Zachary Cale

Over the years I’ve come to associate Zachary Cale with the guitar. Whether solo, with Vague Plot, or sitting in a session, it’s a sound that’s become synonymous with his credit. So, its a pleasant surprise when the piano, buffeted by a few strings, opens up Cale’s new album, Next Year’s Ghost. After the last strains of the bittersweet “Heart of Tin” fade from the speakers the gentle lope of keys continues and it becomes clear that this is a very different kind of record for Cale. Piano and Wurlitzer are the cornerstones of the album, written as a meditative respite in the pandemic. The album ponders loneliness, isolation, time and its tenure. It’s a new skin for Cale, but inside beats the same resilient heart that hums through his past works.

With a cadre of collaborators —Shahzad Ismaily (Bob Dylan, Beings, Marc Ribot), Jeremy Gustin (Delicate Steve, Okkervil River), Uriah Theriault (Woodsy Pride), Jr Bohannon, and a trio of strings — the songs that Cale penned in purgatory came to life in the studio, a bittersweet collection that drapes the listener in the comforts of melancholy. The spiraling lines of keys lead the way, but with the wealth of friends around him at last, Cale carves out one of his most affecting albums yet. Bohannon’s steel sketches the heartache, while Imsaily adds a cocoon of warmth to the record. Cale contemplates the sleeplessness, the crumble, the scars and their cause. Zachary has always been one of our great troubadours, but rendered in stark relief, the songs on Next Year’s Ghost burrow into the listeners’ lives and wander around our wounds a while.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

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