The Troubadour of Peace.
“We should manifest ourselves in exquisiteness every chance we get,” Zach professes his life’s philosophy on his latest release, The Antidote, his 15th release is as many years.
This mantra is not only something Zach sings, but something he lives. In 2010, he started the Akron Peace Project, an organization working to educate and inspire nonviolence in the community. This project works with numerous organizations to increase compassion and peace in our daily lives. Recently named “Humanitarian of the Year” by Akron Life Magazine, he is also a yogi, Kingian Nonviolence Trainer, and a World Peace Diet Facilitator. In 2014 he helped to start the Big Love Fest, the Big Love Network, in 2015 the Yoga Summit, in 2016 the Summit of Faiths, and in 2017 the Heart Mela.
Yet, perhaps his most powerful impact is through his music. “Music is so powerful. It can touch a soul at such a level as nothing else can,” Zach says. Lending his music to compassionate causes and events, he performs across the US nearly 200 dates annually for everything from yoga classes and veggie and peace fests, to house concerts and music festivals.
His latest release is his 17th, a Voice in the Wilderness, is a special record with Zach performing all the parts except for the drums and bass on 3 songs. It is a record for healing, featuring the mantras of "strength to Love" (Conscience Calls), "Open my heart" (Sun and Moon Together), "We're all here to love" (This I Believe), along with Shero (the empowerment of Women), Illusions (calling on us to seek something "Bigger than ourselves"), a message of zero waste in Only Use What We Need, and a collaboration with playwrite John Burton on an update to I Want a Future Too.
As a kid, growing up in Northeastern Ohio, my big dream was to be a basketball player. But it wasn't meant to be. During the summer of 9th grade my appendix ruptured, landing me in the hospital and nearly killing me. The hospital and recovery time was long, and friends brought me music to cheer me up, especially the White Album by the Beatles, and everything changed. By the time I left the hospital, all I wanted to do was play music. My aunt and gramma got me a beginner guitar from JC Penny, with an amp built in to it. The guitar came pretty easy. Music is definitely my path, my puropse. After a few months of writing songs and learning songs from the radio, I was talked into going to an open mic, where I was the last performer of the night. I sang my three songs, two of which were originals. My set was met with a standing ovation and bookings for a year. After attending a Jewel concert, I decided music was what I wanted to do forever. Music is who I am. By the time my second CD came out in 2000, I was performing 100+ shows a year, and I had begun touring around the region. When my 21st birthday rolled around, my 3rd CD was coming out, and I had jumped up to 200 shows a year. As 2014 clicks in, I just released my 15th official CD (with 3 more slated for release this year) and tour coast- to-coast. In fact, my van (The Buffalo) and I are on the move someplace in the country more often than not. Nothing makes me happier than writing songs and singing them for people. Everything from house concerts to yoga classes to amphitheaters to charities to cafes to theaters are on my touring schedule.
The last few years, I have been in the midst of a spiritual and personal quest that lead me to the works of Gandhi, Tolstoy, and in turn, Martin Luther King. A new door opened inside me as I read about the work for nonviolence within and without. With a friend, I created the Akron Peace Project to spread nonviolence in the self, the home, and the community. It has made leaps and bounds in its short existence. Coupled with my Love Initiative movement, my music which is naturally very hopeful and optimistic has been able to lend its voice to the power we all have to change ourselves and the world.
His last bright lights release, The Antidote, reflects his vocation and passion for creating a better world. He hopes it can “inspire people to their highest goodness, to encourage us all to manifest this goodness in some way in our lives.” This idea echoes in “Ignite the Soul,” when he sings, “Give, give, the gifts you give. Ignite the soul." With themes of believing in our own power for kindness (Manifest), peace building (Peace By Piece), social politics (Ohio Breaking), and veganism (Plants), this record is a spiritual journey and social statement. One song takes on fracking (I Want a Future Too), which has been a winner in the Artists Against Fracking Video Contest, chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon; while songs like “Hymn” remind us that, "when the world comes to drag you down, light your smile, it keeps the darkness out."
Provenance was a co-writing collaboration with 17 artists from 5 states. Released as duets, this project brought much of the northeast Ohio songwriter community together.
Additionally, all proceeds from this record are creating the Love Initiative Fund, a fund which will help area nonprofits create programs to educate and inspire nonviolence in the community.
His voice and guitar will be touching lives across the country day in and day out, and his life and smile will be spreading compassion and kindness.