ROOTSTIME.BE Review (translated)


by Eric Schuurmans
July 2019

"One of the leaders of the new roots and blues music revolution... "

William Zach "Zac" Harmon, from Jackson, MS, is a singer-songwriter and blues musician. Harmon worked with Northern Blues Music (Toronto, Ontario, CA) until 2015, then with Blind Pig Records (San Francisco, CA) and recently made his debut with Catfood Records (El Paso, TX).

While still in high school, Harmon played guitar for blues musicians like Z.Z. Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Myers. In the 80's he moves to Los Angeles to work as a musician. He started as a studio musician and later became a songwriter/producer. Harmon was the producer of Black Uhuru's album 'The Mystical Truth', which received a Grammy nomination in 1994. He also wrote songs for The O'Jays, The Whispers, Karyn White and Alexander O'Neal.

Harmon made his solo debut in 2003 as a blues musician with 'Live at Babe and Ricky's Inn'. Harmon (& The Mid South Blues Revue) will be nominated as "Best Unsigned Blues Band" at IBC 2004. In 2005, Harmon was voted "Best New Blues Artist" by the listeners of XM Satellite Radio and in 2006 he received a Blues Music Award for his album "The Blues According to Zacariah" [2005] as "Best New Artist Debut". In 2010, Harmon received a Peavey Award at the Mississippi Celebrates its GRAMMY Legacy.

Zac Harmon's 6th album (his debut with Blind Pig Records) 'Right Man Right Now', the successor to 'Music Is Medicine' [2012], was released in 2016. This month (his debut with Catfood Records) #7, 'Mississippi BarBQ' will be released. The album, produced by Jim Gaines (Santana, SRV), was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, TX. In addition to 10 original songs, the finale is a Bob Dylan cover. The musicians who backtracked him (on 7 tracks) were The Rays (a group of studio musicians): Bob Trenchard (bass), Richy Puga (drums), Johnny McGhee (guitar), Don Ferguson (keys), Mike Middleton (trumpet), Andy Roman (alto sax), Nick Flood (tenor & baritone sax) & Drake Dominique (trombone & tuba). Harman recorded four tracks with his regular tour band: Corey Carmichael (keys), Chris Gipson (bass), Ralph Forrest (drums) & Texas Slim (guitar).

Harmon wrote his songs with Trenchard (Johnny Rawls, Otis Clay) and John Hahn (Shemekia Copeland). "Gypsy Road", with which Zac Harmon opens the album, is the first song (of a series of 5) with The Rays and Johnny McGhee on guitar. Then follow "So Cold", the infectious "Smoke and Mirrors", the soulful quiet title track "Mississippi BarBQ" and the uptempo "Desperato Love" (both including beautiful harmonies by Janelle Thompson, Shakara Weston, SueAnn Carwell & Corey Carmichael). Then the Zac Harmon takes over on the shuffle "Honey Pleez" and the funky "Make a Dollar Out of a Fifteen Cents", the song he wrote with John Hahn. On "Sunday Morning After Saturday Night" is the guitar solo of Texas Slim and on "Lord Save Me From LA" Corey Carmichael is behind the keyboards as well as Dan Ferguson. The ZH Band also takes care of the last 2 songs. "Since You Been Gone" is also very soulful and "Knocking On Heaven's Door", the closing track, the Bob Dylan cover.

With Hookrock 2019 still in mind, reviewing Zac Harmon's new album 'Mississippi BarBQ' is a reason to enjoy his great performance at the festival. Mississippi BarBQ' by Zac Harmon is to drain your thumbs and fingers!

"Zac Harmon's new Catfood Records' release 'Mississippi BarBQ' is to lick thumbs and fingers!....