Thursday, July 05, 2012

Zac Harmon Heals One's Blues On Music Is Medicine

The latest recording by Zac Harman, Music Is Medicine (Urban Eagle), brings a southern soul-blues sensitivity to a bit of prominence in its musical palette. With the current Zac Harman Band that includes Cedric Goodman on drums, Corey Lacy on keyboards and Buthel on bass with Christopher Troy and others playing on some selections. Harman had a hand in writing all eleven of the songs on this.

The most striking thing about this recording is just how good a vocalist Zac is, which should be no surprise. On this Zac handles a range of lyrical themes such as his celebration of Miss American Girl, with its musical evocation of Sly and the Family Stone’s If You Want To Stay; a witty look at Viagra®; singing songs of praise and faith in Running From the Devil, and Grandma’s Prayer; a bit of hootchie kootchie on Country Boy; a plea to keep the relationship going on Talk To Me; and I’m a Healer, with Zac singing about music being medicine and how he is gonna heal things.

Zac and his band are tight, his vocals are naturally soulful and he adds some blues-rock tinged searing guitar as appropriate. The standout track to this listener is Talk to Me, a song in the same vein as Latimore’s classic Let’s Straighten it Out, with Harman asking his woman about the airplane ticket she has and lets talk things over. He evokes Latimore and he brings a similar warmth and expressiveness on his own deep take on relationships. The harder blues feel of Country Boy, his celebration of his country roots is another excellent performance as is the country-soul flavor of Grandma’s Prayer, on which the band members show that Zac isn’t the only one who can deliver a vocal.

Music Is Medicine is a terrific demonstration of Zac Harman’s musical healing arts. He is one of the few artists today that can bridge the various blues scenes today, appealing to blues cruisers as well as those who turn out to hear their favorite soul blues and southern blues acts on the chitlin circuit and this recording can similarly bridge a wide range of listening audiences.

I received this from the DC Blues Society for review in its newsletter, the Capital Blues Messenger. The DC Blues Society received it from Zac’s manager. Here is a performance of Zac Harmon of one of his signature songs, Who's Knockin'.

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