Michael Zuko
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Michael Zuko

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"Miles From A Kiss - Michael Zuko"


The mark of many a good artists
work is when it speaks to you and you connect with it because you've 'been there done that' and you can recognise your own life reflected in the words …"trying to find my space…"

'Miles From A Kiss' does just that. It reveals a tale of opposites. There's colour and shade, happiness and remorse, brash confidence and tangible insecurity, feistiness and tenderness, hope and happiness, black and white and many shades of grey in between.

Michael Zuko would sit easily alongside many of his contemporaries both in the USA and the UK. Think David Gray, Damien Rice, James Blunt of the 'now' and throw in a heady mix of his influences, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, Donovan, Cat Stevens, with a hefty dollop of Punk /Surf/ Soul thrown in from his formative years the 'then' for good measure and you have a very interesting hybrid indeed.

Michael has an uncanny knack of being able to express his thoughts easily, writing intelligent, thought provoking lyrics that you know come from his heart and soul.

Life experiences give more depth and breadth to any artist's ability to do this and age often tempers past vitriolic feelings giving an insightful ability to 'tell a tale like it is' without it being a 'kiss and tell'. There are more than enough purveyors of that kind of reality around, so it is both admirable and refreshing for someone to steer clear of 'dishing the dirt' verbally, while still making a point.

There are obvious references to past musical influences throughout the album, but Mr Zuko's own unique and eclectic style hits the spot more often than not and past styles are re-presented in his own way. Postmodernism at work in a big way!

While Michael is never so introspective as to bore the pants of you, his inner emotions are laid bare and express a lot of soul searching about lost or abandoned loves and lifestyles, in his words 'heartbreak and healing', hopes for the present and the future, with many issues striking a chord if you've been through your very own emotional treadmill.

While many of 'the ladies' will love many of the slow dreamy ballads, 'the lads' aren't left out either with some mighty fine guitar playing and drums driving the rhythms along on others. Mind you many of 'the ladies' will love them too, and come to think of it, many of 'the lads' will enjoy the quieter moments as well!

You can tell great thought has gone into the arrangement of the track listings as a real flow and energy runs throughout the CD with the tracks running seamlessly from one to the next. The songs all have something to say and there are some real highlights.

I've already listened to demos of the tracks over the course of the year and the finished product makes for compulsive listening. 'Miles From A Kiss' opens with the very catchy 'Crooked Smile' a real power pop of a song.

The one that 'got me' and screams hit song is the very beautiful 'Walk With Me Angie', very heady, almost trance like and dreamy, with a gorgeous vocal by Michael and the guitars playing an affectionate 'nod' to Duane Eddy's 'Sleepwalk'. A perfect 'old school' style three minute pop song. Radio stations take note.

'Kathryn's Words' has the very soulful piano playing of Nicola Stemmer and this gorgeous song takes you away to another place in time. Nicola's plaintive and emotive expression and Michael's softer tones give the song a very timeless almost haunting feel.

I love the lead guitar of Jeff Phillips on 'On The El' and was very happy to see two real golden nuggets; 'One Heart Beating' and the fabulous, flamenco / Latin influenced 'Don't Try', both I've featured as my profile songs and no doubt will again.

The punk influences of New York City's heady days of CBGB's in the 70's are brought back to life on 'Furious', with Bunny Le Desma of New York's first all girl punk band Cheap Perfume joining in on guitar and vocals adding a real high energy feel to the track.

The one I hadn't heard before made me smile more than most, with a sweet sounding mandolin playing throughout and has inspired me with a new ambition of hearing that one on the drive down the Seven Mile Bridge to the Florida Keys, to the 'Mile Marker'…a perfect driving song. Memo: must get back to Florida.

The last track 'Ground' takes you straight back to memories of the British invasion in the 60's. Think the perfect pop tunes of The Beatles, The Byrds, Dusty Springfield but given a very contemporary twist and feel. Something tells me the impact of this debut CD means Michael Zuko's feet won't be touching the 'Ground' for much longer with this sure fire hit.


Gaynor Andrews
Birmingham, U.K.
Dec 2007


Michael Zuko's MySpace will tell you so much more and where to get this brilliant CD. Go on, you know you want to.

Gx

- Gaynor Andrews


Discography

"miles from a kiss", nine lives records, jersey city, nj

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Bio

"Mike gave a catchy and colorful performance that delighted our live and TV audiences..."......John Irving, Cafe Improv, 5/27/06 (Princeton cable show).................."Michael Zuko is one of the top songwriters in New Jersey..."...Dan Drake, NJ club owner/promoter/singer-songwriter, 11/22/06............."The guitar work and Michael's vocals really stand out...he possesses a fine song writing talent, very natural and an instinctive way of expressing emotion and I'm really looking forward to his first solo CD 'Miles From A Kiss' being recorded now and due out in December."...Gaynor Andrews, writer, United Kingdom, 7/2007.......... "I have just listened to "miles from a kiss" - it is brilliant!" - Nacho Boogie, DJ, Valencia, Spain, 2/2008........Michael Zuko is a Brooklyn-born singer / songwriter whose tunes have popped up everywhere from FM radio, here and abroad, to the Discovery Channel. He has played regularly in the NYC and NJ area - solo, as a duo with Ray Powers, and as lead singer of The Voltaires, a power-pop group based in New Jersey. Michael's new solo CD, " MILES FROM A KISS", was released Dec 14 2007, is available at all live shows, and at CD Baby. www.myspace.com/michaelzuko