I still remember the first time I heard them as if it was only yesterday. I was hanging out with a group of guys on a Friday night with nothing really planned and someone said we should go down to the Lounge to hear this new group playing. I had only been down to the Lounge during the daytime where I sometimes got a bread bowl with soup on a cold winter's day between classes but never during the evening when it turned into a bar. It was small and perhaps could only seat about twenty or thirty people and hold maybe another forty more at best so I wasn't expecting much.
When we walked in, it was noisy and smoky, two things I don't deal well with but the band was taking the stage and they played a couple songs but I really wasn't listening to hard. I was mostly just trying to survive and act entertained for my friends benefit. Then they played their third song. I fairly certain they didn't say this was a cover song but at the time, they had a lot of cover songs so it was probably just assumed. The song they played was Angel From Montgomery, a song written and sung by John Prine. They had my attention.
The Nadas were a college band and from that moment on, I caught them every chance I could. Mostly they played to bar crowds around town and it seemed like it was always the same couple dozen of us that were at their concerts but eventually the bars were becoming packed. By the time I graduated, they were getting big enough to start traveling to other towns. Eventually they became big enough that they came to central Minnesota where I was living and working at the time and I convinced a bunch of my friends to go seem them. I later moved to a river town back in Iowa where they frequented a bar across the river and I could go see them once a month or so.
Now I'm back in rural southeast Iowa and though they can play venues all over the continental states, they don't come to these parts. So it has been awhile since I have seen them in person though I still buy their albums as they become available. I am always puzzled as to why they haven't become "famous"? I'm guessing they were just behind the times and their music doesn't speak to the current generations who drive the music industry. It is sad in this way but in another way, it is like having my own private band. I love their music and yet whenever I am on the road, especially outside of central Iowa, I rarely find anyone who has ever heard of them.