SHANE Nicholson says the sudden death of his best friend and bandmate Glen Hannah last month has created a "shock wave" within the close-knit Australian country music community.
The 2017 Country Music Association of Australia Musician of the Year was also a respected figure in the industry as a guitarist, producer and designer.
"The shock wave goes far and wide with someone like him," Nicholson says. "It's a big deal and everyone is still grappling with it a bit."
Hannah was a guitarist in Nicholson's band for the past 18 years, appeared on his albums and the two Central Coast musicians were also tight away from the business.
"He was way more than just a band member, he was one of our gang," he says. "It's hard to put it all in words just yet.
"That's why I've canned all band shows in the foreseeable future, I'm just doing more stripped-down shows because it's not something I'm ready to fix. It's not just a matter of replacing him.
"The band is on ice for a little bit as we wrap our heads around it."
Nicholson is hopeful his upcoming solo dates will begin the healing process.
"I'm keen to play and get back on stage and not hibernate for too long after something so big," he says. "I feel like it might be a cathartic experience to get on stage and play some songs."
However, the 10-time Golden Guitar-winner has hardly been standing still. Nicholson is one of the most in-demand studio hands in the alt-country and Americana scene and has produced albums for Alex Lloyd, Beccy Cole, Michael Waugh, Newcastle's Katie Brianna and Ben Leece and Kurri Kurri's Tori Forsyth.
It has also led to Nicholson being involved in the ABC's television series The Recording Studio, where regular people are given the opportunity to record one special song. Some have described the show as Australian Story with music.
For Nicholson, the experience of recording everyday people was inspiring.
"It reminded us that we forget what we do every day and how much fun it is and how lucky we are to do it," he says.
"When you see someone experience it like that for the first time and the shock and awe they have for the process, it reminds you of the fact that it's pretty cool to do this day in day out."
It's been two years since Nicholson's last album Love and Blood, but he's planning to take off the producer's hat shortly and refocus on his own songwriting. It's all part of a cyclical process.
"I'm feeling like I'm ready to write now because I've been in producer mode for the last 12 to 18 months, so I'm ready to write songs and I feel like making a new record," he says.
Shane Nicholson performs at Lizotte's with Tori Forsyth on July 4.