MIKE ZITO – Resurrection (2021)
In 23 years as a recording artist MIKE ZITO established himself as a vibrant force on the contemporary rock/blues circuit. He made a successful career quantum leap with the all star Royal Southern Brotherhood, before returning to his solo career to achieve chart success with his last couple of pre-lockdown albums.
Now Zito aims high with the thematically titled new album ‘Resurrection’. It’s a record that plays to his strengths of impassioned vocals, confident guitar work and an ability to slip into cross-genre styles from rocking blues to classic rock.
‘Resurrection’ isn’t so much the rebirth that Mike Zito suggest, but rather a restatement of his songwriting and playing credentials, all framed by a big production that places the emphasis on an imposing wall of sound.
David Z’s big production is readily apparent on the opening JJ Cale cover ‘I’ll Make Love To You’, on which Zito’s voice sound slightly doctored to fit an enveloping layered sound. A delicious blend of Zach Zito on acoustic and dad Mike on electric slide guitar lines is finally resolved by Eric Demmer’s soaring sax solo in the last minute of the song.
It’s the kind of uplifting mid-tempo groove that he returns to on his own ‘You Don’t Have Me’, by which time the big wall of sound has receded enough to highlight the bright sonic quality of a relationship song.
There’s more significant contrast on the ’80s sounding production of ‘Presence Of The Lord,’ on which the crunching drums and buzz tooth guitars support Zito’s strong vocal. It teeters on the brink of bombast, but is counterweighted by Mike stellar vocal performance which brings welcome feel.
The tittle track provides the kind of theme Zito has been looking for. He pours everything he has into a soulful blues ballad full of raw gut emotion – both on vocals and guitar – bolstered by the kind of lyrical and emotional integrity that allows him to make a self-affirmatory statement for our times.
Too often rock and blues artists eschew the real problems and challenges of our time. This title track redresses the balance and stands like a beacon of hope readily applied to the personal as well as social landscape.
Ultimately, ‘Resurrection’ works so well because everything is perfectly balanced, from the tracks themselves to the way the album grows in intensity and flows via the sequencing.
Zito’s ‘Resurrection’ is a fine restatement of the best elements of rocking blues with a soulful heart.
01 – I’ll Make Love to You
02 – Don’t Bring Me Down
03 – Dreaming of You
04 – In My Blood
05 – Presence of the Lord
06 – When It Rains
07 – You Don’t Have Me
08 – Damned If I Do
09 – Running Man
10 – Evil
11 – Resurrection