American indie rock guitarist Zach Person’s self-titled debut shows why this young man was praised by the (very contrasting) likes of Buddy Guy and Jennifer Lopez. His musical identity, as already implied, is singularly interesting, because even as an artist that leans towards the more commercial indie rock, he still retains his roots in blues music, combining these two influences in remarkable fashion. In this album, which is composed of material launched earlier on his debut EP with the addition of some new tracks, Zach (who appeared, and impressed, in American Idol’s 15th season in 2016), takes bass, guitar, and vocals duties and is backed by talented drummer Jake Wyble. The duo takes the listener on a very enjoyable journey across blues, indie, pop, and electronica.
Merging these genres, although not something brand new, is very noteworthy, especially because it’s hard to get it right. Zach, of course, accomplishes it, and I must say, without breaking much of a sweat. His guitar tone, although modern and electronic-sounding, still carries a strong bluesy punch that propels the pop hooks that sustain the songs. Drumming is solid, so are the bass lines and together, they create the necessary dynamics for Person’s pulsating riffs and solos. Regarding his vocals, even though they are held back and particularly pop-ish, don’t be fooled, Person is an extremely capable singer with a good tone and melodic approach. The production is top-notch and clear, highlighting, naturally, Person’s guitar and vocals, although, from a personal standpoint, I would prefer if bass guitar sound was a little louder.
The album’s best moments are the opening track and album single “Can’t Stop Running” that features splendid slide-guitar, reminiscent of delta blues traditions, and an incredibly catchy and fun chorus; The slower, cadenced and equally catchy “Send Me Away” that gifts us with a blazing guitar solo; The hard-rocking, entertaining and quite different version of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook up” and the delightful and dancing “Carolina”, the least bluesy, but equally great cut on the album.
This strong record, dear readers, means that Zach Person is here to stay. Of course, as a blues fan, I hope he includes even more of the genre into his music and introduces it to new audiences, however, I understand that he may decide to drift more and more towards indie and pop, and that’s okay, as long as he keeps releasing great music, something I’m quite sure he’s more than capable of.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Can’t Stop Running
– Send Me Away
– All Shook Up
The Big Hit
– Can’t Stop Running