Soul Blues Chillin’ with Zac Harmon

For those of you who haven’t heard of Zac Harmon, he is an award winning bluesman who comfortably resides in the Robert Cray wing of the contemporary blues. In 2006, he won the Blues Music Foundation award for Best New Artist for his album The Blues According To Zacariah. In the years since six more albums have followed including the new recording Long As I Got My Guitar.

Zac has a voice and a guitar style that can best be described as ‘chillin with the soul blues’. His songs on the new album are in parts upbeat, funky, pensive, spiritual, and socially aware. He even ventures “down the bayou” a bit with the delightful accordion accompanied Crying Shame. Zac was born in Jackson Mississippi to parents who schooled him in music. His mother played piano and his father, the first black pharmacist in Mississippi, played harmonica. His dad tended to the needs of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Albert King, Ike & Tina Turner, and Little Milton at times and all those combined influences have made Zac Harmon one of the great blues & soul men of the roadhouse blues.

Now based in Texas, Zac worked with the renown music producer, Jim Gaines, who most notably produced Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, and Journey, to create the soulful music magic on this recording. Backing Zac on most of the tracks are the Rays consisting of Bob Trenchard (bass), Richy Puga (drums), Johnny McGhee (guitars), Dan Ferguson (keyboards and accordion) and backing vocals by SueAnn Carwell and Corey Lacey.

My favorite recording on the album is the title cut, Long As I Got My Guitar. Over the years, I have heard guitar players time and again talk about having survived their days payin’ their blues dues and facing the brutal choice of pawning their guitar for money to pay bills. Zac captures that melancholy experience with some exquisite guitar licks and real world lyrics. I also loved the guitar work on the socially conscious Waiting to Be Free. Another favorite of mine on the recording is People Been Talking which is soul blues at its very finest.

Over the last 18 months all of us have dealt with enforced periods of isolation as a result of the pandemic. It has given most of us a new appreciation of family and friends and, in Zac’s case, he says it gave him the realization that “as long as I have my guitar, all is good with my soul”. All I can add to that is that just listening to Zac sing and play on this new recording had a nice calming effect on my soul best exemplified by his song, Soul Land. Give it and the rest of the songs on this album a listen as you chill to some mighty fine soul blues.

Zac Harmon – Long As I Have My Guitar (2021 Catfood Records)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB

Steve Marriner – The Quintessential Roadhouse Bluesman releases HOPE DIES LAST

Steve Marriner is a man after my own heart as he drifts effortlessly from roots music to contemporary blues to blues rock on his new release, HOPE DIES LAST. He is the quintessential roadhouse bluesman from Canada who is balancing a solo career while also being part of the Manx Marriner Manline and a favorite band of mine, MonkeyJunk. Over the years he has performed extensively with Colin James, one of the superstars of the Canadian roadhouse blues, as well as Samantha Martin, Paul Reddick, Delta Sugar, and Lee Holmes.

For the new recording, Steve teamed with Jimmy Bowskill, a renown blues rocker, to produce the album. The result is some roadhouse magic! The first single/video released back in June was How High, a crankin’ blues rocker. A couple of days before the official release of the album on July 2, another video for Long Way Down came out. It is a haunting sad roots tune about addiction that is simply beautiful. The “radio ready” tune Take Me to the City is my personal favorite with a catchy beat, some great guitar licks, and some nasty harpin’. Honey Bee is some badass raw roadhouse blues and Coal MIne highlights Steve’s incredible voice. You Hear My Heart is another song on the album that ya just have to give a listen……the music….the voice….the guitars…and the harmonica…WOW! Another interesting tune on the recording is Petite Danse. It is a perfect “down the bayou” tune from my home state of Louisiana that Steve sings in French. From Montreal to New Orleans, it will have people dancing in the aisles!

Steve is a hard working talent balancing his time between a number of bands. I just hope he can make the time to tour on his own in the coming years and gets a chance to showcase his talents as a songwriter, singer, and musician. He is well on his way to becoming a roadhouse blues superstar and another of the musical treasures of the great nation of Canada.

Steve Marriner – Hope Dies Last (2021 Stony Plain Records)


Ben Vee started out spinning songs on terrestrial radio and at nightclubs back in the 1970’s in his home state of Louisiana. After a career in the construction business, he returned to DJing in 2011. He now hosts two shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and writes about the blues at http://www.benveeblues.com from his home in Connecticut. He also has a 24 hour stream devoted to the Roadhouse Blues… WRHB