Zac Harmon's writing, playing and singing exemplify the meaning of blues music. On his debut studio album, The Blues According to Zacariah, Harmon's approach is up-front, bold and beautiful. With the resounding vibrations of a zealous gospel minister, the bluesman preaches his way through the album of originals with southern style and grace.
Released in September 2005, the CD offers six inspiring originals that were co-written by Harmon and a variety of industry professionals. Upbeat with a funky bass line and gospel keyboard work and clapping, "That Mighty High" starts the album off talking "About a train bound for heaven in Jesus' name." The church offering tosses around bits and pieces of classic country and rock for a complete, whole sound.
After "That Mighty High," Harmon takes the listener back down into the straight-up blues with a love dedication on "Sugarman." Harmon says he will "pick six miles of cotton and a hundred feet of hay" just to be his girl's sugarman. "Sugarman" is slow, expressive and traditional blues.
"Who's Knockin'" is rockin' and accentuated with simple stops and starts and the freight-train imagery of the harp. Harmon shows strong country music roots again as the meat of the music on this song is very similar to Leann Rimes' "My Baby" on her Blue album. "Who's Knockin'" is well-done and served over-easy.
"It's Cool With Me" was written by Eddie Cotton, who was a student of Harmon's back in his days as a teacher at the YMCA. Cotton's composition is relaxed, smooth, traditional blues. Harmon's "That's Why" begins with the guitar and tells the old blues story of somebody's been sleepin' in my bed. Elongated phrasing and a delayed tempo stretch out the notes, giving a full-bodied round sound to the playing.
Harmon's voice really resonates on "Mannish Boy," written by Melvin London, Ellas McDaniels and McKinley Morganfield (Muddy Waters). His version of "It Hurts Me Too (also by Melvin London), is simple and pleasant, with strong resonating vocals from Harmon and Miss Mickey Champion, who round out the classic in a soulful duet.
"Comfort of a Man" brings the CD up to date with modern flavoring and jazzy sense. Easy-listening mood music, "Comfort" is romanticly subtle. The Santana-like guitar parts keep it deep and serious. "A Hole in My Heart" has a push-pull tightness that starts out far into the pocket and stays there. Minor chords and singing guitar strings stroll this melodic tune to a faded, final close.
The CD was produced mainly by Zac Harmon and Phil Gates at the studio Harmon co-owns with Christopher Troy, Our Own Studio, in Los Angeles, California. The mixing was done by David Rideau (Cane River Studios, Sherman Oaks, Calif.). The team worked out a fine piece of work for The Blues According to Zacariah. In December 2005, Harmon won the Best New Debut Artist from XM Satellite Radio listeners. It's no wonder. His work is recorded on at least two dozen albums, he performed on television numerous times, and performed in Coca Cola and Jello commercials. Maybe this recording (and the next) will make Harmon a household name. With the quality of the music on his debut album, it's a definite possibility.
Harmon's publicist is Betsie Brown at Crows Feet Productions. Brown can be reached at 901-278-6850 or email@example.com. More information about Zac Harmon vsit www.zacharmon.com.