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Saul Zonana's 'Fix The Broken' Earns Early Raves; Guitar Virtuoso Evokes Lenny Kravitz, Elvis Costello, The Beatles
“A Bit of a Beatles Vibe” “The Feel of an Old Time Rocker”
Early Reviews Praise the “Amazing Guitar Work” on Saul Zonana’s Confident Mix of Old-Fashioned Rock and Progressive Pop Sounds
Songwriter/Producer/Guitar Wizard Delivers a Gear Head’s Dream Album – ‘Fix The Broken’ Out 10/2
Early raves have coincided with the release of songwriter/guitarist/producer Saul Zonana dramatic ‘Fix the Broken,’ his tenth studio album. Veteran journalist Jack Goodstein, in his lengthy Blogcritics write-up, said certain tracks had “a bit of a Beatles vibe,” while others “had the feel of an old time rocker.” Other critics have praised Zonana’s “amazing guitar work,” stating that he evokes Lenny Kravitz and other superstar artists.
The confident mix of old-fashioned rock and progressive pop sounds manages to be both a throwback and thoroughly modern, as Zonana’s virtuoso guitar work and inventive instrumentation propel the ten-song collection forward. The album was released digitally on July 31st, with brick and mortar distribution set for October 2nd. Listen to a streaming audio sampler, here: http://soundcloud.com/saul-zonana/sets/
BLOGCRITICS CD Review – by Jack Goodstein, 9/11/12
Take a look at the bio of indie rock multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and producer Saul Zonana, and you may understand why he chose to do it all, or at least 95% of it all, on his tenth album, Fix the Broken. Released digitally at the end of July, the CD is due out next month.
Other than drums on all but one of the tracks and some slide guitar on one and piano on another, Zonana is the only one heard playing or singing on the 10 tracks of the album. The sounds that you hear are all his. To some, this might seem the height of chutzpah, but that would depend on whether the guy has the chops to pull it off.
Music, it seems was all he cared about from the time he was an infant; it was a passion worth devoting your life to. That was then, and that "was BEFORE $99 bought you a guitar and an amp and everyone thought they were an artist. This was BEFORE we celebrated mediocrity and watched shows like American idol. This was when you wrote and performed music because it was in your blood." If you want to put your passion on a disc, if you want it done right, no question the one way to be sure is to do it yourself. To some, this might seem like the height of chutzpah squared, but that would depend upon the guy's ability to put his money where his mouth is.
Zonana, who has played with Ace Frehly, Adrian Belew and the Crash Test Dummies has, if nothing else, the credentials to pull it off. He uses nine different guitars on the album, so for sure you have quantity. Besides, there is no question he can play. He manages some fine vocal harmonies. And his songs, at their best are not your typical pop rock schlock. This is not the kind of music you are likely to hear on American Idol.
"The Music," a song which could be the Zonana anthem, begins with some sweet work on the guitar and morphs into an attack on the mediocrity of much of today's music produced by an industry that makes it sound like anybody can sing. He even recycles that bit about celebrating mediocrity. This is followed by another killer guitar solo. If you agree with Zonana's disgust with the pop music industry, "The Music" has got to be the highlight of the album.
But, it's not the only one: "Notice," which begins with a very familiar melody I can't quite pin down, asks how do you get someone to notice you—a loved one perhaps, the public for sure. "Fly" is an elegiac ballad about the ultimate escape. Jennie, who is flying from Mississippi in the end flies too far. "Big Fish" looks at the pretensions of little pond giants, and although it would be easy to see this as sour grapes, there is a passion about the music that keeps it from being sanctimonious and self-serving. "A Kiss When I'm Gone" is a father's advice to his son, which in some respects reminds me of Polonius's advice to Laertes.
"Abandoned Sky," with a bit of a Beatles vibe, is an atmospheric track that builds to a smashing guitar solo. Zonana has been compared with Elvis Costello, and I think you can hear some of that on "The Old Ego." "Beyond the Human Race" has the feel of an old time rocker.
While you may not agree with Zonana's critique of the current music scene, it is hard not to respect his opinions. This is a talented musician with a passion for what he does, and this new album is a clear expression of both his passion and his talent. Zonana says that every song included on Fix the Broken is one "that I poured my heart in." You can hear it in the music.
THE RECORD-JOURNAL in CT –
By Jim Pasinski, 8/27/12
Guitar virtuoso Saul Zonana will be releasing his tenth studio album, “Fix The Broken” on October 2. Saul performed 95% of the music, using nine different guitars on the ten songs. Saul Zonana has worked with Ace Frehley, Adrian Belew and Crash Test Dummies just to name a few, but he is now focusing once again on his solo career. The album contains some amazing guitar work, as in the opening song “Notice,” as Zonana even uses his guitars to create the keyboard and synth sounds on his new release. His voice draws similarities to Lenny Kravitz at times, but he also maintains his own personality in his vocals. The highlight of the album is easily the eight-plus minute epic “Big Fish” as Zonana stretches out his talents for making the guitar a part of himself.
Saul Zonana has some dates scattered over the next few months, be sure to check out his website (saulsonana. com) for up to date information.
MELODIC.NET – Q&A interview (excerpts)
By Rickard Holmgren 8/27/12
On Saul Zonana's latest album, he uses more than 9 guitars and produces more than 95 % of the sounds himself. Check out what he had to say about it all.
Hi and welcome to Melodic.net. How are you?
Well I'm fine thank you. How are you?
On your new album "Fix the Broken", you use more than 9 guitars. What was the idea behind that?
They all make different sounds. Whatever I feel the song calls for, I have a variety of instruments to accomplish those tones. Its the same idea as having lots of tools for construction or a full set of golf clubs.
You also produce more than 95% of the sounds on the album yourself. How did you do that?
I played all of the instruments. I brought in three different drummers who played on various songs and had a guest musician on on song here and there but mainly I performed all of the guitar , bass, synth and vocal parts.
What is the best and worst thing with doing almost everything (writing, singing and producing) alone?
Well I've done ten solo albums and I've recorded them all in so many different ways. From mostly live, to mostly overdubbed, with other producers etc...and so on. Doing mostly everything myself was just the way I chose to handle this album. The next one may have a totally different approach to the recording process. In other words there's advantages and disadvantages in any method that you choose to record. I totally enjoyed everything about making this album.
Who have been the biggest influences on your musical career?
Those influences come in many different ways. Sometimes I can be influenced by something as basic as a piece of gear or the atmosphere in the studio.
Guitar players that have influenced me the most I'd say have been Trevor Rabin, Adrian Belew, Elliot Easton,Teddy Kumpel and George Marinelli to name a few.
I'm also influenced by several recording engineers, song writers, bands and so on.
After 10 albums, what is the biggest challenge you face when deciding to make a new record?
Improving on what I've done in the past. Not just making a new album for the sake of making one. Having some new ideas and inspiration to insure that it will be a satisfying experience. And most importantly, feeling the pull to record the current material that I've written and getting it all to the level it needs to be at.
What is the biggest challenge, in your opinion, that you have to face as an artist today?
There are so many challenges for a true artist to achieve success in this modern version of the music industry. For me personally the current challenge has become balancing the time between traveling around to play gigs, and being a good dad for my incredible son.
Is there a particular song out there that you wish you had written?
Not really. I've published over 100 songs at this point so I'm fairly content with my own catalog. However there are songs out there that I wish I owned the publishing on $$ :)
Who would be your dream guest artist on an album?
Paul McCartney. You did say "dream" right?
What does the nearest future hold for you?
Playing as many shows as possible in support of the newest album, Fix The Broken.
Thanks for answering the questions, any final words for our readers?
Support good music. Spend a dollar or two to download songs that you might like. Even better, go out and support live music.and if you enjoy the artist, buy the cd. That's what keeps it all going.
Zonana, a guitarist and bassist from New York who is now based in Nashville, plays 95% of the sounds on the new album, and even uses his guitar to create most of the keyboard and synth sections heard on ‘Fix The Broken’. He has been described as a guitar ‘wizard’, and the attached round-up provides an instrument-by-instrument breakdown of the nine+ guitars Zonana plays on the upcoming release, from a Jerry Jones Electric sitar to a Moog to a Taylor 8 string baritone acoustic and many more…
Zonana is a respected musician with a decades-long career – past collaborations include No Heroes and Luv Junkies, a stint in KISS guitarist Ace Frehley’s touring band, guitar work with Adrian Belew, Crash Test Dummies and much more. But now the spotlight’s firmly on Zonana with ‘Fix the Broken,’ and highlights abound – from the memorable opening track ‘Notice,’ to the scorching ‘The Music,’ to the stunning ‘A Kiss When I’m Gone,’ to the cinematic ‘Fly,’ Zonana is full of surprises and sees the album as a defining moment in his storied career.
An expansive cover story in Zonana’s hometown Alt weekly PULSE TN provides an in-depth visit with the artist: http://boropulse.com/2012/05/murfreesboros-own-saul-zonana-is-still-rocking-after-all-these-years/
The Saul Zonana Trio will tour this Fall in support of ‘Fix The Broken’ – initial stops include Asheville and multiple Tennessee shows. Visit www.saulzonana.com