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The SCENE Magazine

Live Music Spotlight: Zach Tate Band

Feb 06, 2019 08:05PM
From the countryside in Ontario, Canada to the Gulf Coast shores of Seabrook, Texas, the musical journey of Zach Tate has seen him play everywhere from barns to biker bars—which is not unlike the musical path—with influences of country, blues, Southern rock, and more— one follows when listening Zach Tate Band albums.

“I was raised in Windsor, Ontario, which borders Detroit. When I started playing guitar as a teenager, I was out in the country, so it was more of a barn band than a garage band,” Tate laughed. Life would eventually see Tate further pursue music in Los Angeles, where he recorded three albums with a previous band, and then later as the Zach Tate Band in Houston, where he currently resides. The Texas connection –and success to follow— ironically seemed to write itself into existence.

“It’s interesting because there’s a famous road in my hometown of urban legend called Texas Road, which is the name of a song I wrote in Los Angeles. It seems within about three months, I came to Houston. Though internet radio was a newer thing at the time [in 2006], it then went number one on the Texas Top 40,” he recalled. 

Fast-forward to 2019, and the Zach Tate Band’s 6th CD, Angels & Outlaws was just released on February 1 of this year, and the eclectic nature of the album cannot be understated. Though it exudes smoky blues, Southern rock, and country influences, the musical journey is not a linear one.
“The song that opens the album, ‘Outlaw,’ is rock, and it’s heavy. It’s based on the Twin Peaks shooting a few years back in Waco,” Tate explained. “But then some tracks later, there are some more Jack Johnson-feeling moments, about love, and about loss. It’s about experiences that resonate with us in many different ways. Maybe I just think there’s a certain safety in continuity, but how people interpret it isn’t up to me.” 

This variation in sound can also be heard at the many places the Zach Tate Band plays in the Houston area. The current lineup apart from Tate (vocals/guitar/harmonica) includes Lynn Raggio (lead guitar/backing vocals); Jody Smith (drums); Drew Schuessler (bass); and Gary Graham (keys/backing vocals), all of whom are from Texas or Louisiana, though the outfit depends on the venue.

“Of course you’ll hear more of a harder rock ‘n roll at the biker bars we play, which we love, or the Lone Star Biker Rally…but it may be more of an acoustic set in other spaces,” he said, such as in a recent gig Tate and Raggio played in a more intimate setting at the House of Blues Houston. “Either way, my main function is to keep people entertained.  I am so thankful to all of the venues and people who continue to support original music and musicians.”

The Zach Tate Band will perform next in the Bay Area on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at Crazy Alan’s Swamp Shack - Kemah (acoustic set w/Lynn Raggio), with several other dates to follow throughout the area (see sidebar). For further updates on the Zach Tate Band, “like” their Facebook page or visit www.zachtate.com. So get ready for some smoky, Southern rock ‘n roll at a venue near you—and when you go, make sure to tell them The SCENE sent you!

By Sarah Piña