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The classic Nashville story - I mean the real one not the fantasy - is this: talented musician moves to Nashville to pursue his or her dream - only to be chewed up by the big machine, disillusioned, and sent packing. That is the "old Nashville" and maybe it is all too often the "new Nashville", but there are new stories being written and word is getting out.
Many of these new stories are being played out on the east side of the Cumberland River. The East Nashville mystique is far from a new thing, and to hear some tell it, it may be in its dying days. But the new stories are still being written and new songs are being sung, and people are listening.
Zachariah Red is one of those new Nashville stories. Zach came to East Nashville a little of a year ago with not a little talent and some pretty solid music credentials from his hometown of Racine, Wisconsin.
East Nashville is not a place that is short on talent. Take a walk to the corner bar, and you more than likely will see someone who played on a record you love. Go to a coffee shop - pretty much any coffee shop - and chances are pretty good that 90% of the people in the place are musicians and that includes the baristas.
The old Nashville story was about competition, but it seems like this new Nashville story is more about cooperation and collaboration, and in the midst of those two things it is more importantly about creative people pushing each other to be better.
Zachariah Red is a carpenter by trade - from a long line of carpenters. Building things is in his blood. Music is in his heart. So how does a carpenter from Racine, Wisconsin go about building a dream in music in East Nashville, TN?
Now, this writer does not know much about building things, but what I do know is that to build something of quality you begin with quality parts and you build brick by brick, board by board. I also know that it takes well crafted skills and it usually takes more than one person.
Zachariah Red is releasing a brand new single today called, "40 Miles". Having followed Zach for a bit over a year, when I first heard this song, the word that came to my mind is growth. I have been impressed by Zach's songs and voice since I first heard him, but listening to "40 Miles" it became clear that he has been hard at work and he has been building something remarkable adding parts and working with skilled people.
Ah yeah, that East Nashville story... over the last year or so, I have met some incredibly talented people who have been doing some amazing things. But, I have seen something else, I have seen these talented people get even better at what they do. I've seen it happen for everyone from veteran musicians with long, distinguished careers to young people just beginning their musical journeys. And, I have seen it happen for Zachariah Red. "40 Miles" is pure Mid West, Blue Collar American Music. It drips with the blood sweat and tears of its characters and of its creator. This is not manufactured Country/Rock music - it is as real as it gets and it has been built brick by brick, and to that point, it is a brick in and of itself, and I for one cannot wait to see what Zachariah Red will build next.