Akron Beacon Journal
Zach teams up with Falls High
Saturday release party for singer/songwriter to benefit school theater
By Malcolm X AbramBeacon Journal music writer
Published on Friday, Apr 24, 2009
Locally based, nationally touring artist Zach will play a concert Saturday at Cuyahoga Falls High School that serves a dual purpose: raising money for the school's theater department while doubling as the release party for the mono-monikered singer/songwriter's latest album, What I Meant To Say, to be released on the same day.
Zach is not an alumnus of Cuyahoga Falls High — he was born in Parma — but he does have direct connections with the city and the school.
''I have done a lot in the Falls and have a decent fan base there, plus my favorite soundman [Charles Korecki] in the area runs their sound department, and when we were looking for a place to have the release, he offered up using the school. And then he just said, 'Why don't we make it a benefit for the school?' '' the singer said recently after a gig at the University of Akron.
The school's theater department is not in imminent danger, but during times of economic crisis, the arts areusually the first in the budgetary crosshairs, making the show a pre-emptive musical strike.
''It's a shame. Arts are always the first thing to go,'' he said.
Though not a theater geek in high school, Zach did perform at his high school's talent show, and he says he has seen the value of arts education.
''I've had a lot of friends [since high school] and met a ton of folks for whom those programs have been instrumental in getting them through high school, and helping them find out what they want to do with their lives.''
What I Meant To Say is Zach's ninth album in a decade of performing, touring and recording. The bulk of the disc's songs were written during his father's battle with pancreatic cancer and shortly after he succumbed to the disease in 2006. But while such a deep personal loss might inspire some songwriters to fill an album with songs of pain and mourning, Zach took a different approach.
''I always try to look for the positive and the record is me searching, looking for that, and finding my way through that stuff. [The songs] are much more upbeat and hopeful that there is a way through it and a way to deal with it,'' he said.
For Zach fans, the show will likely be the last time to see him perform with his full quintet before he takes off for his annual West Coast summer tour. The show will feature several songs from the new album and some special guests, including a horn section, but there also is a good chance that the prolific songwriter will play even newer tunes.
''I'm writing new stuff constantly. I'd say I've written about 40 songs since January, so usually by the time a record comes out I've got a bunch of new material beyond that,'' he said.
A local high school band will open the show and What I Meant To Say will be available for purchase, with each ticket entitling the bearer to $3 off. Fans who can't attend will be able to purchase the CD online at Zach's Web site as well as at iTunes and other online music storefronts.
Malcolm X Abram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3758.