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Zack Orr - JPop.com
Artist info
Zack Orr

Zack Orr

Zack Orr


The windchill outside of the rickety old boathouse was sub-zero and the wind was whipping up giant snow dunes on a frozen Lake Erie. Inside, Zack Orr sat at an ancient upright piano recording an ambient melody for the winter section of what was to become his newest album, Francisco the Man. "Twelve songs in twelve keys for the twelve months in a year" he says, before sipping some whiskey to try to warm up. "Each season has its own sound and as the seasons change, the instruments do as well. Read more on Last.fm
The windchill outside of the rickety old boathouse was sub-zero and the wind was whipping up giant snow dunes on a frozen Lake Erie. Inside, Zack Orr sat at an ancient upright piano recording an ambient melody for the winter section of what was to become his newest album, Francisco the Man. "Twelve songs in twelve keys for the twelve months in a year" he says, before sipping some whiskey to try to warm up. "Each season has its own sound and as the seasons change, the instruments do as well." As one talks to Orr about his music, it is easy to see how influenced he is by the environment and his surroundings.

"I've recorded natural sound from every season. Leaves, ice, water, birds, fireworks, wind in a fireplace...it's all in there, but sometimes it's pretty mangled. You might not even know what you are hearing." Cut to a rainy fall day in Portland, Oregon. Since his hermitic "cottage days" in Pennsylvania three years ago, Orr has since recorded pieces of his new album in a Lake Erie boathouse, at recording studios in Boston and at his new home in Portland.

Now putting the finishing touches on the project, Orr is collaborating with musicians from across the US in preparation for a spring 2007 release and tour. Born in Atlanta, GA, the list of places Zack Orr has called home has spanned the globe from Austin to Boston, Los Angeles, London and now Portland. In each city, he has performed to a consistently growing audience. His 2001 release, The Unstoppable Lift, was called "stunning and inventive" by legendary rock journalist Ben Fong-Torres of Rolling Stone fame, adding "He just may be unstoppable." On stage, Orr swiftly moves between guitars, keyboards and a laptop that adds electronic beats and ambience to his dreamy, impressionistic songs.

Meanwhile, his skilled band of musicians take liberty with improvised flourishes within the songs. "I like to leave enough space in the tunes for other musicians to have some freedom..." says Orr, "There is improvisation, but it's more organic than say...a jam band." An accomplished guitarist himself, Zack has developed a new finger picking technique he calls "Trava Nova." As heard on Francisco the Man , "Trava Nova is a combination of Travis picking, a folk-country picking style and Brazil's Bossa Nova and Samba patterns." Also pushing boundaries as a lyricist/vocalist, Orr accomplishes a feat previously monopolized by songwriters like David Byrne or Paul Simon. His crystal bell-like crooning somehow melds heady subject matter with accessible, instantly memorable melodies. Read more on Last.fm.

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