From the first note, Nikki Moddelmog sounds familiar. The rich voice, the intricate melodies, the unapologetic lyrics bring to mind such artists as Michelle Shocked, Lisa Loeb, Patti Griffin and, clearly, Ani Difranco.
The music is a reflection of the woman. Nikki grew up in the Mennonite farming town of Moundridge, Kansas — but you wouldn’t know it by looking at her. With wild hair pulled into pigtails, homemade tie-dye shirt and flowing skirt, she hardly fits the conservative Kansas stereotype. Nor is there much Gen X to be found in her 1920s-era glasses or burnt-orange VW Westfalia bus (built the same year she was born). Nikki looks every bit the quirky, comfortable old soul friends know her to be. In a time and culture of pretentiousness, Nikki is adorably herself.
Nikki sings of imagined lovers, deafening silence, false starts and neglected beds. Her characters challenge each other and themselves. They hold on, they let go, they grow. Her music gives voice to the dichotomies of love and the juxtaposition of life’s desires and obligations.
One reviewer explained her this way: “Nikki is a charming and disarming mélange of contradictions. Her songs come from an old-soul-meets-Hello-Kitty philosophy of life. In a time of cynicism, she is refreshingly trusting and awkwardly self-assured. She ain’t no poser. She’s genuine, and she’s good.”
With 35 years of cello under her belt, Susan Mayo prances around Nikki’s beautiful voice with her delicate and perfectly placed accompaniment. They perform a mixture of original tunes that Muddelmog wrote, and covers the likes of Patty Griffin, Van Morrison and Bob Dylan.