Americana trio Cosmo’s Dream sings original tales of foggy-mountain megamalls, trailer-park guns and guitars, big black cats, Iditarod sled dogs, rising rivers, grandmas online, dark days ahead, beautiful beer, and Superman’s dilemma. This Tacoma-based trio, which features Gen Obata on flatpick guitar and mandolin, Steve Nebel on guitar, and Kristi Nebel on bass, blends acoustic musicianship with solo vocals and dynamic three-part harmonies. Cosmo's Dream released their first CD, Big Sky Blues, and toured the US in February, 2016. They will be touring the United Kingdom in August 2016.
Steve and Kristi Nebel (“KNEE-bull”), both raised in the Pacific Northwest, first honed their troubadour skills during ten years on the road performing cover songs in dives and cocktail lounges, and then, in more recent years, performing their own songs in folk clubs and at festivals throughout the United States, the UK, and Japan. Because of their vast and versatile experience, each is an accomplished instrumentalist and vocalist with great facility in many styles of music. Kristi plays bass guitar and Steve plays guitar.
Kristi’s focus on harmony singing comes from a family background of barbershop singers, which she has shared with Steve. Her outstanding voice so impressed a concert promoter at the 2011 NW Folklife Festival that he attempted to recruit her for one of his projects. (Of course she was singing one of Steve’s songs, which may be part of what attracted the promoter’s attention.)
Kristi and Steve also perform with Tacoma based country swing band Cowgirl’s Dream, which showcases Kristi’s love of this genre of music. She is a finalist for vocalist of the year by the Academy of Western Artists, as well as having one of the songs off of her solo album “Detour” nominated for best song of the year by the same organization.
Frank Gutch, Jr., of Folk and Acoustic Exchange described the extraordinary vocals and music of Steve and Kristi Nebel this way:
“Folk festivals feed off of people like Steve and Kristi Nebel. Not only does their music reflect the ethics and values of that time long past which is the core of the Folk Life movements, but the Nebels have that ability to update without destroying the essence of what that music means to those simpler times . . . It is made to be played on small stages and between crafts exhibits at Folk Life Festivals and in living rooms with small groups of friends looking on. It is offspring of The Weavers and The Brothers Four and The Kingston Trio and their predecessors. But it is all Steve and Kristi Nebel.”
Steve and Kristi Nebel have recorded ten CDs and worked eight tours in the United Kingdom. Steve and Kristi’s CD "Raven Speaks" was selected by prize-winning radio producer Bob Sherman of New York City for his top ten CD picks in 2011 for his show on WFUV, "Woody's Children."
St. Louis native Gen Obata has been writing songs and playing flat-pick guitar since the 1970s. Gen writes songs that are, as Nicky Rossiter of Rambles.net online magazine wrote, “Tales of infidelity, lost love and longing.” He displays “a clean, unshowy flatpicking style,” according to online music critic Ken Renick. Roy Kasten of the St. Louis Riverfront Times described Gen’s exceptional vocals and guitar-playing this way:
“[H]is guitar playing has the emphatic muscularity of Lester Flatt and the illuminating melodicism of Doc Watson, who, like Obata, developed his style on old fiddle tunes transposed to guitar. . . . Over the years, Obata has managed to capture the best of the American singer/songwriter tradition and the best of the country instrumental legacy.”
Before relocating to the Pacific Northwest in 2011, Gen performed with several St. Louis-based bands including two bluegrass bands, The Seldom Home and Raven Moon (named the best area bluegrass band by the St. Louis Riverfront Times in 2007), and an eclectic-acoustic band, City Folk. Gen has played with the Tacoma-based bluegrass band, Barleywine Revue, since early 2012, and also performs with an acoustic duo, The Unassuming Beekeepers, and an alt-country band, Road Work.
Gen has produced two solo CDs, Take Me Don’t Take Me and Better Off On The Run, and performs on two Raven Moon CDs, one Seldom Home CD, and one Barleywine Revue CD. Two of his original songs are featured on Elbow Grease, a CD compilation of several St. Louis songwriters.