Zac Harmon – From the Root

Northern Blues Music

When he’s got his groove going, Zac Harmon sings a little like Chuck Jackson and his guitar technique is straight from the Albert King College Of Musical Knowledge; “Keep The Blues Alive” is practically an ode to The Master.

Harmon also proves well-rounded and far-reaching as a songwriter and musician when he dips into reggae (“That’s What A Woman Needs”) and ’60s soul, as with “Want Ads” or “The Price Of Lovin’ You,” a supremely satisfying duet with singer Sueann Carwell. Then there are traces of Johnny Jenkins, Mac Rebbenac (“Don’t Give Me Another Reason”), and Clarence Carter.

In “Hattie Mae,” Harmon spotlights harmonica player Jimmy Z, but stays in charge the rest of the time, setting the joint on fire Buddy-Guy-style with “Enough” and in “Since You Been Gone” showing that he had his ears open to the Allman Brothers Band, Derek and the Dominos and other big-rock jam bands of the ’70s as well as to players like King. The positive results of a soul- and blues-man’s borrowing from rock and roll what was borrowed from the blues are also evident in “Back Bitin’ Back Stabbers,” a direct descendant of the rock and soul of the Gap Band, and especially Billy Preston.

Harmon closes with a return to straight blues with the acoustic slide of “Man Is Not Meant To Be Alone,” having made lively steps off the beaten path between pillar and post.

This article originally appeared in VG’s Nov. ’09 issue.  All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine.  Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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