John Roy Zat has been based in San Francisco, but the sheer amount of influences that are showcased on his latest album Who Zat (released on Flyin Bayou) represent a road map through some of America’s most memorable musical cities. Perhaps the most interesting thing about Zat is that the specific array of sounds and styles that are broached during each of the compositions on Who Zat are modified based on whom is featured on the track.
The album succeeds not only due to the intelligent arrangements and talented playing of Zat, but through the tremendous contributions of Kevin Harris (Back to the Mountains, Church Going Man), Patty Hammond (I Got A Devil in Me, I Hate the Work), and Brian Fullen (Going for a Ride, Fake It ‘Til You Make It). While the cast of players changes for each song on Who Zat, there is a cohesive and cogent sound that issues forth during Who Zat that is simply not heard on the releases of many current artists.
It is this attention to detail that makes this album a must-listen, with Zat’s fiddle and guitar representing the bedrock on which the other elements can build. While tracks like Gasoline & Guitar Strings, Cluck Old Hen, and Back to the Mountains have a wizened and mature sound present, there is never a sense on Who Zat that the music is rote or lacking. Rather, there is a parallel thread here that showcases a sense of wonder and amusement that will draw listeners in just as the experiences that Zat discusses will be easily identified with by a wide swath of fans. The album concludes with Waiting for Time, a poignant track that represents not only a winding down of the styles broached on Who Zat but a brief look into the possible paths that Zat can take on the follow-up to this title.
Make it a point to hear music from Zat at his SoundCloud or ReverbNation and add him on his Facebook or Twitter for the latest in information about this extraordinary musician. Keep an eye on this variety of websites for additional music, shows, and information about
Who Zat can be purchased from iTunes digitally or CDBaby physically. For those wanting to see John Roy Zat live, he will be playing in Cloverdae, CA on Saturday, May 16th, Norfolk, Virginia on July 2nd, Burlington, NC on July 3rd and Durham, North Carolina on July 5th.
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