NPR for Northern Colorado
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Zac Harmon Moves Jackson, Mississippi Blues Into The 21st Century


Zac Harmon is truly a product of his Jackson, Mississippi home. How could he be anything else? His close childhood neighbors included a music instructor who hosted guests like Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway and Harry Belafonte. Another neighbor worked with folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax, who created the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, and recorded several Delta Blues greats in his home.

No surprise then that Zac Harmon has become a leading exponent of the Jackson Blues sound, starting his career playing guitar in Sam Myers' band at age 16. By 18 he was working with people like Dorothy Moore, the legendary Z.Z. Hill and a lot more.

In the early 1980s, when he was 21, Harmon moved to Los Angeles to work as a producer, songwriter and studio musician. He was quickly successfully working on television shows, commercials and movies.

It was writing Blues songs for a film score that took Zac Harmon back to his Mississippi roots and made him want to record a Blues album. That first album, 2003's Live at Babe & Ricky's Inn, launched him as a leader of the 21st century new Blues scene.

A 2004 victory for Harmon and his band as "Best Unsigned Band" at the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge helped cement his place on the forefront of new roots Blues.

Further awards have followed, including being voted "Best New Artist Debut" by the Blues Foundation, "Best New Blues Artist" in the XM Nation Awards and several more… so far.

Harmon has entertained U.S. troops in Iraq and Kuwait, toured Italy and Egypt and even played at the Great Pyramid and the Sphinx. He continues to build a solid following with shows around the World that mix all of his influences from soul-blues, gospel, reggae, to modern blues-rock but most of all, the Jackson, Mississippi sound that was his musical genesis.


Related Content