Lewis - Zane Lewis
Review By: George
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
"When I'm onstage, I'm
an in-your-face guy and I'm all about getting the crowd jacked up
and enjoying themselves," Zane says with an easy laugh.
"Even my slow songs are like that; they still have power and
drive. You work on an album in the studio over the course of
several months and then you're out there playing those songs live.
If the audience doesn't feel the music, you might as well
just hang it up.” (Zane Lewis on his Myspace page.)
Turbo-tonkin’ Texan Zane Lewis
is out and active with his second album, a self-titled sizzler.
Lewis simply, and energetically, delivers with a power brand of
hip country, all without hype or hoopla. He energizes his brand of
country on an album that rocks on start-up, slows for needed
breathers, only to end on an emotional high.
On this eponymous offering, the
12 tracks show a definite delight for things honky-tonk. Think
Hank Junior pairing with Van Zant with a smidge of Shooter and
you’re getting warm. For this advertising degree, hat-wearing
rocker the album is a realization for overdue ambitions. Growing
up in Round Rock, the chance to live the music-making dream is a
natural for Lewis --his dad had a swing band, and young Lewis
spent some of his six academic years bathroom crooning to Strait,
Garth and others. “It drove my roommates crazy,” says the
singer who has opened shows for Yoakam, Cagle, Steve Holy and
More possible honesty comes
captured in an art imitates life lyric on the Ashley Gorley, Bryan
Simpson and Matt Jenkins co-write, “Off The Record”. “I
learned my first guitar lick, playin’ along to Ramblin’
Fever; I played it with pride, just like it was mine, and
hoped no-one listened to Haggard, cos I stole it right off the
But a major delight of this
album is Lewis hoes his own road. He doesn’t copy or clone. He
may sing about lifting licks; but here, on an album that is
pleasing and fresh, there is no need for anything other than
With a hot band and
power-charged tunes and two astute producers in tow – Lex
Lipsitz and Brett James – this “ CMT Who New To Watch In
2008” nominee is poised, smoldering and ready for radio to make
a determined promise to give fans something more than the current
treadmill of hats, hunks, and blondes.
With a voice that blisters and a
rumored stage show to match, Lewis claims instant attention with a
growled “Yeah!” on the hard-pounded and guitar-fuelled
“Welcome To The Southland”. The track is a defiant and
definite payback to annoying neighbours; play this loud, and watch
the U-haul arrive. They’ll be gone quicker than last week’s
pay. However, that’s what’s on offer here – it’s a hard
rocking countrified album. It might irritate the purists but it will
snag the party crowd.
While tracks like “She’s Got
It Goin’ On”, the catch and hook-driven “This Be A Memory”
and the made-for-Saturday-night “Becky Brown’s Daddy” all
showcase Lewis’ hard and edgy attitude; slower moments, found on
cuts like “Come With Me” and the end cut, “Even A Leaf”,
round out a guy who’s waiting time has come.
Zane Lewis is an exciting find.
Against the current radio backdrop of schmaltz and lack-lustre
trendsetting and familiarity, he brings something new to the
turntable. The guy fires. He has passion, and he drives it all
along with a spirited voice, good song choices and an attitude
that breathes overdue hope into modern country.
Check him out. The album, out
March 25, is available from Slant Records.