Sat 3/23 @ 7PM
Sun 3/24 @ 6PM
Thu 3/28 @ 7PM
Fri 3/29 @ 7PM
It’s hard to believe that singer/songwriter/guitarist and avatar of positivity, peace & mindfulness, Zach Friedhof aka Zach, has been a mainstay of the Akron music scene for 20 years. And that he has a catalog that’s 19 albums deep, starting with 1999’s Delusions. It’s about to get deeper with the release of a double album called Shaila. It’s officially available March 22.
Not only is the album a double set, but Zach is also celebrating with FOUR release shows at the Center near downtown Akron, each themed to a different season. He’ll start with spring on Sat 3/23, continue with summer on Sun 3/24, then move on the fall on Thu 3/28 and finish up with winter on Fri 3/29.
Each show will feature special guest performers and be a full multimedia experience, with visuals to enhance the music, including lighting and Zach’s own photography, drawn from his love of nature, especially Wyoming. In fact, the album’s title, the Sanskrit word for “mountain,” refers to Wyoming’s Tetons where he wrote the songs and of which he says, “My soul was hewn from those rocks and stones.”
“This new double album is an exploration into the vast landscapes that inspire me on my yearly pilgrimages to Wyoming,” he writes in the album’s press release. “The mountains are a symbol of strength and love. Being immersed in nature gives me a sense of clarity and beauty.”
He continues, “With the world aflame in division, anxiety and depression, addiction and suffering rising, Shaila is born and brought to you. My experience in the Wyoming mountains, an intrinsic haven of wildness, has been reaching in to my soul, inspiring and churning my heart for over a decade. Sitting in a vast meadow this summer, the Tetons themselves, in the shadow of an afternoon blue sky day, struck something so deep that I knew I had to write about this place, this energy, and try to put word and feeling to what these mountains mean to me — to what wildness in general means to humanity.”
After the soaring mountain range provided the inspiration, Zach came home to Akron to record at Studio 1008 in the Kenmore neighborhood with Jason Chamberlain engineering and fellow singer-songwriter Gretchen Pleuss, whom he describes as “a student of the sacred wilderness,” producing.
“Gretchen is a very intuitive artist, and has produced some of the best music in my opinion that has come out of Northeast Ohio,” says Zach.
In typical Zach fashion, he writes that while some might dismiss the work as “hippy dippy shit,” “A lot of the challenges that plague our communities have some root in a loss of connection to the natural world. When that connection is severed, we lose our sense of belonging and interconnectedness.”
He says he hopes that Shaila and his upcoming shows will be “a catalyst for uplift, mental health, and community.”
He writes, “The music itself is holding me to a higher standard, asking more of me than anything else I’ve ever released. This music is powerful and seeks to be a tool for healing moreso than even other music I’ve created. That’s really why I ask you listen. Maybe it can be helpful to our aching human soul. To your experience, growth, healing, and aching human soul.”
Tickets for each show are $15 and, for an intimate experience, each show has limited tickets so go to his website and grab ’em.
You can also download or stream the first single, a different version from the one on the album, here: spotify.com/album/