If you are a regular for music at 5th Avenue Cup & Saucer in Yorkton, and you should be if you like alternative folk, you will no doubt recall Zachary Aasman who played at the local coffeehouse back on Oct. 6.
Aasman is a full-fledged folkie. He doesn’t add any additional caveats to his style. He tells stories with his music, in the fine tradition of troubadours going back to Medieval times.
When it comes to folk singers the first measuring stick is how well they write lyrics. The music must at least have a story to it, and often there is a message included in the song too. A folk lyricist must be able to look at the world around him and be inspired by it. The music needs a ring of truth to it.
Aasman does that well.
As the musician said himself, “the writing process is a funny thing. I believe for everyone there is a different process. In my case there is none. Most of my songs just seem to come out of nowhere, or if they do come from somewhere it’s a sight on the road, a line in a song, or a theme in a book.
“I constantly write songs in my head and then if I remember them down the road I figure they are good enough to put out there.”
Songs such as Righteous Man, Sam Hill, Gold Miner and Tombstone Grave are fine story songs. Tombstone Grave is clearly the best song on the disk.
Once a folk musician has the songs on paper, he has to be able to get them across to the listener. That means he has to focus on his vocals. The instrumentation takes a back seat.
Aasman keeps his voice at the forefront on the disk. Live, he was wise enough to keep the guitar quiet enough that his voice was able to reach the listeners in the intimate setting of the coffeehouse.
Check out this fine effort at zacharyaasman.bandcamp.com
— CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 27, 2010 - Yorkton, SK. Canada