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Interview with Zack Logan

After a stellar performance at HRH C.R.O.W.S., I became enamoured with the music of Zack Logan. I went and bought his debut album, Raised By Wolves, and it's genuinely one of my favourite albums of 2018. His sweeping melodies and wonderful lyricism make for an incredible listening experience. I wanted to know more about the man himself, so, I managed to sit down and chat with Zack about coming to the UK and Europe, his musical influences, his new album and dealing with stage fright. 

You recently visited the UK and played HRH C.R.O.W.S. How did you enjoy coming over here? 

It was great. See, we did London and that HRH show as well. It was a real blast, although there were a lot of rock fans there, I still think it went over pretty well. I met a lot of new people and that was great. I played two sets that day, one solo and I played a set later with the other two guys and that was a lot of fun. It was well organised as well which was good. Yeah, it was a great little festival.

Yeah, I loved it too. I managed to catch your set at the start of the day and I thought you were excellent. You did an amazing cover of John Prine's "Angel of Montgomery" with Elles Bailey. Who else would you like to do a duet or collaboration with?

Well, I've opened shows for Brent Cobb and we've talked about doing something. Yet, we've been kinda separated and we've been travelling. Yeah, I'd like to work with him as I really like his music and I feel like I've learned a lot from him.

For you, what is the most important thing about playing live?

For me and my style of music, I like to keep things conversational. I really like talking to people in the crowd and having a little back and forth with them. The communication aspect is the best thing about playing live. You know, whether it's talking a little bit about the song before you play it or something like that. At the end of the day, I'm still learning how to engage the crowd because every crowd is different. At HRH, during the solo set, I felt like the whole crowd was responsive and we kept that set flowing because it was conversational and laid back.

So in that respect, what would you say is the biggest difference between a UK audience and a US one?

In the UK, and across Europe in general, it felt like everyone was present in the room at that moment. It was like everyone in the room was listening. You do get those crowds in the US but there a little harder to find. So, it was really nice to feel that appreciation in the UK. Also, it was a little more consistent in the UK and Europe, it wasn't just one place. Everywhere we went it felt like people were listening to the lyrics and enjoying the songs. We played The Long Road Festival and even with the bigger crowd it still felt really respectful and that was really cool.

You've recently put out your debut album, Raised By Wolves. Could you talk a little about your inspiration behind the record?

Well, it was made from songs that I had written over the last five or six years. I had to narrow it down from about twenty songs but the songs on there are my personal favourites and some there that my wife likes. When I started the album I approached my manager, Neil Mason and my friend, Austin Jenckes about possibly doing a project. Neil has always been a big supporter of mine and he was definitely interested in producing it and Austin co-produced it. So, we just went in the studio and we recorded it over the course of a couple of days. We just hired a bass player and a fiddle player. We didn't even practice or anything we just went in. You know, we sent them the album a week before and they came in with some parts ready, then it all came together pretty quick. It was a lot of fun and I have to give Neil a lot of credit for organising everything.

Where do you think your passion for music and song-writing first started?

I guess probably in high school around sixteen. I got a guitar when I was fifteen and I just started learning chords and I had my chord book, you know, the same way a lot of people start out. My dad listened to a lot of folk music and I thought "I bet I could pull that off". So, I started writing songs, well they were just poems that I tried to turn into lyrics. I also sang a lot in church when I was growing up. 

Yeah, I think, just getting that first guitar and just being around a musical family. I mean, most of my family plays the piano and I gave up the piano and stuck with the guitar. 

Well, I guess it is easier to carry around a guitar. 

Yeah definitely. I think when you're a kid and you're trying to impress the girls in school, the guitar does the trick.

Who are your biggest influences?

I think it's really the great songwriters like John Prine, Carole King, Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt. I would say those are the biggest influences on me. I just love the way they write music. It's just plain and straightforward and I love how they add detail to a scene. You know, whatever was happening, they managed to describe it so well and paint a picture. All while keeping it simple. I don't like songs that are too vague but they leave just enough mystery in there to the point where you can really feel that the song is about you. Even though you've probably haven't experienced what they're singing about, you can still feel connected to it. 

What is the one song that you wish was your own?

Oh man... There're just so many. I really like that Guy Clark song "Dublin Blues". He also has another tune that I adore called "LA Freeway". Whenever I'm out playing and I'll usually throw that in as a cover. Also, any of John Prine's stuff... just any of those songs.

So, what bands or artists are you listening to at the moment, that you think people should give a spin?

I'm big John Moreland fan and any one of his records is a good listen. In particular, one called In The Throes, which is a really good laid back singer-songwriter type album. Yeah, we'll just put that one, say if we're just hanging out and having some drinks.

Finally, just to end on, what is the hardest thing that you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

I think it's the nerves. From starting out even to now... sometimes. You know, that little bit of stage fight before the show. It's something that has always affected me. That feeling of not knowing what's going to happen on stage. Things start creeping into your mind like "is my guitar battery going to be dead?" and stuff like that. However, the way I got over it, or at least to the point where it doesn't affect my shows, was just by putting myself out there. The more you do it, the more comfortable you become with it. 

I definitely feel that the tour over in the UK and Europe helped a lot. Leading up to it I was just nervous and I lay awake at night because I've never been to these places. Just the whole aspect of getting out there and in front of different audiences. It all worked in the end though and I feel much better for having gone out there and done it.


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