Zach Benton has had a busy few months since we talked last summer. He released two full-length albums – Off the Benton Track in September and The Salem Album in April. He hosts a television show, does live performances in and around Keene, and is embarking on some new projects.
I asked Zach about the inspiration for Salem. “Years ago my cousin and I were talking about how fun it would be to do a rock opera about the Salem Witch Trials. This fall, I was looking to do a project that was seasonal and came up with the album.” The CD was recorded in his home studio and all of the instruments and vocals are performed by Zach.
Listening to this album is captivating – there is a variety of styles and instrumentation and the songs range from haunting to almost angelic. Here is Change your Mind, which features Zach’s wide vocal range and the R&B influence to much of his music:
By contrast, Off the Benton Track is “more casual,” featuring both originals and covers. Here is Marching On, a song with instrumentation by the Dave Allen Orchestra:
In addition to his music projects, Zach has a weekly TV show called O Melodious Show. “ I love doing the show,” Zach said. “A lot more people see me and I don’t have to travel. I start with a few songs and have either a musical guest or someone local I interview. My goal is to make it a show about local entertainment.” The program airs Thursday nights at 7:30 on Channel 8 (Time Warner Cable) and is broadcast five times each week. His favorite show? “The Santa Claus episode. Todd Bissell was my guest. I was in a play he directed.”
Right now, Zach is working with Caitlin Brown, Ruzzel Zullo, Nikolas Morton (who co-directs O! Melodious Show) on a Salem Album movie. “This film version will probably not be a rock opera in period Salem Village, but will use the music to tell a new story,” said Zach. He has new single coming this month called Give It a Shot featuring his former guitar teacher Paul Hubert on lead guitar. “Paul wrote Juliet, which I recorded and it is a live staple,” Zach explained. Zach is also working on a full length album, “Truer Love” which he started in college with Dave Allen. The original recording includes Hayley Monroe on violin, Joseph McConaughy on viola, cellist Owen Davis, and Lindsey Chirichiello who plays string bass. Zach is adding guitar and a new vocal track, and expects to release it in December.
Zach’s work can be found on ITunes, Amazon and YouTube. In addition, The Salem Album can be found at Bull Moose in Keene. “They have been so good to me” said Zach, referring to an in-store show he did and their carrying the album for him.
Zach performs at Mole Hill Theatre on Saturday, June 10, along with Roots Cellar and The Ben Jennings Quartet.