Sara Zacek
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Sara Zacek


Band Pop Acoustic


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The best kept secret in music


"There's no slowing Zacek down"

February 22, 2007

By Thomas Rozwadowski

Quick history: If Sara Zacek is as effervescent live as she is on the phone, fans of hard-working musicians needn't fear about the Green Bay music scene.

Patrons of local open jams are keenly aware of Zacek's ambition, with the 27-year-old Denmark native compiling an impressive resume highlighted by Voices of Eve, Simple, and now, the Sara Zacek Band, featuring Chris Hanaway on bass, Neal Gallagher on drums, and contributions from Riki Schulz on lead guitar. Zacek occasionally makes the coffeeshop rounds so she can play some "sweet, sappy, melodic, slow (expletive)," though it's the upbeat material with a full band that turns her into Green Bay's version of the Energizer Bunny.

"I don't like taking breaks. I think it stops all the energy flow, so I would rather not take any. But now people are telling me I have to," Zacek says with resignation.

The local dynamo started playing guitar in her late teens and hit the open mic circuit shortly after. A full band album is expected in the summer, and Zacek is in the process of scoring music for a yet-to-be-named ABC-TV talk show. She also found a new comfort zone by opening for country star Aaron Tippin at a recent gig in Chicago.

"I'm trying to broaden my horizons," she said. "But I'm also so content being in the moment. I feel a lot of singer/songwriters look towards where they want to go, and focus so strongly on the end result, that they lose track of the fun ... And I want to enjoy every step."

Sound/influence: "I've been asked so many times what type of music I play, and there's really such a variety," Zacek said. "Everything from Jewel to Sarah McLachlan, James Taylor to Ani DiFranco to the Murmurs … all my favorite artists combined into one."

Interestingly enough, Zacek's earliest music memories revolve around polka (her dad plays in a band) and artists like John Denver and Crystal Gayle. "I was sucked into what was played around the house," she said with a laugh.

Regardless of who it was, being exposed to music early on established her path without much thought.

"I've always had so much going on in my head. So many songs since I was little," Zacek said.

Set list sampler: A mix of covers and originals, which Zacek has found to be an interesting proposition. On one hand, Green Bay is notorious for its love of a familiar sing-along. But if you can sprinkle some new material into the set list, they're also willing to give full attention.

"They do like originals," Zacek said. "And even with the covers, I don't like playing the stuff they always hear. I want them to be like, 'Whatever happened to that band?' when I play some Toad the Wet Sprocket. Because 'Walk on the Ocean,' that's a great song. That's the stuff I like."

What to expect from the live show: Besides trying to sneak by without a break knowing full well she might lose her voice for two days? "A good time and a wide variety of music," Zacek said. "I'll do some country, some Indigo Girls … I don't stick with one style of music. I like to cover as many bases possible." - Press Gazette - Green Bay


Still working on that hot first release.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Sara grew up in a small town in Wisconsin and started writing music and playing guitar with seven chords she learned by watching other artists perform the type of music she had always longed to play and write. By 18, she began performing at local coffee shops and became the center of attention at area jam sessions.

Sara then aligned herself with Gaylynn Goodwill, another local icon, to form Voices of Eve, which became the biggest acoustic duo act in Wisconsin and was recognized by WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry). VOE said their goodbyes and Sara joined Simple, which allowed her the creative outlet to work on original projects with increased focus on her writing.

After a couple years of writing and playing with Simple, she took a break and began the search for a new sound within herself. This internal journey led her to teaming with Neal Gallagher (drums) and Chris Hanaway (bass) to form the Sara Zacek Band. The new sound and band has now given her the writing, performing, and “being� that she has longed for since the first time she picked up the guitar.