Ambassador of the Blues, Zac Harmon talks about BB King, music African tree, & the Blues all over the world

"The Blues is pure emotion. As long as people have souls, they will feel the"

Zac Harmon:

I am the blues. It’s part of my DNA

Born and raised in the heart of Jackson, Mississippi, Zac Harmon is a true disciple of the music that emanated from the city’s historic Farish Street district, universally recognized as the home of such great blues legends like the late, great Elmore James. While in high school and college, Harmon gigged as a guitarist for the likes of Z.Z. Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Myers.

Relocating to L.A. in the early eighties, he worked as a studio musician and then established himself as a writer and producer, crafting songs for the likes of the O’Jays, and Black Uhuru. Composing and performing music for a movie score, Harmon was compelled to pursue his longtime dream to return to his roots and record his first Blues project. The result was 2002’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”.
2007 saw Harmon named to the Blues Foundation’s Board of Directors and entering into an endorsement deal with Category 5 Amplification.
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. Zac Harmon continues to tour internationally as an ambassador for the Blues. "Music is Medicene" is the first release for the multi-talented, award-winning artist since 2009.

Interview by Michael Limnios

Zac, when was your first desire to become involved in the blues & from whom have you have learned the most secrets about blues music?
As a kid, blues was all I heard around the house. My Dad played harp and loved Slim Harpo. So I heard a lot of Slim Harpo.

What was the first gig you ever went to & what were the first songs you learned?
The first concert that I saw was Albert King and BB King. The first gig I played was in high school and the first song was Baby What You Want Me To Do by Jimmy Reed.

Which was the best moment of your career and which was the worst?
The best moment of my career was playing with BB King. The worst is ongoing with the decline of blues music around the world from the original source.

How/where do you get inspiration for your songs & who were your mentors in songwriting?
Life is my source, and mentor for songs.

What experiences in your life make you a GOOD musician and songwriter?
Growing up in Mississippi gave me a lot to write about and the connection with great musicians to learn to be a great musician.

Do you think that your music and your songs, comes from the heart, the brain or the soul?
It’s all from the soul and heart. The soul is the window of the heart.

What does the BLUES mean to you & what does Blues offered you?
I am the blues. It’s part of my DNA.

What do you learn about yourself from the music? How do you describe the philosophy of Zac Harmon’s music?

My music is like my fingerprints. It’s unique, it’s original, and it’s mine.

Are there any memories from ZZ Hill, Dorothy Moore and Sam Myers, which you’d like to share with us?
I have many great memories of the extrodinary entertainers. From ZZ Hill I remember how great of a showman he was and how he would have the crowd in the palm of his hands. From Dorothy Moore I remember how great of singer she is and how sweet of a soul she is. From Sam Myers, I remember how much of a pure bluesman he was and how hard he was of me to keep the tradition alive.

What's been their experience from Bluzapalooza in Gulf and your performance at the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx?
Bluzapalooza was an incredible experience. This tour proved to me that the Blues is loved all over the world. At the Great Pyramid, we performed for over 5 thousand Egyptians and they loved every minute of it.

Are there any memories from “THE ROAD WITH THE BLUES”, which you’d like to share with us?
Yes but the only way I can share it is to play it for you live.

From the musical point of view is there any difference and similarities between the SOUL, REGGAE & BLUES?
It’s all the same. It’s from the African tree born of emotion.

Happiness is……performing.

Some music styles can be fads but the blues is always with us.  Why do think that is? Give one wish for the BLUES.

The Blues is pure emotion. As long as people have souls, they will feel the blues. I wish everyone could experience this music.

What is the “think” you miss most nowadays from Elmore James’ blues?
That magical slide.

What is the best advice to listen from the bluesmen?
To be true to yourself.

What advice would you give to all us for the “Keeping the blues Alive”
Support the Blues whenever and wherever you can.

Do you have a message like an “ambassador for the Blues” and a Blues Foundation board member?
Keep the Blues Alive!!!

Zac Harmon - Official website

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