Nikki and the Barn Boys, a band from Cape Cod, was a highlight of the summer music scene on Nantucket in 2023, and the group will be returning to the island this month. While you may be familiar with their sound after catching them at Cisco Brewers earlier this year, what you may not know is that Nikki and the Barn Boys have a special connection to a well-known Nantucket family: the Bressettes.
Nikki and the Barn Boys features two sets of brothers and lifelong friends: Graham Hempstead, 21, lead guitarist, Liam Hempstead, 19, on drums and backup vocals, Thomas Bressette, 18, rhythm guitar and backup vocals, John Bressette, 18, on bass, and Nikki Childs, 20, lead singer.
Their connection to the Bresettes of Nantucket - Nantucket Golf Club chief operating officer Tom Bressette and bartender Johnny Bresette - has helped make the band feel right at home during its gigs on the island. Their next performance will be at Cisco Brewers today, November 24th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and later tonight at The Brotherhood from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The band originally started simply as “The Barn Boys”, a fitting name since they hail from Barnstable on Cape Cod. Then they welcomed Nikki Childs, their lead singer, who brought the band a new name and a passionate sound.
“She was a very very lucky grab for us,” said John Breseette.
Nicole had reached out in hopes of getting in contact with some other musicians and growing as an artist. She had a mutual friend with Hempstead, who connected the two.
“I was looking for other bandmates, and then right when I met them that’s when we started gigging,” Childs stated.
The boys, however, grew up a block away from each other. Thomas and John have been best friends with Liam for as long as they can remember, and Graham had been playing solo acoustic music for years. During the pandemic, they started playing music together.
John stated, “We were stuck together, we might as well find something new.”
Thomas and John grew up coming to Nantucket to visit their family. Their dad moved to Nantucket a few years ago as well, so they’ve been hopping back and forth between Cape Cod and the island.
They play their music all over, from their hometown of Barnstable, up to Boston and beyond. This summer they played at the Gaslight and Cisco Brewers, as well as a few private parties.
They described Gaslight as being an “awesome space” and a more intimate experience because they are right there with the crowd. Cisco Brewers, they said, is a more “chill gig.”
“In a perfect world we would play Cisco and then Chicken Box or Gaslight on the same day,” Liam said.
Nikki and the Barn Boys’ hit song “Indigo” has a sound full of emotion and soul, with lyrics that hold depth and meaning. Their sound can be defined as bluesy, influenced by indie rock, while adding a pinch of folk.
“I’d say a lot of the songs come from just personal experience,” John Bresette said. “We’re all inspired by just what we see around us every day. More often than not, one of us will have been working on an idea for a little and then we bring it to the rest of the band to be reshaped and honed.”
Performing on Nantucket has helped them make connections and gain references for future performances. They explained performing on the island is both helpful and convenient for them, especially because their location on the Cape makes it easy for them pop out to Nantucket regularly via ferry. Performing on a small island has also helped their name spread quickly.
“I think we are also a super intimate band, when we come there, when we drive we yell out our name to people walking on the sidewalks, we definitely try to spread our name around,” Childs said.
On all streaming platforms, they have released an album, “Complicated Love,” an EP called “Thunder” and four singles. Their newest single is “Don’t Let The Roses Go Dry.” The band signed with Safe Harbor Record Label last year.
Thomas and John Bresette are twins and they are going into their first year of college at St. Michael's College in Vermont. Liam is also attending St. Michaels this fall. They are named after their two uncles on Nantucket - Thomas and John. The young college students said they are ready to tackle both playing and being students.
Graham goes to school in Florida and he has one more year left in St. Petersburg, afterwards he and Nikki plan to move to Vermont after college to pursue music all together in the same place. They will do another summer together, and then there is a discussion about touring.
John stated that another goal of theirs is to build a following in the Burlington area and start playing near their college.
“We are going to use this time off to work on originals and write songs” Thomas stated.
Check out their albums released on all platforms, along with their singles, spread the word and the love, and follow them on all social media, @NikkiandtheBarnBoys