“Pim on a Limb”
Glen Ellen-raised musician releases new album
By Tracy Salcedo
Igot to know Nick Pimentel back when he was part of the daily carpool from Glen Ellen to Maria Carrillo High School.
He was in charge of the soundtrack, syncing his phone to the car stereo and selecting tunes that kept everyone content (or as content as teenagers can be) for the duration of the drive. He turned me on to artists that remain staples of my playlists, like Dispatch and Xavier Rudd. Music was his medium and a passion we shared, so it was no surprise when he reached out to announce the release of his newest album, “Pim on a Limb.”
“The album is a pop-oriented blend of hip-hop-inspired folk music. You can call it alt-folk,” Pim told me via email. “There are acoustic guitars and synths and drum samples and fiddles, but the lyrics are the centerpiece.”
Pim’s storytelling, exploring identity, relationships, and culture, is front and center on the new album, but so too is his musical curiosity and willingness to be bold. The singer/songwriter’s carefully crafted words are backed by an intriguing blend of upbeat folk rhythms, punk, techno, and quick-talk hip hop. The musicianship is solid: Most of the drumming is performed by Pim’s eldest cousin, Dustin Burton, and the fiddles and saxophone are handled by Bay Area musician Matt Takiff, who also provided a unique instrument for the “pizzicato plucks” on the track titled “Richness Grew Deeper” — the walls of his newest, unfinished tiny home on a workspace lot in Oakland. Pim plays bass on some tracks, and other tracks feature the work of the Santa Rosa Junior College jazz program’s Jon LaFranchi.
Pim, now 27, was raised in Glen Ellen. His parents, Alison and Todd, are both music lovers, so his inclinations to both write and play had solid support from the get-go. From Maria Carrillo he moved to Portland, Ore., where he attended Lewis & Clark College and earned degrees in rhetoric and philosophy. Those studies influenced his work as a songwriter, Pim explained, teaching him to look at the world critically and enabling him to acquire the language he needed to “express my feelings around complex social issues.”
But even more important than the content of his rhetoric coursework at Lewis & Clark was the methodology: “It’s not what I’m saying but how I am saying it,” Pim said. His lyrics may have “fairly direct message[s] … but the degree in rhetoric taught me how to craft a world that embeds my philosophies more subtly. … I can share my worldview by embedding it instead of preaching it.”
Pim also honed his skills as a performer and musician while in college, working as a recording engineer in Portland and fronting The Goddamn Band, a regional alternative rock band. In the years since, his pursuit of music has taken him to Point Reyes and Los Angeles, and “when the ‘rona hit,” he retreated to the “supreme isolation” of a cabin on the Yuba River in the foothills of the Sierra, which provided the backdrop for the making of “Pim on a Limb.”
These days, Pim lives in Sebastopol with his partner, and is settling into work as a remote recording engineer and session musician. He is also a guide with Sonoma Zipline Adventures, offering canopy tours of the coastal forests in Occidental.
The entire album “Pim on a Limb” is scheduled for release on Spotify on May 28. The first single, “Amber Waves,” is now available by searching Nick Pim on Spotify or Apple Music.