Zach Deputy, the one-man-band phenom from Savannah, GA released his 4th album, Wash It In The Water, Friday, September 9.
Deputy has been making a huge name for himself in the southeastern US, particularly on the festival circuit and anywhere he can play, really, evidenced in his 1000+ shows in the last four years alone. For Wash It In The Water, Zach self-produced the record in spontaneous sessions that took place in studios, homes and even his own garage. The 11-track album represents a sunny and soulful new sound that cleverly fuses hip-hop, funk, folk and pop with soca and calypso rhythms.
Part of Deputy’s infectiousness comes from his widespread and diverse roots: having Puerto Rican, Irish, African, British, French, and Cherokee heritage opens him up to a multitude of sounds around the world. In his own words, he's an "island-infused drum ‘n bass Gospel-soul-ninja" rich in deep, soulful funk.
From the introductory reggae yelp and unmistakable island jumping vibe of the first track, “Wash It In The Water,” your head will want to bob. Opening like he’s live at a party sets the scene for his unique bluegrass adaptation of upbeat reggae as he encourages the listener to abandon their worry and join him.
“Put It In The Boogie” feels like George Clinton and Don Carlos gave birth to a bass-thumping drum machine. This track is a monster good time and a perfect time to remind yourself that Deputy is a genuine one-man-band, a la Keller Williams, utilizing live loops and incorporating unique effects as well as (literally) shredding away the boundaries and limitations of conventional genres.
The third track on the disk is also the lead single, "Chevrolet". It's infectious California sunshine music to the core, with a super clean and upbeat guitar strumming pattern reminiscent of early 90s alt rock. But he builds the song up into so much more, very quickly. Absolutely perfect for beach lounging and listening to the waves as much as it is to dance along with, especially when you let the bobbing rhythm in.
“Scrambled Eggs” opens like a Jon Lajoie skit. Protruding and deep bass underscores high pitched acoustic licks and an “all around” freestyle flow, with bits of falsetto just to keep it weird. But Deputy doesn’t keep revisiting the same tired old peaks, he spends a lot of times exploring the valleys and focusing on specific nuances that act as unorthodox bridges between music and cultures.
Involving a bit of sultry, Latin R&B spice in a love song to “The Music”, Deputy drives the song forward with 8 bit synth bass tones and his they pick up on the same vibe Jimmie's Chicken Shack touched on in 1999 with "Let's Get Flat".
From “Edna" on, the shortest song on the disc at 3:03, each subsequent track increases in length, with the final track nearly reaching six minutes. For “Edna”, Deputy softened up his delivery and raised his key, stepping away from the urban island (re: front stoop chillin’) vibe and back to some mirage-y coastal scenery in your backyard.
By the seventh track, “You Got It All” listeners will be hit with a wild card curve ball and the grand piano in an empty room sound. This track has high potential to be a strong second single; that it is the second shortest song on the album is surprising for how sloth the tempo is. The lyrics are poignant and on point, resonating with an ultimately self-satisfying message and ending in an up-tempo feel.
Despite the shift from slow to upbeat, “Loving You” starts out and stays the softest track on the album. Deputy really showcases the versatility in his voice, moving away from spoken-word story telling vocalization and focusing on singing his heart out. Even though this last pair of songs appears simpler, softer and quieter, they are packed with no less energy.
“Jump In The Water” opens with a barbershop quartet layer of harmony dedicating the song to Deputy’s daughter. The last two songs on the disk, “Some Days Are Harder” and the closer “It’s All Right” total almost ten minutes exactly and are essentially a call/response to one another. The tracks even segue without a break, moving seamlessly from the minor keyed, melancholy fingerpicking of “Some Days” into the positive and loose mantra of “Alright”.
Any way you slice it, Wash It In The Water is meant to be enjoyed to the fullest and even the slowest and shortest songs are chock full of variety and positivity. Put it on in your backyard, front porch, car, beach party and bonfires; really, anywhere that you want to have a good time, Zach Deputy wants to help.