This record is all about transformation and change. Not in a scary way-- not like the change where you leave "what was" behind. This is about keeping "what was" and bringing "what can be" into the larger realm of "what is", ya dig? Transformation-- in this case--is manifested through the power of music. Even the album title speaks to transformation, and-- at least according to the new bio that is written for people who don't already know Zach-- it is about Zach Deputy's transformation into a "mature singer-songwriter". Let's face it, many of us partake in a lovely little sub- or counter-cultural reality that some call "the jam band scene." There aren't a lot of bands in the scene who wear that label happily, and it is a constricting label for most. We like to think of it as a diverse group of people who love to find new music and for whom music is an extraordinarily important part of the rich fabric of their lives. People who love Metallica and Marley at the same time. People who love quality and who have a mood for every song, or a song for every mood. Why even say all of this? Well, because Zach is thought of by many as a "jam band guy". That's why we have to say things like "Zach Deputy's transformation into a mature singer-songwriter" in bios... bios written for people who may have heard about him, but don't think a monster looping wizard who makes people dance can write a serious record! This record goes way beyond that. It goes back to the roots of a lot of this "scene" and a lot of other "scenes". Heck, even your mom would love this record! Her mom, too, if she was a fan of Ray Charles... and the same goes for your dad and your uncle-- even the weird one. This is universally appealing music from a gifted musician who transcends "scenes". So, here is how it all happened...
There was no real intention to write a "mature singer songwriter" record when the conversations started about the follow-up to Sunshine. As we started to tell you last week, Zach and producer Scott Jacoby decided to make a record after working together on a couple of little things. Zach's manager Tom knew Scott had done a lot of work on urban records and he felt that Zach had some great tracks that could use a "boomin' in da Jeep" kind of vibe (you know, Lincoln Continental, Real Music, all that more hip hop flavored Ziggy D stuff...). Well, Zach sent some music over and Scott just didn't get it. It was live stuff-- looping stuff-- and Scott wanted to hear songs. When Tom told Zach this, Zach just went to Scott's studio with his acoustic guitar and played a few tunes. Well, the urban record concept went out the window and everybody said "Hey, let's make a Ray LaMontagne kind of record!" Really-- those were the words. The fact is Zach has tons of great songs that don't work in a looping performance, because... well... there are a lot of chords and changes and structure. Song stuff. It just took Zach walking in with his acoustic to change all of the ideas everybody had held up to that point. Transformation. So, the date was set and Scott picked some phenomenal New York players and everybody got together at this great studio in Brooklyn on August 2, the Monday after 2010's Gathering Of The Vibes. To handle the ever-present Latin, Caribbean and African elements in Zach Deputy's backbeat and place them in the contemporary soul / pop format of the songs, Jacoby tapped Graham Hawthorne (Aretha Franklin, Harry Belafonte, Joan Osborne, Paul Simon, David Byrne and more) for the drum kit. Bassist Al Carty came into the studio after having played four church gigs that day. Despite the list of artists he has recorded or toured with (Lou Reed, Alicia Keys, De La Soul, Carrie Underwood, Gavin DeGraw, Me'shell Ndegeocello and more), the church gigs alone proved that Jacoby was on the mark with this choice for the low end. Zach Deputy is, after all, a soul singer whose music is underpinned by Gospel as much as by any other musical idiom. Equally at home in the Gospel tradition, pianist / organist Will Buthod (Jay-Z, Fat Joe, Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Mashonda, The Harlem Gospel Choir and more) completed the studio trio that fleshed out Zach's vision for the recording-- a vision made real by Jacoby's pitch perfect choice of accompanists. These four accomplished professionals met for the first time on the first day of recording and worked as if they were old friends with a common purpose. It is possible that the only benefit to recording with a limited budget in a small window of time is that the raw essence of the session is not stripped away by weeks or months of second guessing and revision. The instincts and experience of the players is critical in sessions like this, and these were simply the right players to fill out the sound and vibe of the record.
So what does it sound like? Well, as a boy, the music of Zach Deputy's Puerto Rican, Cruzan and Irish heritage was cooked up in the South Carolina heat. The Calypso rhythms and folk songs of St. Croix competed with the R&B / soul of pioneers like James Brown and Ray Charles for space on the family stereo. As Zach honed his craft, a unique hybrid of these influences emerged, ultimately creating the signature Zach Deputy sound-- what he calls "Island-infused, Drum 'n' Bass, Gospel-Ninja-Soul" that has made him a hot up-and-coming artist. However, this is the one-man-band sweaty dance party side of the coin. That same gumbo of influences has the humid, sultry, quieter side, too. This is the side of the slow dances... the bodies pressed close together and the quiet voices whispering in each others' ears. Another Day is a warm, mellow album, one that is perfect for after hour soirees... and if Zach Deputy is about sunshine, Another Day is about sunsets, and we all know that sunsets lead into night and another day follows. As the PR blurb says: "On his upcoming release Another Day, soul-singer and guitarist Zach Deputy taps into the spirit of Al Green, Taj Mahal and Stevie Wonder, creating a soulful rhythm and blues album rich with ballads and mid-tempo songs." That pretty much sums it up. Back to transformation. There is little similarity between what you have come to expect from Zach and what is offered up in this new record. Another Day is, thus, an appropriately titled album, and it is truly an album in the classic sense-- a collection of songs that come from the same time and place, inspired by the same muse.
So, where did it come from? What is the muse-- the inspiration for this transformation? Well, it came from all of you fans, in part. Over the past three and a half years, Zach Deputy has performed over one thousand live shows, living out of his tour van. Most days begin in a hotel room and end a couple of hours after walking off the stage, leaving a packed house of sweaty dancers calling for more. The constant touring and the people he has met along the way, the life on the road and the life away from home and his family, the trials and tribulations, the triumphs and the love of-- and for-- you, the friends and fans... these are the inspirations for Another Day. Reflective and introspective, the album provides a glimpse at the soul of an artist and the depth of a songwriter. Full of hope and anticipation of the promise of a new day-- another day-- it is a pivotal point in the career of an artist. Another Day offers another look at Zach Deputy... we hope you like it.
released September 27, 2011
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