Zack Walther – NB Magazine Feature Story

It’s Wednesday afternoon in New Braunfels and Zack Walther is unloading the band’s gear onto the stage at Freiheit Country Store. In a few hours he and best friend Matt Briggs will take the stage and run through several dozen songs. In addition to one of his many original tunes, you are just as likely to hear a classic George Strait song or a gospel tinged version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. Though Wednesday isn’t considered a normal night for live music, Zack has been hosting middle of the week shows for over a decade. Affectionately known by his fans as Walther Wednesday’s, they got their start at Gruene Hall, had a stint at Villa at Gruene and have now moved over to Freiheit.

New Braunfels is home to musicians that represent many genres of music. Some are steeped in the Red Dirt sound, others more Americana while some reside in the traditional country slot. It’s hard to pigeonhole Zack Walther into just one category. After two decades in the music business, he has released music in a wide variety of styles. He was the first local artist to record a live album at Tavern in the Gruene and at the Brauntex Theatre. He’s toured the states with a full band, as a duo with Matt Briggs and as a solo artist. When it comes to paying your dues, his are paid in full.

With a dozen albums under his belt, he decided he wanted to do things different this time. He titled the new album The Westerner, for that reason. He wanted it to be different than anything he’s ever released. The album hits the street on Friday October 25 and he will celebrate the event with a special CD release party at the Brauntex Theatre that night. He plans to play the album in its entirety, take a short break and finish out the night with some of his best loved songs.

One of the songs on the new album is ‘Paying For It Now” and it explains his years on the road with 5 guys packed into a van pulling a trailer. Ask anyone who’s done this and they will agree, it’s not that glamorous of an experience. Over the past few years Zack has built a relationship with songwriting legend Rodney Crowell. In one of their many conversations, Crowell told Zack “you have a great voice but you should go home and listen to blues and R&B singers and learn from them.” He knew Zack was wasting his time trying to keep a band together and survive on the road. It was advice Zack took seriously and followed.

The new album was recorded at Beagle’s Nest Studios here in town and was self-produced. Having Matt’s studio available at any time allowed Zack to relax and take his time. The process took over a year to complete. Seven of the songs are brand new and three were on a previously released EP. He recruited several guests for this album including ace guitarist David Grissom, slide guitarist Jeff Plankenhorn, keyboardist Mike Atkins and singer songwriter Susan Gibson. They mixed the album at Steve Henning’s studio in Fischer, TX. Zack is swinging for the fences with this album; he’s hired a radio promotion’s agent plus a publicist to get it out to as many people as possible.

These are busy times for Zack, he just joined forces with members of George Strait’s Ace in the Hole Band for an all-star tribute to King George at the Brauntex Theatre. He and his wife Marci hosted another Lennon-Aid Benefit at Krause’s Café a few weeks ago and this month he hits the road for a promotional radio station tour. The ever calm Zack takes it all in stride, “I just wanted to make a record my fans can be proud of,” he explains. After many listens, I can assure you it is.

This entry was posted in Columns, Music News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.