Texas guitar slingers blast through Americana

The Zack Walther Band

The Texas-based Zack Walther Band recently released The Westerner, an Americana roots album filled with hooks and redemption.

It’s a record the boys have been working on for over a year and a half. “This is the record I’ve been working towards my entire musical life,” Zack said. “The Westerner is different and it’s something that personifies my taking a risk and stepping out of my comfort zone to create a record that will, I hope, stand the test of time.

“I want someone to listen to The Westerner 30 years from now and think it’s a great record, and that is what every artist wants.”

Zack went to college to major in music, learned to play songs by ear on his brother’s piano, found his father’s old nylon-string guitar in the attic, at 13 his parents bought him an electric guitar and Crate amp and a couple years later he opened his favorite Christmas present ever — a quality accoustic guitar.

“I played all through Christmas day,” he said. “Playing songs, learning songs, country songs, rock songs, just basic chords.”

The line was cast — playing and singing were going to be his life.

The Zack Walther Band, is a three-piece ensemble with guitar, bass and drums -- with his best friend and collaborator Matthew Briggs on drums. Mike Atkins, who plays piano, organ, and keys in addition to singing, added to the feel of The Westerner.

Well-known Austin-area guitarist David Grissom (Joe Ely, John Mellencamp) also played on four tracks. You can hear the band’s influences throughout the disc, Elvis Presley to the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen.

“Everyone’s musical roots go back to R&B and the blues – even those artists from the so-called British Invasion in the 1960s – we all can trace our music back to the Mississippi Delta,” Zack said. “I wanted this path to be different – I needed to go in a different direction and this record goes so beyond where I’ve been.”

Key songs to watch for include “DFW,” “What Kind of Man,” “When the Show Comes to Town” and a killer redo of Sam and Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming.”

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