Mike Zito,
(Electro Groove, 2008)

Sometimes artists go through a long development, often in public, before they hit maturity. Others develop in private so that when they appear, they're pretty much in full control of their art.

Mike Zito is one of the second type. Today doesn't sound like a debut album. Listening, you get the feeling you're hearing a veteran artist who has been concentrating on creating, refining and sharing his art with a public for decades. It's hard to believe this is his first recording.

Zito, a blues-rock player from St. Louis, has been playing since he was 5 and became a touring musician at the age of 19. Unfortunately, he bought into the myth of the hard-living, hard-partying rock star and paid the price for it. Now, though, he has cleaned up his act and, working from a new home base in Texas, is rebuilding his life and his career.

Today should bring him the attention that will lift him to the next level. Zito and producers David Z and Tony Braunagel have put together a world-class band: Hutch Hutchinson on bass, Benmont Tench on keyboards, producer Braunagel on drums and Michito Sanchez on percussion. These people, supplemented by a horn section and a couple of backup singers, frame Zito's songs beautfully, creating a sound texture that rocks and drives the music forward, but never overwhelms it, leaving Zito plenty of room to stretch out on guitar.

The songs are varied. The CD features some ballads, some uptempo rockers, some blues, but whatever the form, they are all solid, displaying Zito's writing skills beautifully.

In all, Today introduces an artist who can play, write and sing, all with an original twist. It's an album that will spend a lot of time in your player.

review by
Michael Scott Cain

15 November 2008

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