Three weeks ago last night I played an acoustic show in Chicago (3 weeks already?! Really?). Not only did things go really well related to the performance and the recording, but it was so nice to spend the weekend with good friends in the city. One specific conversation I recall was with my friend Beth the night before. A small group of us had gone out for some Italian at Sabatino's (Irving Park) Friday night and wound up staying up MUCH too late at Beth's house in Wheaton, Illinois. I think the four of us all slept into the afternoon on Saturday and still weren't much good for anything til the evening. Absolutely worth it.
Somewhere over the course of catching up, Beth started asking me about my music, how things were going in Nashville, what was next, etc. Specifically she asked me what my favorite part of the whole thing is. "Performing," I answered immediately. And I continued to explain to her that my reasoning isn't even necessarily for the sake of the art itself. I mean, it is. I love music, most definitely. I love singing and playing guitar. But what I love just as much as all that is people! and connecting with people. I love what music does. I am both privileged and honored when I get to be the one drawing them together, to something they can relate to, to each other, to me. It's an amazing experience being at a concert and feeling that instant unity you share with strangers, isn't it? Imagine being the guy who gets to provide the soundtrack to that, using the songs HE wrote. It's a feeling like none other, one I've gotten to experience now in relatively small doses. Each one makes me crave it more and more. More people. More places. To finally make it my livelihood.
I think Beth was a bit surprised to hear that my music wasn't yet paying the bills. And I'm okay with that. After all, I want people to know me as a musician and an artist. Something else I said surprised her as I continued and I confessed to her that if I didn't soon keep reaching more people in more places (like Chicago), I might lose inspiration to keep writing and to keep pursuing the whole thing altogether. She was shocked.
"Zach, I can't imagine you not writing songs," she countered. Okay, this is true. I'll never quit writing. But here also: It's not necessarily the writing process that I enjoy, honestly. Songwriting intimidates me. I often fear that I'm missing how good the song could be – A weak lyric, a stale chord progression, a hook I think is mine only to find later that it was in my head from someone else's record. Whatever it may be. It's not that I never enjoy the process. But the main reason I write is so that I can have the finished work in my back pocket. My words, my story, my melody. So that I can use it to (hopefully) move someone else. You know that feeling you get when you hear a song and the words and the melody shoot an arrow straight through your gut? That's what I've always loved about songs. Someone sending it, and me receiving it as if it was addressed to me personally. That, to me, is another feeling I can't describe. I find that one song or album and I carry it around with me, like a kid and a brand new Matchbox car.
For some artists, the release comes simply in the creation of their work. Some painters simply paint. Some writers, just to get their thoughts on paper. It's probably a weakness of mine, but I feel I'm useless as an artist without both sides– Me sending and someone else receiving. It seems pointless to keep it to myself. Not for the sake of glory or that I need people patting me on the back or praising me for something I did. That's not it at all. It's the fact that having that audience and someone on the other end gives my work and my life meaning. That it's okay I gave up my old life and moved away from my family to do it. That I can do it for a living and not have to make ends meet by some other means. (I hope that makes sense and that distinction is clear.)
The show at Uncommon Ground on March 22 was truly a highlight of my career, and I can't wait to give away the recording. A room of 50 people, completely intent, singing along and cheering loudly... Those people are my foundation, and a couple of them have had my back for years now and I am so grateful for that. The fact is, however, I can't play in Chicago every week or even every month and expect the same crowd. I ought to find more places and more people to connect with. I don't want to get uninspired. I don't want to stop writing and performing, and I'm not going to.
As for right now I'm in Texas. The company I used to work for in Wisconsin happened to contact me and ask if I wanted to pick up some work (Audio/Visual installation) on a large project they have here in Dallas. I don't like being away from Nashville, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity. With it I'm now able to fund a trip to LA in a couple weeks to meet with some industry contacts I've made since moving to Music City. I'll also be finishing a couple recording projects and, finally, taking my music on the road later this year.
I thought this would be a good opportunity to let you know what I'm up to and express just what I love about being an artist.
Thanks for reading. And thanks for asking, Beth.
With a full week to spare, reservations are now FULL for the show and live album recording next week Saturday, March 22 at Uncommon Ground (Clark) in Chicago. This is great news. Thank you for calling and reserving your table.
*Important:* UG takes reservations to max capacity in the listening room. Now that the reservations are full, this means the room will be closed to those without a reservation.
I'm thrilled to perform again at Uncommon Ground. It's been seven years. This time around there's more of a story to tell. A stronger voice to use in telling it. And now- A full room to share it with. Thank you so very much.
Oh and it's all going to be recorded, too.
I'm excited to announce my return to Chicago for a performance at Uncommon Ground on Clark, March 22! And even better - The show will be recorded as a live album.
LIVE ALBUM RECORDING /
CHICAGO / Uncommon Ground on Clark
3.22.14 / 10pm
All in attendance will receive a free download of the performance once the album is mixed and finished. Uncommon Ground has a fantastic live music room, and seating is very limited. Reserve your table today by calling 773-929-3680.
Happy to have Indianapolis native and now fellow Nashville transplant, Joel Levi in support as well. Joel is a good friend of mine I met since I moved from Milwaukee last November. Watch the video for his song It's Easy To Be Alone at the link below.
See you again soon, Chicago.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X2ga54m30E
Click to stream Waiting in its entirety and purchase the album at the price of your choice.
With the Autumn of 2006 came the meeting of Zach Steinbach and drummer Frank Babeck. The two began arranging and recording a few songs Zach had written, and quickly the dream of forming a band was born. Lead guitarist Dave Streese and bassist Dana Nielsen rounded out the positions, and rock/pop band The Color Truth was made official one year later. The quartet would go on to record and release two EPs and perform at many fine clubs and venues including Milwaukee's own Summerfest, Shank Hall, and Historic Turner Hall Ballroom. The Color Truth performed for the final time in August of 2010.
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