Rancho Alegre Conjunto Festival Artist Spotlight: Nick Villarreal

Nick VillarrealNick Villarreal was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. A member of the Zimmerle family, well-known for their musical talent, it was almost inevitable that Nick would continue in his family's footsteps. Nick's first music teacher was his grandfather, James Zimmerle, who first taught Nick how to play the accordion at 5 years old. James then moved on to teach his grandson how to master el tololoche, bajo sexto, and drums. In his youth, Nick would often sit in with his uncles, Fred and Cuco Zimmerle, whenever they were in need of a bassist or drummer. 

Nick eventually started his own conjunto with his brothers Roger, David, and cousin, David Zimmerle, and recorded his first 45 on Toby Torres' recording label (San Antonio, Texas). He then moved to record under Joey Records (San Antonio, Texas). 

Nick credits the many conversations he has had with his mother, María Luis Zimmerle-Villarreal, as inspiration for many his greatest hits. Some of those hits include "Kool-Aid con Hielo," "La 'Not to Worry, '" and "La 'I Gotta Go.'" Nick Villarreal is known for his signature cumbias and credits his camarada, Juan Ramos, for helping him learn the rhythmic, danceable music. 

Nick's travels have also influenced his music and astute listeners will hear tinges of blues and rock in El Nicky Snick's repertoire. His music has taken his across the globe, touring all over the US and Mexico, and has been to Europe twice. He even recalls walking into a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden and hearing his music emanating from the establishment's speakers. He has appeared in numerous TV programs over the years including ¡Orale Primo!, a Johnny Canales-style program based out of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Nick Villarreal was featured alongside some of Norteño music's top talent including Ramon Ayala, Los Tigres del Norte, and Los Embajadores de Nuevo Leon. Over the years, he has also shared the stage with many well-known Tejano acts including Selena y Los Dinos, La Mafia, and Mazz. He has even done some unlikely collaborations, has shared the stage with musicians featured on the Lawrence Welk show, and has also released an album of collaborations he did with several Swedish musicians.

Various health problems for the past couple of decades have forced the legend to slow down his grueling pace, but he remains the hilarious, magnetic, charismatic, talented performer he always has been. 

After 12 years, the one and only, legendary Nicky Snick makes his triumphant return to Austin at Stubb's on Sunday May 7th.

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