Gulf Coast (label)
12 June 2020 (released)
12 June 2020
Mike Zito has been involved in so many major projects over the years that I sometimes forget that he writes, records & releases his own material too and it is almost always a joy to listen to.
This is, in itself, the result of a project. Zito’s band had played only a few dates of a long European tour when the Coronavirus pandemic was declared and they flew back to the US with most of the shows cancelled and no money to show for it. What is worse was that they were flying back to 14 days isolation.
Zito came up with the idea that the band should write and record an album from their individual loci of quarantine and do this within a 14 day window between March 14 & 30th. The four members of his band all mucked in and the results are ‘Quarantine Blues’.
Zito himself says of the project “While flying home from Europe after all of our tours being cancelled, I decided the band and myself would record a free album for our fans. Individually we have been quarantined for 14 days and this idea of writing, producing and releasing an album in the 14 day period seemed like quite an effort and a distraction for us. In return fans from around the world contributed to our Gofundme and it has been an amazingly rewarding experience.
I hope our fans enjoy the album and the music we have written. I followed no rules, I wrote what I was feeling regardless of style or genre and used my feelings of fear, hope, love and rebelliousness to fuel my creativity.
I have collaborations with LA Guns and Guns n Roses founding member, Tracii Guns on the song ‘Don’t Touch Me’ and several songwriting efforts with my label partner Guy Hale. I left the ‘rules’ on the floor and followed my heart.
I think these are some of the best songs I have written in years.”
I looked at the project expecting some gaps between the parts to be exposed – there have been some dreadful distant recordings over the years – but frankly, you literally cannot see the joins. I would say that this is as good as anything he has put.
His core style is a Tom Petty-esque sloppy Blues but when he rips it up he really has an extra gear to raise the temperature with. Zito is a superb guitarist and he shows all the different styles across the album without ever coming over as an axe-slinger.
If you dig Mike Zito, and if you are into Blues then you should, then this represents him at his best. The music is top quality, the commitment is all there and even if you didn’t know the back story it stands as a superb Blues album.