New Look, Same Great Taste

Hey folks! So much time has passed since my last post, and so little has changed. The album is still working its way through post, though I am hopeful to have something by the Summer. In an effort to give you something instead of more nothing, I will be releasing a sneak peek at 4 songs from “Carousel” online for a limited pre-release. My Indiegogo contributors will get to hear them first, and then I’ll share them with the rest of ya. They will not be available for download, however, until the album is released.

As you can tell, I’ve given my blog a facelift, and I just launched a website for the first time in years. Heres a screen shot:

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Click here to visit the site and shoot me a message. Thanks y’all!

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Keep Good Going

Hello folks! As most of you are aware, or not aware, depending on who you talk to and where you get your news, South Louisana was recently devastated by catastrophic flooding. On Saturday August 13, most of us down here lost something, but many people lost everything. My parents home where I had been staying with my two children was spared by the burgeoning Amite River, but not by the severe backup of storm drains and sewage caused by historic rainfall of over 31 inches in a single day. Our home was in 4 feet of very nasty water for about two days.

I’m sure you’ve heard countless stories in the last few weeks coming out of Louisiana about the resiliency and courage of her citizens during the evacuations. It’s been amazing to see our communities coming together the way they have, the way they always have. The broken have been here for the broken and together we are slowly but surely beginning to make things right again. It is process that will take many months, maybe a few years, and though normal may not come home to us for some time, we Louisianans have great strength of spirit that learns well from adversity and fights back with love, humility, and a party platter. Somewhere the kettle is still brewing, the pot is still boiling, and the music is still playing, and the good times forever roll.

I snapped a few photos from my neighborhood yesterday and caught a sign with a very fine message that I think might benefit all of us.

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Speaking of music, I’m very happy to tell you that it looks as though “Carosuel” is finally spinning.  Mixing is essentially done, and all that’s left is mastering and getting yall some CDs made! I’m excited to share with you for the first time what I shared with my campaign contributors a few days ago. My friend Matt Dawson created the cover art for my record and I couldn’t be happier with it. Here it is, and here it comes! Be looking out for a release date soon!

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Love y’all.

 

A Year Ago

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One year ago today, my crowd funding campaign to make a new record closed with well over the amount I needed to make it happen, all thanks to you! The where’s and how’s changed quite a bit from point A to point B, and things are ever changing still, but the record is nearly done! I just went into the studio today actually with fresh ears to hear all that we did back in August. I am very pleased with the album. We’re still working out the kinks and getting a few last minute sessions in, but I expect that it will be finished and ready sometime this summer! I know I said last time that in my next post I would have an official release date and album art to show you, but this ain’t that post. Sorry! For now, I’ll just go ahead and give you this. Here is the final list of all 14 tracks that will feature on “Carousel” (track-order still to be determined):

– Big Deal Blues
– Junkyard Baby
– Diesel Moon, Marlboro Sun
– Theresa Full of Light
– Well Enough
– Jennings, LA
– For The Love of Sarah Pine
– Holiday
– Misery Maid
– No Word From Henry
– Carousel
– Centralia, PA
– The Slaying of J.S.J.
– The Outlaw & The Rambler

POST PRODUCTION UPDATE

Hello friends. it’s been about five months since we wrapped recording on “Carousel”. Much has changed and is changing in my personal life since then. It’s hard to believe that at this time last year, I was only a month into my crowd funding campaign. I’m back in Baton Rouge now where the project is still in post-production. That’s where all the fine tuning happens. I am hopeful that coming home will help get the record out a little quicker, although honestly I’ve really felt comfortable with our pace so far. Thank you for your patience. In my next post I’ll have an official release date for the record, and hopefully some cover art to show you. Stay tuned!

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FINAL RECORDING UPDATE!

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Well ladies and gents, We’ve made a record! A few weeks ago, in Baton Rouge, LA at The Legendary Noise Floor, I wrapped up vocal and guitar tracking on all 14 songs of “Carousel”, which I hope to have ready for you sometime around the first quarter of 2016. If you’ve followed the development of this project, or if you’ve contributed to the budget through my Indiegogo campaign, you will know that the journey to making this record has gone by way of the valley for some time. I’ll not rehash the storyline, there’s several recording updates from blog posts past that you can familiarize yourself with if’n you wish. What’s most important to know at this point is that we have pushed through the wall and are dancing on the other side! I am so happy with the results of this record and I couldn’t be more proud of the work that was put into it. I’d like to do a little name dropping at this time if you please…

My producer was John Tulley, and my assistant engineer was Zachary Graeser. I spent more than a week in very tight quarters with these two gentlemen and never once did they drop off or loose interest in me or this project. In fact, they leaned ever further in as we went along and invested more time and energy than they probably could afford to on only a few hours sleep and after one of them (Zach) actually fell ill. I am so grateful for these dudes. John took to the vision and scope of this record right away and was very patient with me in the process. Mr. Tulley is a gentle soul and a brilliant mind, and I’m glad to have had his influence over these tunes.

Contributing their musical talents to this record, was a troupe of local artists and musicians from the Baton Rouge area that I grew up listening to and playing with over the years. There was one who gave a lot of creative direction to the project, and that was my bud Clay Parker. I honestly couldn’t have accomplished this without him. Joining Clay were guitarist Ryan Harris, pedlin’ steeler Paul Buller, accordion and keys player Ben Herrington, Drummer Micah Blouin, Bassist Robert Kling, fiddle and mandolin player Joel Paul Wilson, precussionist Melissa Wilson, and vocalist Jodi James. These are some of the finest at what they do and I promise you’re not soon to find anyone better. Thanks for making me sound pretty y’all.

We also spent three nights locked up over at Presonus Studios in Baton Rouge to track Drums and Bass, which was awesome! Presonus has an impressive studio space, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking to make a record. We had a great time with Eric Welch who was our in house engineer over there. Eric is a great dude, and I’m so glad I got to know him. He, along with everyone in the room at the time did a great job of helping me calm down after we thought we had lost our best take of the song “Jennings, LA” when the hard drive crashed. We were all a little bit heartbroken because it was our last night there, and we felt so good about that take! I really let it get to me. I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. John Tulley lost a lot of sleep that night trying to recover files, and by the next morning to our great surprise John was able to retrieve the song! That was a great day. It made me glad to be surrounded by folks who lose hope a whole lot slower than I do.

After a week and two days, we turned out something I am immensely proud of and can’t wait to share it with you, my family, and friends!

Thank you to everyone who helped bring this thing to life! You are AMAZING!!!!

Stay tuned! ….

Jacob Zachary

A Love Letter To Highpoint Church

When Aimee and I left Baton Rouge, LA for Memphis, TN on April 1, 2012 we were little more than a month away from meeting our baby girl Iley Harper who on the 4th of May introduced us to parenthood for the first time. We were staying at my in-laws then, so we actually became parents in Memphis before we became residents. Memphis was quite an unfamiliar place to become such unfamiliar people. Six months after Iley came along, we moved into our first home together as a family, but not before discovering Highpoint Church.

When Iley was born, I was working at a large format sign company. One day a work order landed on my desk to print a massive billboard banner that was nothing more than a black and white photo of what looked like favelas – those clusters of substandard apartments in the slum towns of Brazil. Across the picture was a graphic with the words “Love Works”. This spoke to me about the mission, the community, and the heart of Highpoint Church. It intrigued me. I saw in that one banner a community that could imagine some of the most desperate places of human depravity, and still see the hope and love of Christ – That unexpected LOVE that works where all expectations of love have failed. Aimee and I had just talked about looking for churches anyway, and I thought why not let this be our first stop. It would be our last. On my first Sunday visit, I texted Aimee who stayed back with our newborn “we are home”. Highpoint describes themselves as a “perfect place, for imperfect people”. In our time there, I came to know the truth at either end of that statement, that indeed Highpoint Church was and remains for me and my family, a perfect place. 😉

In our three years in Memphis, we barely had time to become true Memphians. We weren’t even good tourists. My Drivers License still says “Louisiana”.  I didn’t get pulled over much, thankfully. 🙂 I never had time to become a Grizzlies fan. (Geaux Pelicans!), I never visited Graceland, The Stax Museum, The Loraine Motel, and I never spent more than a day or two in the downtown or midtown parts of the city. The only Memphis we knew was Highpoint Church, but for a time it was all the Memphis we needed. We witnessed life change on a weekly basis at Highpoint, and we saw our lives changing as well. Our children (we have two now, Iley & Ezra)  benefited from one of the finest kids ministry programs I’ve ever witnessed. The commitment and determination in the work of the staff and volunteers in the Highpoint Kids family is just awesome! I will never forget Krystal Durfee and all the beautiful people who greeted us at our kids classes every Sunday.


I also got to enjoy being a volunteer on the praise team at Highpoint under the leadership of Josh Maze. Josh is true leader and dear friend, and I am very thankful to him for investing in me and for all the leaders on the creative team at Highpoint! (Love you Tyler, Joe, Carolyn, Andrew, David, Wes, Chad, Candace, Laramie, Joel, Bill, Byron and the whole lot of ya! You guys ROCK!)


What I know I will miss most about Highpoint Church is the teaching of our pastors, and the testimonial ministry of baptism, or “Going Public”. Andy Savage and Chris Conlee are firmly committed to teaching the Word of God and introducing the lost to the God of the Word. The compassion, honesty, and sincerity of their teaching is something that you just know comes out of a deep almost burdensome longing to preach Truth. The responsibility they carry for the staff and partners of the church is palpable and man do they ever deliver on their commitment. With integrity, transparency, honor, humility, and excellence every leader on staff at Highpoint, though ever so short of perfect, is certainly of the highest possible quality. I am grateful to them all.

In these last few years I have been blessed to have several men of faith from Highpoint come alongside me to encourage, instruct, and pray with me through difficult times. I cant thank any of them enough for their kindness to me and the benefits of their counsel. Not the least of these men of faith was our pastor Chris Conlee who from the moment that I met him never ceased to remind me of the divine potential within me, and that I should never settle for less than God’s best. Under Pastor Conlee’s teaching in April of 2013 I began what has been a journey of overcoming self hatred and the influence of decietful voices. I am even now still learning to live a life of victory in resistance to the lies of the enemy. After years of looting and plunder, I didn’t believe there was much left in me for the enemy to steal or destroy. I’ll never forget the restoration that began in me over those few weeks. I still listen to those sermons at hpmemphis.com often, and I’d encourage anyone feeling the opressive weight of past failures, loss, bitterness, demoralizing shame, or lonliness to listen to this sermon series. Click here.

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One of the single greatest acts of kindness anyone has shown me was when Pastor Chris took me before the congregation and pointed everyone toward a crowd-funding campaign that would fulfill a dream to record only my second record in over ten years. I couldn’t believe, and still can’t believe the outpouring of love and support from the partners at Highpoint to help eclipse my campaign goal substantially. I was speechless. I was honored. I was loved.

I love you Highpoint Church, and I will miss you dearly.

…That album is finished by they way! Well, at least in principle. There’s still a great deal of post-production work to be done. I completed work on it a few weeks ago in Baton Rouge, LA (look for a new blog entry soon). Not long after our last Sunday and the announcment of our departure, I came down to Louisiana to make good on the commitment to get this record made! I can’t wait to make a trip back to Memphis to share it with everyone!

Aimee, Iley, Ezra, and I are now embarking on a new journey with a new faith family in Wilmington, NC. We leave the birthplace of our children and the only Memphis we know, Highpoint Church, to bring the only Love that we know to as many people as we can. As you remember us, Please pray for us, for Reach Community Church and for the people of Leland and Wilmington, NC.

We thank you, we love you, and will miss you! Our prayers are with you and the city of Memphis always.

“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance on you and give you peace”

– Team Zachary

RECORDING UPDATE … LIFE UPDATE

On April 5 I posted some sad news. Due to changes in management, we lost our chance to record at Sun Studio here in Memphis, TN. (sad face) We regrouped, went through a handful of plan B studio choices/dates, and eventually landed at Dockside Studios in Lafayette, LA.  After some scheduling conflicts in July, we decided to shoot for the last weekend of August.

Unfortunately, these last few weeks have presented some unique challenges for our producer Jeff Powell that have made it very difficult to know for sure if he could remain committed to the project. Without being able to make headway fast enough considering the conditions and decisions that Jeff was faced with, and without knowing how that would affect our working relationship in the next few months, I’ve had to give Jeff leave of the project to let him concentrate on more pressing matters (sad face).

No studio. No producer. To compound the issue, I am now on a deadline. I’m happy to announce that I’ve accepted a worship leader position at a church in Wilmington, NC. We will be moving mid-September at the latest. Our plans were made before we lost Jeff, and our last scheduled dates for recording were set for the last weekend of August. Our heads are spinning. We have so much going on, so many things to do to get ready for a move, and so little time now to do it.

In the last hour, with the help of my friend John Tulley, I’ve come up with an new plan. We’re moving the project from Dockside Studios about 60 miles east to Baton Rouge, LA. We will be recording in a co-op music and arts space in Downtown Baton Rouge called The Legendary Noise Floor. Recording dates have basically remained the same, however this new option potentially gives us a lot more time to record, which is great.

Now that things are finally moving forward with greater speed, updates should be coming in a lot more frequently. I’m excited and I look forward to all of the good things ahead of us!

Thanks to everyone who stayed on me to keep them in the loop of what’s been going on. With all the frustration over planning and re-planning, it’s been great to know that folks are really eager to hear this record. I’m thankful for your continued support, and I can’t wait to finally make this happen!

Stay tuned!