The Point Reyes, California native and veteran singer/songwriter, Zoe Alexander embarks on a solo career with new release “Cali-Country,” where he blends contemporary bluesy-country with a showman Southern country sizzle.
Zoe was raised by two legendary blues-musician-parents Rod and Honey Piazza of The Mighty Flyers, where he grew up singing at late night campfires. In his twenties, Zoe traveled to Nashville where he mastered his writing skills, recording with Garth Brooks’ production team and soon relocated to Memphis, where he worked as Elvis Presley’s family house-band. Zoe’s musical journey was influenced by West Coast sunshine and southern grit and grind. He’s been blessed to perform with some of his early bands, with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kenny Chesney, The Dixie Chicks, Steve Winwood, Justin Moore, Pam Tillis, The Stray Cats, The Byrds, Dave Mason and many more.
Zoe’s first solo EP release Cali Country, is a powerful collection of stirring, soulful country cuts which speak of love and loss. Each song breathes smooth, vocals into deep country roots. Cali Country is anchored by the smoking lead single “You Set Me Free.” Alive with soaring horns and heavenly background vocals, courtesy of chanteuse/Fleetwood Mac affiliate Bekka Bramlett, the song brims with Zoe’s signature style and sound. He either wrote, or co-wrote the majority of the record, bringing in some special friends along the way. “It’s Killing Me” and “The Way We Used to Be” were both collaborations with longtime Barry Manilow guitarist Michael Lent. “Here We Are” was written with Steve Moseley, his longtime friend and bandmate of Monterey County’s most popular cover band, The Money Band. The feel good vibe of “Another Night Like This” came courtesy of Richard Fagan and Friends.
Cali Country is an eloquent ensemble of respected and award winning veteran performers, produced by multi-platinum Producer Gregg Brown and mastered by Grammy winning engineer, Richard Dodd.
The entourage of pristine talent and collaboration on Cali Country EP, hit home with background vocalist Bekka Bramlett, who has recorded with the likes of Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Jewell and Brooks and Dunn to name a few. Mike Rojas laid down the keys and piano (Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert), while Elio Giordano hit hard on Bass Guitar (Pam Tillis, The Mavericks, Ronnie Dunn). Other talent featured are drummer Simon Roper and Matt Coles (Brooks and Dunn), who brought amazing energy to the EP. Guitarist extraordinaire, Tony Obrohta (Wynonna Judd, Little Big Town, Gretchen Wilson) laid the electric and acoustic riffs down and Grammy Nominated artist Carl Marsh, performed and arranged the strings (Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Emmy Lou Harris), while legendary pedal steel ACM Award winner, Dan Dugmore (Dierk Bentley, Linda Ronstadt) gave it that southern charm. Horns were arranged and performed by veteran musician Jim Hoke, who has recorded with Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton and Billy Joel to name a few. Vinnie Ciecielsky is responsible for the powerful trumpets, that tightened the full body sound of Cali Country.
“From the writing to the production, we developed this sound,” said Zoe. “A Country soul record with hints of rock and pop. This sound was grown in California and made in Nashville. I’ve lived in both places, and my family is from both places, so I wanted to bridge the energy of the lifestyles of each of them.”
The mood and tone of the music is multi-layered and complex, matching Zoe’s multi-faceted life experiences. “Another Night Like This” is a melodic feel-good party charger, an ultimate reflection of a perfect moment, with the perfect people. “It’s Killing Me” captures the dramatic tension and pain of love lost, accented by Tony Obrohta’s wailing guitar and Bramlett’s aching backup vocals.
Zoe’s current favorite, “The Way We Used To Be,” a picture perfect country jam that holds weight “due to the message of remembering the important simple things of love and family and fighting to keep it, or heal and rebuilt it,” said Zoe.
Throughout the record, Zoe’s hearty vocals shine, with patterns and textures that expose his vulnerability with radiance. “Pretty much all the music is about love and passion, with strength from believing in hope and dreams. The greatest thing in life is to love and be loved, there is simply nothing better!”