Zachary Hunter

With the release of In Your Dreams, Zachary Hunter has scaled a magical mountain peak in his music career. His rise to such a level of maturity in songwriting and vocal performance has been a long and gradual trek. First accounting is of the performances in coffee shops, restaurants and clubs over a twelve year period. Through the 90s as a solo act in North Carolina, and in this century with bands in Colorado, a style and a dream were sculpted. All along the way there were the songwriting seminars, songwriter classes, consults with major writers, songwriting groups, and an attention to the craft that helped grow a songwriter alongside the singer/performer.

But it was the dream that was guiding the steps, applying the prod. Zachary's dream has been no less than true commercial viability for his songs, and to sing them to an ever-growing count of ears. But the heart had to remain in the songs. As he grasped the songwriting concepts…structure, length, hook, etc., he knew his soul could not be pushed aside. The soul has to be in the music. It was always…the music. The music is what moves us. The music brings us together. The music speaks to us through its universal language. Zachary's dream has been to "move" people with his music.

And now, with In Your Dreams, Zack's third release on the Wolf Records label, the music is there to move us. The 13-song disc weaves in and out of traditional and modern country music with seamless ease, showcasing timeless lyrics that float on effective chord progressions, all combining to trigger complex emotions in a simple, heartfelt manner. The CD is a journey through the human spirit. But make no mistake…it's an arrival for ZH.

The song In Your Dreams could be a metaphor for Zack's musical quest. In the lyrics of IYD, a young cowboy doesn't back down until he gets the girl, along the way hearing her say "in your dreams, cowboy" as a rebuff. Persistence becomes paramount. And now Zachary "gets the girl" in a CD release that surely is a dream-come-true for the artist. But the rebuffs and rejections are plentiful for an aspiring singer/songwriter in pursuit of such dreams. Used correctly, though, the slamming doors are motivating, constructive…welcome. And so, after enduring the detours, closed doors, re-directions, winning the prize becomes that much sweeter.

Still, the music has to come from somewhere...somewhere inside the writer, the musician. Zack's tunes are a product of his varied environments...kudzu country Carolina, to Rocky Mountain high Colorado. He spent his early formative years in Roanoke, Virginia...acclimating early on to high altitude living. Then on to Piedmont North Carolina...oak trees and cicadas, red necks and blue skies, honeysuckle and magnolia. Recent years have been spent in the thin air of southwest Colorado...snow-capped peaks and green valleys full of hay bales, two-steppers and real cowboys, sunshine and elk as tall as buildings. It all seeps into the system like fresh air through a cracked window...then heads out the front door.

And all these varied lifestyles brought different musical influences. Although he didn't commit to the guitar until he was 18, Zachary was, by that time, a music afficionado...especially of the southern rock genre. In the back yard outside his teenage world, the speaker in the window would be blaring Toy Caldwell, The Outlaws, Skynyrd, CDB and the Allmans. Throw in the California contingent...Doobies, JT, the Eagles, Jackson Browne and Linda Ronstadt and you've explained a lot of ZH's early influence...courtesy of three older sisters. But when it came time for him to make his own kind of music, he turned to the Nashville singer-songwriters for direction: Vince Gill, Steve Wariner, Clint Black, Hal mention a few monsters. But now he's forged his own path...all the way up to In Your Dreams.

If the new release is a peak in the journey for Zachary, the last steps of this climb were guided capably by veteran studio man Ed Stasium ( Stasium and Hunter hooked up during the winter of '03-'04 and a project partnership was born. The first musician recruited for the project was elite drummer Kenny Aronoff. The rhythm section also contained one Bob Babbitt, of Motown fame. From there it was off to Nashville for sessions with Music City's finest…Stuart Duncan, Brent Mason, Paul Franklin, Pat Buchanan, Howard Duck (Rascal Flatts), Charlie McCoy, Wanda Vick and Michael Bonagura and Kathie Baillie (Baillie & The Boys).

But the recording of In Your Dreams was anything but quickly done for Hunter and Stasium. The project began in January of 2004 with the selection of material for the CD. The rhythm section of Babbitt and Aronoff had to find holes in their schedules. Then, there was a one year hiatus as Zack was set back by vocal difficulties. Once resumed in the summer of '05, and after all of the lead instruments were recorded, there was still the process of selecting all the incredible parts laid down by the lead players. Then there was the mixing process and mastering, all done to Stasium's exacting standards. And so the last steps of the dream journey toward the release of In Your Dreams occupied a trying, but uplifting, two years.

However, while a "trail marker" has been reached, the journey for Hunter has only begun. Like a hike across Colorado mountain peaks, In Your Dreams is simply the first peak conquered. There is a whole horizon of "14ers" to pursue. The songwriting, performance and singing progress continue every time he picks up a guitar or steps up to a microphone. Having communicated so much on the new CD, from stylish cheating songs, to heartfelt love songs, to homage paid to the king of country music, there is still so much for Zachary Hunter to communicate. Don't touch that dial.


In Your Dreams (2006)




Aspirion Records Named Small Label of the Year - 2007