Summer’s warm vibes are well on their way out, so everyone is taking advantage of what little warm weather is left. The new album from Hilton Head-based Zach Deputy shares that sentiment. Sunshine is full of feel-good tracks suited for a beachside bungalow.
Deputy earned local notoriety over the last two years for his one-man-band style by laying down live tracks and looping them over one another to become his own accompaniment.
Recorded at the Applehead Recording facility in Woodstock, N.Y. last March, Deputy collaborated on some of the songs with members of the Ryan Montbleu Band.
What starts off sounding like James Brown’s “Living in America” from Rocky IV ends as an exhibition of all that’s possible with a guitar and a loop pedal. Deputy’s blend of roots rock, reggae, and gospel sounds at once familiar and fresh. With the variety of these songs, there’s something for everyone on Sunshine.
The second track, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” has the emotion of Bob Marley’s most spiritually infused songs. And it’s easy to place. Deputy’s palm-muted guitars and Caribbean rhythms may come off as imitation. But keep listening. Emulating those who have influenced him, Deputy has created an album of originals that separate him from those who’d rather play it close to the chest, imitating their influences with covers.
Deputy’s versatility as a musician doesn’t hurt either. In “Real (Gimme Somethin’ That’s Real),” Deputy’s voice ranges from a boy-band falsetto to the raspy raps of Muddy Waters, and it sounds great throughout.
It’s clear that Deputy has a certain technical understanding of the guitar. Both live and in the studio, he employs a loop pedal. Layering riffs and chord patterns, Deputy is fine with the pressure of playing as a one-man band. That Sunshine was recorded in real time, using live loops is further proof that Deputy’s music is live-oriented and only adds to his credibility as a guitarist.
But for all its diversity, the genre-hopping album often seems fragmented. Where the jump from one track to the next can be so wide, it may tempt some to pull out their Stevie Wonder records or Motown favorites and give them a spin instead.
Extremely accessible, Sunshine might stay in your CD player for awhile. Pick up a copy and enjoy what’s left of the summer vibe. If you miss out, don’t worry. A few of these songs are so catchy, they may still be stuck in your head come the first signs of the spring sun. (zachdeputy.com)