalen that man!TRANSLATED FROM DUTCH: My brother tipped me onto Nick Hensley's CD a while ago. If we are in terms of genre music on the same track, and give each other sometimes an occasional boost. Patches of Love Songs for Angry Men came by occasionally from a digital source nearby. Secretly,I sometimes had to look at the display on my screen: "Who is this" Simply, this is the kind of music that matters! But before I could focus on this CD, myself carefully we unfortunately been a month or three more. However, my brother Drenthe was right. This is one of the better albums of 2009.Most of the songs have been around for several years, although this result is Nick's first solo. Some were already regularly played by former band of this new singer songwriter. Some of these songs are even previously recorded. (If you are lucky you will find them on Ebay). But my instinct tells me that the acoustic music of The District is scarce, because even though there are several live recordings, the material was sold only after concerts. When the end go of this group began acute Nick's solo career. Nick Hensley is the only fixed component during the recording of this new CD, as well as performances by this artist draws from a rotating musical group. Besides the 14 balanced compositions, is the basis of this record without any doubt the raw voice of Nick. Even though the numbers considering semi-acoustic, some wear obviously a hard rock feel to it.Retained voltage at intelligently written material about the rough rootsy life. No poetic conceit, but music about alcohol, women, and other types of loves. Love Songs for Angry Men is the title, and indeed systematically seeps through something of regret. Nick Hensley sings in his music. Let's make the world a better place, less complexities, and more understanding. But "I'm a Rock 'n Roll fool, who traded his live for a Barstool" Music from the heart of a tough guy who actually still show very mild weather. This is a clear case, accompanied toehalen that man!
“Huge vocals, rich guitar tones and heart wrenching lyrics are what drives this highly anticipated 2nd album from indie folksmith, Nick Hensley (aka Love Songs For Angry Men), from Saint Paul, Minnesota.”
Bill Richards, City Pages
“Whether singing about barefoot prophets in his front yard or a crush on a Saint Paul girl bound for Hollywood, Nick Hensley has a knack for telling it like it is in his rootsy, alcohol-induced, alt-country way. Love Songs for Angry Men lives up to its promise. Just don’t expect a phone call the morning after.”
“"Hensley's first solo effort, Love Songs For Angry Men, is destined to be an indie classic. The lyrically driven, Americana album is similiar to the works of Ryan Adams with a shot of Celtic pain poured in the mix."Gray Laurent - Paste Online Magazine4 OUT OF 4 STARS”