It’s been a long and arduous wait for many classic country fans sitting on the edge of their seats for the second record from country songsmith and crooner Zephaniah OHora. But arrive it will on August 28th, with a new song “All American Singer” available now (listen below). Being a somewhat strange bird as a country singer from Brooklyn, NY, he blew many away with his debut This Highway from 2017, and looks to do it again with the new 12-song set.
“People think you have to be from Texas or Nashville to play this music,” says Zephaniah OHora. “But that’s not the way I see it. Country’s all about being true to yourself and telling honest, authentic stories. You can do that anywhere.”
Recorded at The Bunker in Brooklyn, NY and produced by the late Neal Casal in April of 2019, Casal’s passing a few months later was one of the reasons for the delay in the release. “My hope is that this recording shines a light on the unique gift Neal had,” says OHora. “Whether he was on stage in front of thousands or in a small recording studio with friends, Neal connected with people through music in a profound and lasting way. His legacy serves as a reminder of just how precious a commodity music is for humankind. I’m thankful I got to experience the growth that comes with working with someone who embodied that.”
Drawing comparisons to country music’s Countrypolitan era in style, and Merle Haggard’s voice and writing, both come into play in the album’s debut song, which reminds you somewhat of Merle’s “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” but with a much more balanced and modern tone with an effort to diffuse as opposed to incite.
“I’ve always seen music as a tool for uniting people,” says OHora. “A good song can bring people together, no matter what ideology they’ve adopted. It can serve as a source of solace or a tool for self-reflection. It can remind us what we all share in common … I wanted to write songs that weren’t all doom and gloom this time around. I wasn’t in a relationship when I was writing this record, but I was looking at the couples in my life and thinking a lot about the kind of person I hoped to meet.”
Joining Zephaniah in the studio once again is steel guitar player Jon Graboff who brought so much magic to his first record, as well as John Shannon on guitar, the aformentioned Neal Casal, as well as notable guest players Courtney Jaye singing backup, Dori Freeman also singing on a couple of songs, and Mickey Raphael on harmonica.
Listening To The Music in now available for pre-order on BandCamp where it will be available early.
1. Heaven’s On The Way
2. Black & Blue
3. It’s Not So Easy Today
4. When I’ve No More Tears To Cry
5. All American Singer
6. Listening To The Music
7. Living Too Long
8. We Planned To Have It All
9. Riding That Train
11. You Make It Easy To Love Again
12. Time Won’t Take It’s Time