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Nine O'clock Blues: Rusty Zinn

Alligator Records

Rusty Zinn is a singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer who was born in California in 1970. When Zinn performs people generally dance…a lot.

His shows are high energy and transition easily from California cool Blues to the hard edged classical sound of Chicago.

Zinn found his way to the Blues through Soul music which he discovered as a teen.  Listening to Doo-Wop on Wolfman Jack’s show plus a love for the Stylistics and The Spinners was a natural ramp into a variety of music. Zinn got his first guitar at 17 and soon was playing and developing his skills in a succession of Bay area bands.


Rusty Zinn’s big Blues break came from backing up Snooky Pryor and Jimmy Rogers and then he came to the attention of Kim Wilson of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. Wilson asked Zinn to join in the recording of the 1993 album Tigerman and soon after asked Rusty to join the band.

Zinn soon signed with Black Top Records to record his first solo album, Sittin’ & Waitin’. That very first album earned Zinn a W. C. Handy Award nomination. A number of albums and awards later and Zinn is beginning to gain the attention he deserves.

Recently as Rusty Zinn has branched out to incorporate an eclectic mix of musical influences from soul, R&B, blues, reggae and rock, Zinn is evolving and headed who knows where. This week on the Nine O’clock Blues we’ll take him back to a bluesier time with several tracks from the albums Confessin’, Zinnfindelity and The Chill.


As I look over my playlist for this week’s Nine O’clock Blues I notice something that may or may not be a coincidence: there is a preponderance of Gibson guitars. Rusty Zinn, Eddie ‘The Chief’ Clearwater and Big Jack Johnson with their thin line semi-hollow body type 335s, Deborah Coleman and her classic solid body Les Paul, and Danny Draher’s big fat Jazz box.


Interesting? OK, only to guitar aficionados, but I know several who listen to the show so there you are.

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