Songs from life well traveled
Photo by William Mathews
From the Monterey County Weekly, January 7-13, 2016
"It was a pleasure hearing your set last night. I was sitting next to a friend of mine from New Orleans who spent time in Nashville as a songwriter and several times he noted to me the expertise you exhibited in performing your set. Your proclivity for language is apparent in your songwriting as is the heart you deliver in each song. I'm sure wherever your travels take you the audiences respond to this warmth and wisdom."
- Thomas Martin, Armando's Singer/Songwriter Series (April 6, 2015)
"This album has it all. Ballads that are so beautiful they raise the hair on your arms; toe tappers and clap alongs. . . One thing I love about John Roy Zat's songs is that we can all relate to them. Make them our own.
There is no possible way I can choose my typical "best 3" off of John Roy Zat's "Who Zat?" album . . . But I have to say, I can see the twinkle in John's eyes when he sings "I Got a Devil In Me." Loved this one! "Fake It Till You Make It" had me tapping my toes and grinning like a crazy person alone in my office. "A Promise and A Rose" took my breath away. "Gasoline & Guitar Strings" made me nod my head and think that is true. But John, oh John, "Waiting For Time" broke my heart. Simply spectacular!" Full review here.
- Shashona McCall, Indie Showcase (May 21, 2015)
" . . . attention to detail makes this album a must-listen, with Zat’s fiddle and guitar representing the bedrock . . . While tracks like "Gasoline & Guitar Strings", "Cluck Old Hen", and "Back to the Mountains" have a wizened and mature sound, there is never a sense on "Who Zat?" that the music is rote or lacking. Rather, there is a parallel thread here that showcases a sense of wonder and amusement that will draw listeners in just as the experiences that Zat discusses will be easily identified with by a wide swath of fans." Full review here.
- James McQuiston, Neufutur Magazine (May 7, 2015)
Amazon reviews of "Who Zat?" are here.
The following reviews are of my first two CDs, "Solo" and "Collaborations", released in 2011. both of which charted in the top ten on Roots Music Report and Airplay Direct.
" . . . John's experience and talent shines throughout "John Roy Zat - Solo 2011". The lyrics are stunning, taking us on a journey via his words and music. Each song sounds and reads like a book. I encourage you to listen to the words. You will be amazed, I know I was. John has a gift to be sure. I want to make note of John's work on instrumentation. This is a beautifully produced album, in that John's work comes through loud and clear. His finger picking on guitar is extraordinary. John also plays fiddle, so he is no light weight. This man has honed his craft to a fine edge and it shows in his work. This album showcases John's remarkable talent as a singer as well as a songwriter. His rich vocals bring life to each song. This is one man I would love to see perform live. He hits a heavy punch in a laid back, unassuming way. Absolutely brilliant work." Full review here.
- Shashona McCall, Indie Showcase (Feb 27, 2012)
“. . . A fiddler and guitar picker, John Roy Zat is someone who in no uncertain terms can really sing. He is a true folk singer. And he takes off on Collaborations with a bit of acoustic rock and roll. Honest and organic songs are on both 'Solo' and 'Collaborations' albums." Full review in Dutch here.
- John Gjaltema, Alt.Country.NL (Dec 30, 2011)
“. . . For his latest collection, he's collaborated with a group of like-minded musicians who allow the opportunity to take the music into new and interesting directions, without messing too much with Zat's intrinsic Americana sound. . . A prime example is the opening track "Johnny Fonteneau" which enjoyably refigures Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" into a tale about a young Cajun fiddler. It's good fun, mixes up the genres, and if you're not moving your feet by the time its three minutes is up, I recommend medical attention - if it's not too late . . ." Full review here.
- Rob F., Leichester Bangs (Jan 12, 2012)
“John Roy Zat comes from a long line of American singer-songwriters who occupy that space between traditional country and folk music. You know the people I'm talking about; Guy Clark, Steve Young and John Prine come to mind . . . There's enough silver in Zat's hair to suggest he's not the new anyone, but that hasn't stopped him writing a collection of songs that tap straight into that tradition. The fact that he's a talented fiddle player brings another dimension to "Solo" and it fleshes out his guitar and vocal to good effect . . . " Full review here. - Rob F., Leichester Bangs (Dec 12, 2011)