Staff pick: Nick Tolford & Company returns with Just a Kiss

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

2010 Bands to Watch alumnus Nick Tolford & Company hits the stage at Strongwater to celebrate the release of its long-in-the-works sophomore album Just a Kiss.

Like the band's soul-stoked debut, Extraordinary Love, the songs on Kiss are born of romance, but in recent interviews Tolford has hinted the songs are less inspired by puppy love than meaningful, lifelong commitment. The players have forged a similar bond over the years, and there are moments here where the seven musicians merge into a singular, Voltron-like entity.

Of course everything still centers around Tolford's soulful pipes, and the frontman is equally adept at conveying the heartache and happiness stemming from romantic relationships. Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites and Mount Carmel open the show.

Strongwater Food and Spirits

10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11

401 W. Town St., Franklinton