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Nathaniel Roland playing live ~ 2010
Nathaniel Roland playing live ~ 2010

“With music, we can communicate with no boundaries, in a language that every person can understand.”

~ Nathaniel Roland

The riddle of Nathaniel is whether it is his music or his resolute spirit that gets him through such things as the childhood diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy, which taught him to live beyond the pain, fatigue and weakness of his disease, to the lung cancer he survived in 2016. Music and the abiding need to create it, paired with his stubborn will to thrive in dire circumstances work symbiotically to keep both the man and his music moving ahead.

Nathaniel’s voice cuts through the music with a natural quality and sensual darkness. He carved his sound from an intricate plethora of styles and influences, creating songs that are melodic and catchy without the music feeling forced.

“The songs lead me to where they want to go. I’m really just a slave to the music.”

In May, 1977, Nathaniel Roland Wycoff was born into a musical family; his late father was a brilliant guitar player and his mother, a beautiful singer.

After his father passed in 1990, he soon reached for a guitar, and by 1994 he was writing and performing songs live with a group of friends that would soon become the band Captain i. They had a tight and punchy rock sound and played many shows around the Minneapolis/St. Paul and Western Wisconsin areas. They released their only album, Sooner Than Now, in the summer of 2000. By 2003 the band members had moved on to other pursuits, though they remained very close friends.

Nathaniel never stopped writing, releasing music under the name Dogshow  following the Captain I years. While the music was mostly instrumental and definitely on the conceptual side, his sensibility in songwriting was growing, as was his ability to mix and record the music by himself.

Still working on his music on the side, he joined a couple of cover bands in 2005 and was gigging heavily for the next several years. His Radiohead and U2 tribute bands were well received, even appearing on the cover of Minneapolis’ City Pages as “The World’s Most Ambitious Cover Band.”

Unfortunately, tragedy was just around the corner. In 2011, he lost his best friend and former singer/drummer of Captain i, Jason “Ozzie” Oswald. Then, in 2012, when his Muscular Dystrophy was slowing him down significantly, he made the difficult decision to retire from playing live shows.

He had been on prescribed pain killers since 2002 and after some struggles with depression he chose to stop taking the pain medication in 2013. His mood and quality of life improved and his creativity was infused with new life, as well.

In the midst of working on writing new songs and covering some of his favorite material, the lung cancer diagnosis in 2016 came as a shock, but he didn’t succumb to despair. After a double lobectomy he made a full recovery and started working on new music immediately. Later that fall he released the instrumental album “Prairie Dogs Have Plague!”

That next spring, Nathaniel opened Bailey Park Studio in Baldwin, Wisconsin, where he would write and record the album “Phoenix of Tragedy.” The title song speaks to the pain and struggles he faced and his rising up to overcome them. This album has been described as “fearless” and “if Pink Floyd and Johnny Cash had a baby.”

Nathaniel is currently working on new material as well as producing/recording other artists in his recording studio on his hobby farm an hour east of Minneapolis. He is happily married to the woman who inspired the song “Just a Kiss,” “Baby, Let’s Groove” and many others.

Nathaniel in his studio ~ 2022
Nathaniel in his studio ~ 2022
Discography & Bands
  • 1994 – 2003 Captain i
    • 28 Hours On Mars (1998)
    • Sooner Than Now (2000)
  • 2003 – 2009 Dogshow
    • Dogshow
  • 2007 – 2011 – Deviant Distraction
  • 2007 – 2009 – Softail
  • 2009 – 2012 – Just (a Radiohead Project)
  • 2010 – 2013 – Rattle & Hum (U2 Tribute)
  • 2016 – present – Nathaniel Roland
    • Prairie Dogs Have Plague! Vol. 1
    • Phoenix of Tragedy
    • Dogshow
    • Prairie Dogs Have Plague! Vol. 2
    • Darkness
    • Santa’s Synth
    • Baby Let’s Groove
    • Prairie Dogs Have Plague! Vol. 3
    • Prairie Dogs Have Plague! Vol. 4
    • Bad Part of Town
    • Prairie Dogs Have Plague! Vol. 5
    • Have Yourself a Merry Little Synthmas

Nathaniel Roland’s music is available on all streaming services or for purchase here.

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