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Biography

From Mississippi to World Touring Blues Legend

 

 

 

 

Zac Harmon is an award-winning guitarist, organist, singer, and songwriter whose distinctive style combines the best of old-school soul-blues artists with modern lyrics and themes that bring the blues into a new century.  His new Blind Pig CD, Right Man Right Now, is contemporary music that proves just how alive and relevant the blues is today.

 

Blues Revue called Harmon “aImasterful musician and performer of the blues.”  Blues journalist Don Wilcock referred to his “Bobby Blue Bland uptown sophistication with a touch of Freddie King guitar.”  And JazzReview said, “With his big blues sound from Mississippi, Harmon can go toe to toe with some of the best blues men in the business. Please don’t be shy, go ahead and mention Harmon’s name in the same sentence with Bobby “Blue” Bland, Albert King and Bobby Rush—just to name a few.” 

Born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi, Zac Harmon is a true embodiment of the music that emanated from the city’s historic Farish Street district, home of blues legend Elmore James. Given that Zac was exposed to a lot of music in his home, neighborhood, and local culture, it’s not surprising that he turned out a blues musician.   His mom played piano, and his dad, the city’s first black pharmacist, played harmonica and tended to the needs of artists such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, Albert King, and Little Milton.

 

His next door neighbor was a music instructor who would host friends such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, and Harry Belafonte in her home.  Another neighbor, Bill Farris, a blues scholar who worked with noted folklorist Alan Lomax and founded the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi, recorded a number of Delta blues artists in his home, including Skip James.

 

Zac started his professional career at age sixteen, playing guitar with Sam Myers, a friend of his father’s.  Two years later he was playing with Dorothy Moore, Z.Z. Hill and other well-known blues artists who were passing through on regional tours. 

 

In the early eighties, at age 21, he moved to Los Angeles to take a real shot at the music business.   He worked as a studio musician at first and eventually established a very successful career as a songwriter and producer.   He worked on major films, television shows, and well-known national commercials, even being hired at one point by Michael Jackson as a staff writer for his publishing company.  Harmon wrote songs for the likes of Evelyn "Champagne" King, Freddie Jackson, the Whispers, K-Ci  & Jo Jo, and the O'Jays.   He also produced songs for reggae band Black Uhuru's Mystical Truth album, which received a Grammy nomination in 1994.

 

After composing and performing some blues songs for a movie score, Harmon felt compelled to pursue his longtime dream of returning to his roots and recording his first blues project.  The result was 2003’s Live at Babe & Ricky's Inn, an electrifying testimony to Mississippi blues, which showcased the sound at its best and introduced Harmon as a true torchbearer for the “next generation of the Blues.”  In 2004, Harmon and his band, the Mid South Blues Revue, sponsored by the Southern California Blues Society, traveled to Memphis and won the Blues Foundation’s prestigious International Blues Challenge title of “Best Unsigned Band."

His next release, in 2005, was The Blues According To Zacariah, which garnered major national airplay, including XM, Sirius and the American Blues Network.  XM listeners voted Harmon “Best New Blues Artist” in the inaugural XM Nation Awards in 2005.  In 2006, Harmon won the coveted Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” for The Blues According to Zacariah.  Later that year, he was featured in Blues Revue magazine as one of the 10 artists that “represent the future of the blues,” calling him a “latter-day Eric Clapton or Robert Cray with shades of Luther Allison and BB King.”

Zac Harmon entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait in 2008 as one the stars of Bluzapalooza and while headlining “The Pizza & Pyramid Tour” of Sicily, Italy and Cairo, Egypt in late 2009, Harmon and company made history with a rare performance at site of the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx, making the ensemble only the second blues act to do so; Louis Armstrong being the first.

In 2008, he released Shot in the Kill Zone in Europe, which was recorded live at the Lionel Hampton Room in Paris.  He then signed with the Northern Blues label for his third and much-anticipated U.S. album, From the Root, which was released April 2009.   Living Blues said, “It takes a truly gifted artist to go in as many directions over the course of a single CD as Harmon does here and still retain a sense of coherence.  For that alone, this is a pretty remarkable outing—but the real treat is the quality of the music itself, from beginning to end.”

Also in 2009, Zac was honored for his career achievements in his beloved hometown at the Jackson Music Awards, and weeks later in Nashville, the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation bestowed the “Little Milton” Guitar Award for “Outstanding Guitar Player” upon him.  That same year Harmon branched out into acting, with a major role in the independent feature film Black and Blue, released in 2010.

 

Zac was a featured performer for the 2010 “Mississippi Celebrates its “Grammy Legacy” celebration, hosted by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, where he was presented with a Peavey Award, which honors the state's many Grammy winners and nominees as well as individuals who have played a significant role in developing and furthering Mississippi's musical heritage.

Harmon released his next album, Music Is Medicine, in 2012.   Blues Bytes called it an “album of his exciting brand of blues, which mixes elements of soul, funk, gospel and R&B effortlessly, and this latest disc ranks as his best so far.”

Since then he’s been on a roll, becoming one of the blues' strongest live performers, thrilling fans everywhere from Memphis to Mumbai.  His live performances combine elements of everything that influenced him: soul-blues, gospel, reggae, and modern blues-rock.

 

BluesWax said of a festival appearance, “Harmon’s stage show is like a Blues symphony where he segues from one song to the next without a moment’s hesitation, building a head of steam that is orgasmic.  Mixing classic boogie gliders with originals, he builds a West Side guitar sound that’s almost as sweet and simultaneously rough as classic Magic Sam into a showcase presentation that takes a lot of pages from Buddy Guy as far as dynamics. His hour on stage went by in an instant.”

In another live review, Jazz Now said, “His show affirmed all the hoopla that surrounds those dubbed as the hottest new act… Soulful vocals, breathtaking showmanship… His flashy guitar style belies the solid sound that he radiated on every tune, admirably backed by a fantastic band.”

 

With Right Man Right Now Harmon finally brings that excitement to a brand new CD, his bluesiest ever.  Addressing issues straight from today's headlines, Zac presents them in a fresh original style built on the best blues tradition. And he has some incredibly talented musicians helping him - guests include Bobby Rush, Lucky Peterson, Anson Funderburgh and Mike Finnegan. 

 

The album provides definitive proof that Zac Harmon is indeed the right man to firmly establish all that blues can and should be right now in the second decade of the new millennium.

 

Music Credits

 

Artist - Album - Record Label
“Song”



KEVON EDMONDS - SAVE THE LAST DANCE - HOLLYWOOD/RCA
“MOVE IT SLOW”


K-CI & JO JO - “X” - MCA/UNIVERSAL
”ONE LAST TIME”


K-CI & JO JO -  CHRISTMAS ALBUM - MCA/UNIVERSAL
“MERRY CHRISTMAS BABY”


Mississppi Childrens Choir - When Gods Children Get Together - Malaco
“I’m Blessed”


Mississippi Mass Choir - Not by Might - Malaco
“If I Be Lifted Up”


KARYN WHITE - RITUAL OF LOVE - WARNER BROS.
“THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT YOU”
“DO UNTO ME”


TROOP - ATTITUDE - ATLANTIC
“I’M NOT SOUPPED”
“THAT’S MY ATTITUDE”


NONA GAYE - LOVE FOR THE FUTURE - THIRD STONE
“I’M OVERJOYED” 


ALEXANDER O’NEAL - LOVE MAKES NO SENSE - TABU
“HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS”
“CHANGE OF HEART”


ALEXANDER O’NEAL - THE BEST OF/UK - TABU
“SATISFIED”
“RIGHT NOW”
“CAUGHT UP”


CHERRELLE - THE WOMAN I AM - TABU
“7 DAYS A WEEK”
“WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE”


CHERRELLE - THE BEST OF - POWER
“STOP LOVING YOU”
“DON’T”


5 Star - Heart & Soul - Tent
“Show Me”
“Going With the Moment”
“I Give You Give”
“When You Get Home”
“Writing on the Wall”


WHISPERS - MORE OF THE NIGHT - CAPITOL
“GIRL DON’T MAKE ME WAIT”


BLACK UHURU - MYSTICAL TRUTH - MESA/BLUE MOON
“ONE LOVE”
“SLIPPING INTO DARKNESS”


IMX - IMX - VIRGIN
“WISER THAN MY YEARS”


MICHAEL COOPER - GET CLOSER - WARNER BROS.
“GET YOU UNDRESSED”
“LOVES PASSION”


FREDDIE JACKSON - PRIVATE PARTY - SCOTTI BROS.
“YOUR LOVIN’ IS A GOOD THING”


BOB MARLEY - (UN-RELEASED) MASTERS - ANANSI/JAD
“WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND”


DEF JEF - SOUL FOOD - DELICIOUS VINYL
“HERE WE GO AGAIN”


LOUIE RANKIN - LETHAL WEAPON - MESA/BLUE MOON
“HEARTBREAKER”
“PUT ON YOUR NEGLIGEE”


EVELYN “CHAMPAGNE” KING - I'LL KEEP A LIGHT ON - E M I
“WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT”
“I THINK ABOUT YOU” 

IDENTITY CRISIS - SPANISH AFRO - TABU/MOTOWN
(THE ALBUM)

LARRY SPRINGFIELD - I'M JUST A MAN - TABU
"STAND BY MY WOMAN"


RHONDA CLARK - RHONDA CLARK - TABU
"(IF LOVING YOU IS WRONG) I DON'T WANNA BE RIGHT"
"MUST BE REAL LOVE"
"I NEVER LOVED A MAN"

 

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY
(Film & TV)

Soundtrack - Artist - Record Label
“Song”

 

BLOOD HEAD - PARAMOUNT
“BLOOD HEAD/COMING FOR YOU”

SHOW TIME - IDENTITY CRISIS - UNIVERSAL
“SHOW TIME”

PLUTO NASH
“SAFE IN MY ARMS”

 

SAVE THE LAST DANCE - KEVON EDMONDS - HOLLYWOOD/MTV
“MOVE IT SLOW”


THE CORRUPTORS -  ALEX TO - NEW LINE/MCA
“I HURT YOU ACCIDENTALY”

WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP - O’JAYS - E M I
“CAN YOU COME OUT AND PLAY”

DEEP COVER - TIMES 3 - SONY
“TYPICAL RELATIONSHIP”

GORDY - TAG TEAM - CURB
“PIG POWER”

THE 6th MAN - DOMINICA - HOLLYWOOD
“GET UP”


TELEVISION

BYRON ALLEN SHOW/ CITY GUYS


ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT/ EXTRA/ MS. MILLENIUM CONTEST/SISTER - SISTER


THE SHOW / BET’S COMIC VIEW / BET’S COMIC SOAP


J.A.G. / BEVERLY HILLS 90210 / MELROSE PLACE / HBO FAIRY TALES


DISNEY “ONE SATURDAY MORNING” & “DOUG” PROMOTIONALS


FAMILY MATTERS / THE GUYS NEXT DOOR


COMMERCIALS

JELLO (BILL COSBY PURPLE GRAPE & JURASSIC PARK PROMO)


COCA-COLA (CARIBBEAN & HIP HOP)


NUTRA MINT “THE POWER IN YOU”

The Blues Box

Zac's Performance Calendar

  • December 15, 2017
    Lee's Liquor Lounge ,  Minneapolis, MN
     
  • December 16, 2017
    Knuckleheads Saloon ,  Kansas City, MO
     
  • December 17, 2017
    Coda House Concerts ,  Joplin, Mo
     
  • January 28, 2018
    KNON Benefit
     
  • February 4, 2018
    Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise ,  Fort Lauderdale, FL
     

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