A remarkable amalgam of talent, the Zach Hillyard Band is comprised of a few of the most sought-after musicians from Boston and LA. Since its conception, the band has been touring music scenes from coast to coast - with regular stints in Boston, New York City, and Southern California - playing for audiences of all ages and musical interests. Performing songs with elements of Pop, Funk, and Soul, the Zach Hillyard Band offers a little something for everyone.
- The Zach Hillyard Band was named the "Best College Band in New England" after winning OurStage.com's College Clash Competition and a $5,000 Grand Prize!
- The song "Rain Like This" made Zach a winner at the 2007 John Lennon Songwriting Contest
- Zach won the 2007 Berklee College of Music Songwriting Contest
Zach Hillyard - Keys, Vocals
Daniel Thomas - Bass
Francesco Basile - Drums
Zach Hillyard Band (2008)*
Fall (Single) (2007)*
*Produced by Michael Woodrum - SoundMoves Audio - Burbank, CA
*Mastered by Nathan James - The Vault Mastering Studios - New York, NY
Zach Hillyard Band - Self-titled EP (Review)
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Complete with lush, soulful melodies, head-bobbing grooves and funked out breakdowns that tastefully...Complete with lush, soulful melodies, head-bobbing grooves and funked out breakdowns that tastefully merge rock with soul, the Zach Hillyard Band possesses a clear sense of self despite this being their first official release. This innate confidence is a result of the well-conceived creations of songwriter/keyboardist Zach Hillyard. Pervasive lyrical themes revolve around the archetypal search to find one’s way through life and love, and are consistent with that of a young man (Hillyard) who recently concluded his apprenticeship at Berklee College of Music and is now prowling out into the world. The songs often evoke feelings of melancholy and uncertainty, but impressively, never of lament.
“Dharma Bum” and “Back For More” stand out with their infectious grooves that merge into unforgettable choruses, elevating both the sonic and thematic/lyrical import of the verses. And while “Dharma Bum” is an inherently cliché song title given the notoriety of Jack Kerouac’s seminal work of the same name, the vocal performance of Hillyard and the fleshed-out orchestration from his band wins over a skeptical listener almost immediately.
Adding a refreshing deviation to the rock/soul formula that drives the album is the samba-inspired tune “All The Same.” While this is a carefully chosen track designed to offer listeners an expanded sonic context, it delivers in showcasing the exceptional talents of the musicians and offers a more exploratory sound that should be exploited by the band in the future.
Rounding out the EP are two piano ballads (“Rain Like This” and “Gone”) that prove a fitting conclusion to the album. Rich orchestration and astounding vocal performances from guest Isabella Canana combine with Hillyard’s wistful baritone to offer a highly personal and evocative
glimpse into the mind and heart of one of New England’s most talented songwriters. (self-released)
- Michael Oliveri
Boston's Zach Hillyard Band invades California
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http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/29/entertainment/music/11_43_228_29_07.txt Boston's Zach ...http://www.nctimes.com/articles/2007/08/29/entertainment/music/11_43_228_29_07.txt
Boston's Zach Hillyard Band invades California
By: ERIKA SOROCCO - For The Californian
Take one bass player from California, add in an Italian drummer, a Swedish guitar player, and a keyboardist/vocalist from Salt Lake City, Utah, stir vigorously, and voila, You have the Zach Hillyard Band
The quartet is made up of students from Boston's Berklee School of Music and have one thing on their mind ---- invading California and increasing their fan base to include not just east coasters, but those on the west coast, as well.
They'll continue that quest with a performance tonight at Cuppy's Coffee in Murrieta.
"We're always excited to get out there and play," Wesley Cole Switzer said. "The live shows are our best foot forward. That's what the music is about, getting to experience it, seeing how people react to it, and being able to share it with them. If we didn't have that, I doubt we'd be doing this. Plus, getting to meet people in places like California is always great. The spirit of live music is so vibrant here. We're just excited to make some new fans, and, hopefully, give a lot of listeners something that music has been missing for a long time."
Made up of Zach Hillyard, Wesley Cole Switzer, Francesco Basile, and Niklas Karlsson, the Zach Hillyard Band has made quite a splash on the east coast, garnering listeners from all over Boston and New York, so the inevitable thing is to hit a new target. But California isn't a new location for all. In fact, bassist Switzer is quite familiar with the sunshine state, considering he grew up just a stone's throw from Riverside, in sunny San Diego.
"I have my roots here in the SoCal area, being a San Diego native," Switzer said. "But mostly we'd love to conquer the coasts and work inland. We've done well in Boston and New York, so the next step was California. From there, we'll work inland and see what happens."
Popularity for The Zach Hillyard Band didn't happen overnight, however. In fact, starting a band wasn't even necessarily in the cards for this quartet. The band sort of fell together in a casual, yet unusual, fashion.
"Zach had been doing well with his songwriting in the Berklee community, while Francesco, Niklas and I were gigging mostly as hired guns and sessions musicians throughout Boston, as well as playing in a few bands together as a rhythm section," Switzer said. "Zach and I were the first to meet. Zach had a Berklee Songwriter Series gig booked at a great local Boston club called Matt Murphy's; so I helped Zach pull a band together for the gig, and, of course, Francesco and Niklas were my go-to guys after having already played a ton of gigs together. The gig went so well, we decided to keep the project going, and here we are."
But these aren't your typical musicians. Each member of The Zach Hillyard Band is professionally trained, and attends classes at Boston's Berklee School of Music, where, oddly enough, instead of planning their graduation, they spend their days rocking out, and striving to make connections that will help them succeed in their chosen fields.
"Nobody actually graduates from Berklee," Switzer said. "All of us are either there currently, or we are deferring (indefinitely) from classes. Berklee isn't a school you go to for a degree. You go there for the knowledge and the networking; and when the opportunity comes along for you, you take it. That's the way it is at Berklee; and we all pretty much fit that model."
Crediting such seasoned artists as Stevie Wonder, Maroon 5, the Meters, and more as influences, Switzer is convinced that the Zach Hillyard Band can't necessarily describe their music as being a part of any one genre, but rather, a mix of many.
"Well, it's hard," Switzer said. "Take for example an artist like Ben Harper, who was offered tour spots on both Lilith Fair and Ozzfest. If an artist or group speaks to everybody, then it's hard to define them without ruling as many people out, as you may rule in. We are in a similar boat. We have the soul, groove, and heart of artists like Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles; and we have the pop appeal of groups like Maroon 5 and Gavin DeGraw, all blended into jazz and blues. We try to say we are a groove-based, pop-soul band, but nobody knows what that means, so who knows."
Traveling through California in a trusty GMC van, which Switzer described as something that "could be better, could be much worse," the band is looking to receive a good response from listeners ---- both new and old.
With Hillyard's songwriting talents ---- which recently garnered him an honorable mention in BMI Foundation, Inc.'s 2007 John Lennon Scholarship Songwriting Competition, winning $1,000 for his original song "Rain Like This" ---- and the band's musical education, it doesn't look like winning over crowds will be a problem.
"Music fans is a broad term, as everybody is listening to music, but they are all listening for different things," Switzer said. "That's why, when we go on, we try to keep that in mind, and appeal to every aspect of the listener's attention. You can come for chops and solos, the technical aspects of being a musician that all the Berklee chum's critique, and that's all there. But we also want the experience of the music to be more emotional than that, and inspire something deeper than, 'Wow, those guys can play.' If we can inspire a person to jump and dance, and sing along with an upbeat tune; then be floored by an emotional experience of a song like 'Rain Like This,' then that would be a success."
Zach Hillyard Band
When: 9 p.m. tonight
Where: Cuppy's Coffee, 39209 Winchester Road, Murrieta
Set list is based around original material, with a few well-placed cover songs from time to time. Set lengths range from 45 minutes to 3 hours.
Back for More
On My Mind
All the Same
Rain Like This*
Covers (include, but not limited to):
Ain't No Sunshine
I Shot the Sheriff
Three More Days
Hold On! I'm Coming!
Hold On! I'm Coming!
Blind, Crippled, and Crazy
*The song "Rain Like This" made Zach a winner at the 2007 John Lennon Songwriting Contest*
There are no upcoming dates at this time.