Nightlife | Singles
The news is out: Zack Walther is bringing new and captivating musical twists to the thriving Texas music scene. It’s the next evolution of the sounds from the Lone Star State created by a new generation that’s taking the stage with some serious moxie, grounded in the best roots yet also right up to date for these times.
Walther and the band have developed and now launch this artistic progression from Gruene Hall, the hallowed musical ground zero in Central Texas where such notables and innovators as George Strait, Townes Van Zandt, Lyle Lovett, Hal Ketchum, Robert Earl Keen and others have all played their way to fame. As the latest act to win a prestigious residency there, they’ve rocked the dancehall for more than a year of weekly Wednesday night shows, gathering fans and making musical waves that have already rippled across the Southwest and beyond. And now with Ambition, their debut Sustain Records album, Zack Walther and the Cronkites are ready to bring the sound that’s winning over Texas to the world.
It takes but a listen to hear that Ambition is indeed an apt statement of purpose for this band. The album is rich with the sound of a new musical generation coming into its own, and creating a style that defies easy description or categorization other than to say that it’s damned good and appealing as all get out. From a solid base of country and roots — these guys are dyed-in-the-wool Texans, after all — Walther and his group pull and thread in the best of everything: rock’n'roll from classic to the latest alternative, the tastiest pop, the finest singer-songwriters, you name it, as long as it’s quality music, it’s an inspiration. Then they indelibly stamp it with the trademark Zack Walther and the Cronkites sound.
Produced by fellow musician and songwriter Mark Addison, known for his production wizardry with Ian Moore, Guy Forsyth, Band of Heathens, Bob Schneider, Will Sexton and many others, Ambition lives up to its name by delivering a new Texas music for the world at large.
The 10-song-strong set opens with “Georgia Cane,” the musically widescreen cinematic tale of a wild woman with irresistible appeal, and closes with a blast on the explosive rock workout “Pull The Pin,” and delivers the goods with a vengeance in between. There’s everything from the ear-catching pop-rocker “So Hard” (written by Addison, Austin progressive blues hero Guy Forsyth and Nina Singh) to the tender prayer for redemption of “Just Say When” (with harmony vocals by Jess Klein) and the stirring and soulful reflection on life’s rewards of “Money Tree,” both co-written by Walther with band member Luke Leverett, whose work on a range of guitars and keyboards brings a kaleidoscope of colors to the recording. The potency of love and passion are palpable on “Down Easy” and “Without One Sound,” while “Mountain Laurel Bloom” takes listeners for a spiritually-blessed and folk-inflected tour of the Texas Hill Country and “Tumbleweed” captures the mixed emotional bag of the life of a band on the road. Whether it’s the big picture reflections on the world we live in on “Our Corner” or those small tender moments and majestically fiery musical moves, Ambition is a record that has it all for anyone who loves great music of spirit and genuine sincerity. And Walther sings it all with a classic vocal strength and finesse full of feelings that hit anyone with a heartbeat and ear for timeless music right where they live and love music.
By Rob Patterson
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