Sunday, 8 June, 2008 8:31 PM
CMA New Artist Spotlight: Zane
by Steve Thornton
recording artist Zane Lewis
2008 CMA Close Up News Service
Texas roots feed the
wide-open textures, swaggering beat and rugged baritone vocals of
Zane Lewis' self-titled, nationally-released debut album. Though
it sounds like he was born with a rowdy song in his heart, he didn't
strum his first chord until he got to Texas Tech in Lubbock, while
earning an advertising degree on a diet of "Blue Spoon"
margaritas and Dr Peppers and singing the best of Garth Brooks,
Merle Haggard and George Strait whenever he hit the shower.
Lewis narrowly dodged
a career in journalism, going so far as to join with a partner in
launching Western & English Today, a magazine for equestrians.
Luckily for lovers of raw-boned rockin' Country, after having his
first taste of performing in 2000, at the Garland Opry in Texas,
he shut down his laptop, tuned up his guitar, sold the publication
and invested his earnings into This Town, which he self-released
throughout Texas in 2006. With LeAnn Rimes' road band providing
the backup, this album whipped up a Lone Star storm that blew Lewis
directly to his deal with Slant Records.
Co-produced by Brett
James and Lex Lipsitz, Zane Lewis includes two tunes co-written
by Lewis, a hymn to the traveling life ("Fly") and a low-down,
fiddle-sawed foot stomper whose title could function as his calling
card ("Bad Ass Country Band"). His personality rings loud
and clear on every song, which he delivers with a sound that mirrors
myriad influences, from Brooks to Lynyrd Skynyrd and all the way
back to his father's fiddle playing and beyond, through five generations
of Lewis family history in Texas. Lewis achieves an especially appealing
blend of bravado and sensitivity on the album's first single, "Come
with Me," whose simple invitation to "hang out" promises
a world of adventure and romantic possibility.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
OR FIRST START IN MUSIC
"My first live performance
was at the acclaimed Garland Opry in Garland, Texas, in the summer
of 2000. The Texas Opry circuit is a terrific training ground for
new singers. I learned how to feel comfortable with audiences at
the Garland Opry, which is where LeAnn Rimes got her start. I was
one of their regular guests, and I hosted on several occasions.
It wasn't until 2003 that I rounded up my first band and hit the
Texas bars and dancehalls to promote my first self-produced album,
"Hands down, Waylon
"I grew up listening
to my dad play western swing on his fiddle. But it was his 8-tracks
of Waylon and the Eagles that hooked me. Merle Haggard, George Strait,
Garth Brooks, Elvis, Charlie Daniels, U2, Van Halen and Lynyrd Skynyrd
all influenced me in many ways."
DREAM DUET PARTNER
"I was born in Lubbock,
Texas, raised in Round Rock and now live in Allen."
CD ON YOUR STEREO
"Jack Ingram's 'Electric.'
A 2002 release, but it still sits in my regular rotation with the
new ones. I've been wearing out George Strait's 'It Just Comes Natural,'
"People who can't
drive, which is pretty much anyone who's in front of me!"
MODE OF TRANSPORTATION
"Driving when it
comes to travel. You see more of the country and it's a great opportunity
to free your mind up to think."
SONG YOU WISH YOU'D
song has incredibly powerful words. I get goose bumps every time
I hear the emotion in Ronnie Dunn's vocals."
MOMENT IN YOUR LIFE
YOU'D RELIVE IF YOU COULD
"The whole enchilada.
I've loved every minute of it."
TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
"Determined - and
Too Ignorant to Know Any Better."
WHAT YOU HOPE PEOPLE
SAY, LOOKING BACK ON YOUR LIFE IN 50 YEARS
ACTOR TO PORTRAY
YOU IN YOUR BIOPIC
"If it's an ill-fated
attempt to project my life as 'cool' it would be Brad Pitt. Otherwise,
Will Ferrell's probably the best man for the job. I smell an Oscar!"
On the Web: www.zanelewismusic.com
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