Zach Buie
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Zach Buie

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2003

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Established on Jan, 2003
Solo Classical Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The Little Red Heart of Soul Track Mind"

It’s an odd little spot, really, sitting between the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and Highway 90 as it runs through Alpine, Texas. Not much bigger than a convenience store parking lot, the location is flat and sometimes dusty when summer hovers relentlessly over the Davis Mountains. The great freight trains rumbling through toward California often rattle the bones of people arriving to hear a night of music at a venue known as Railroad Blues.

When Soul Track Mind performs, the wooden dance floor gives off its own sweet vibration. While the notion of popularity for soul music in remote reaches of the Texas Trans-Pecos might seem improbable, the appearance of Soul Track Mind in the mountain town of Alpine is an event of some note. The cowboys and accountants, secretaries, cooks, mechanics, college students, and a few housewives are jumping shoulder-to-shoulder and toe-to-toe listening to the notes of seven white musicians who play well outside of ethnic expectations.

“I started this less than five years ago with an ad on Craigslist,” said front man Donovan Keith. “And now I think we’re the perfect example of the old school blue collar band where we work for everything we get, fight for respect everywhere we go, slowly work our way up from small clubs to bigger clubs, and earn every fan with the intensity of our live performance.”

The coming together of a seven-piece soul band on an Internet ad site is not unremarkable but there is a certain level of amazement when their talent is gathered on stage. Soul Track Mind’s performances are not just stylish trumpet or sax solos and blurry guitar riffs; they are a cultural exclamation point about American music. Only one band member has any African-American lineage but they were all drawn to the sounds of rhythm and blues with a touch of Motown and a bit of basic guidance from classic soul. They come out of a gritty melting pot that includes seasonings from Booker T and the MGs, Otis Redding, Billy Preston, the later works of Ray Charles, and more contemporary influences like the Black Keys and John Legend.

“But we don’t emulate,” said trumpet player Zach Buie. “We innovate. We love playing up the fact that we are one of very few bands making the effort to have a horn section, which really splits up our money. Lots of soul bands just fire their horn sections. Our music is original.”

Those other soul stylists also do not over expend too much creativity on plaintive ballads and keyboards, which Soul Track Mind indulges in on their just released album. Keyboardist Sam Powell’s touch is a perfect emotional bed for Keith’s mournful voice on the cut “Remember Me.” In fact, almost every track on the band’s new album seems ideally arranged and mixed in a style that, after one listen, imprints the song on the memory in a way that it is impossible to imagine any other production of the music and lyrics.

Ballads are not what get the house bumpin’, however, and the night STM played Railroad Blues the necks were probably too sweaty from swinging to be nuzzled during the slow dances. Donovan Keith’s style as a singer and dance performer is under the deep and abiding influence of Sam Cooke. Keith’s voice has the approximate range of Cooke’s and also suggests sufficient time in down and out clubs to have some similarities in character and tonality. The closest association, however, is the unconstrained movement that travels through him from his band’s music. There are no joints in his skeletal frame that are not committed to the song, and the crowd gets it on the dance floor.

There is one point of “emulation,” however. Cooke was the first black musician of the modern era to closely tend to the business side of his art. All seven of the artists in Soul Track Mind understand they are in an industry that is still being transformed by the Internet and digital music. They build their lives and income around touring and playing gigs anywhere they can gather an audience. CDs, vinyl, and even digital downloads are loss leaders. Money comes from being onstage and filling the house. The show is the product, not the album. The album promotes the band’s live appearances in the same fashion an author’s book positions him as an expert speaker earning fees to give talks to organizations.

“We understand we are operating within a modern business frame,” said guitarist Jonathon Zemek. “You aren’t getting anywhere with album sales. Even if we sold a million, we’d still make more than a year’s worth of living for each of us by traveling the country and doing shows. Instead of using the old school model of having a record label, everything is at our fingers now with technology. We are doing our best to predict a future sustainable model.”

They have been sustaining themselves from the time Keith initially arrived in Austin and began searching for musicians to create a band. There might have also been a touch of destiny in Keith’s discovery online of the great Earl Thomas of San Francisco. Thomas possesses the sound of a well-traveled voice and leads a large diverse band that blends musical roots from genres that include African pop to blues and American folk ballads. (Not many singers can get away with mentioning the Book of Revelation’s “Seven Seals” in a lyric.) Donovan Keith was entranced by what he heard of Thomas online and sent the Californian a message that included a few vocal tracks. Keith just wanted to know if he had talent.

“I didn’t hear anything for six months,” he said. “But then I got a message back telling me that I did have talent but I needed to work on it. He told me I needed to move to a place where I could perform and play and get better. He really guided me every step of the way. I just saved up money and moved to Austin.”

The song that had convinced the exquisitely talented Earl Thomas that Donovan Keith had promise was a karaoke track called “Little Red Heart,” which appeared on the band’s first album in 2010, “Ghost of Soul.” Keith’s initial recorded performance on the song cannot be equally compared with Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears” but the commonalities of what they accomplish with their vocals are undeniable. Young bands can lose lyrics in their music or they can rely too greatly on vocal talent but Soul Track Mind knows when to let the horns blow, the moment to free up Michael Mancuso’s bass line to parry with Doug Leveton’s percussions, and be led off by Buie’s trumpet, George’s sax, and Zemek’s guitar.

Maybe the most encouraging characteristic of the early accomplishments of the band is that they do not come from a group of middle class young people that act entitled. When Keith arrived in Austin and assembled Soul Track Mind, they were happy to get a residence gig on the city’s mostly black east side at a joint called T.C.’s Lounge. A style was developed in front of an audience that included University of Texas students, hippies and hipsters, older black neighborhood residents, and a few crackheads in off of the street. Ceilings swayed low toward the sinking dance floor and there was no ventilation to carry away the smell of untended and ancient rest rooms. There was, however, a big pot of whatever Baby Girl was cooking and patrons brought in their own bottles. Baby Girl, a petite black lady around 40, ran the door, cooked red beans and rice, and held down the house while Soul Track Mind found its sound.

“The locals were impressed by our ability to play soul music,” Keith said. “And they treated us so great. We would not be anywhere without those crucial development years. I thought if, I of all people, this red headed white kid, could impress these older black folks with their own music then maybe we have something here. Because they’re the kind of folks that will let you know if you’re not doing it right.”

They were doing it right. And still are. Even more encouraging, culturally, is that a band of white suburban kids playing and singing soul and R&B music is no longer that much of an anomaly. These assimilations do not turn heads the way they did when African American Charlie Pride built a career in country and western music, (though it’s still likely we might be slightly distracted hearing Bobby Blue Bland sing a John Denver tune.) But with an average age of only 26, Soul Track Mind has both a musical maturity and a creative process that delivers new songs through a work ethic that involves every member of the band. Ideas are assembled into songs. A hook pops into someone’s head. Two of them start jamming around the words. The bass player might add his line. A melody is grabbed out of the air. A recorder is hooked up for more vocals. They work and rework. Throw it out if it does not measure up to standards.

“Some of our songs happen fast,” said Buie. “And others take months and months and are painfully slow. We all have a say and majority rules. Our feelings don’t get hurt like they used to. We just can’t take anything personally. We’ve got to create music and we want it to be great, entertaining music that moves people to dance.”

Which is what happens. Over and over and over. Everywhere Soul Track Mind performs. Their new album has a mix of soulful and slow pieces that tear at the heart and bang ups of horns and strings that will not allow the listener to just observe and not dance. The band is set for a long summer tour of the U.S. and they will become a favorite in every town where they stop, even when they are playing by the railroad tracks out in the lonely stretches of the Chihuahuan Desert in Alpine, Texas.

And their music will move your little red heart. - Huffington Post

"Soul Track Mind"

Local group Soul Track Mind have no qualms about bringing the funk. From their melodic, powerful horn section to frontman Donovan Keith’s pleasing falsetto reminiscent of soul crooner Al Green’s, Soul Track Mind is all about one thing: being the life of the party. The seven-piece funk-rock ensemble will be performing tonight at the Continental Club.

The brainchild of Keith, Soul Track Mind came together when the vocalist moved to Austin in January of 2008.

“I wanted to put together a band with a classic soul sound,” Keith said. “I already had a few original songs written to start with that were rooted in soul music from the ’60s. Eventually, we blended our different influences together and created a more modern edge to our sound.”

Shortly after meeting guitarist Jonathon Zemek, Keith took to Craigslist to assemble Soul Track Mind’s current lineup: Michael Mancuso (bass), Sammy P (keys), Zach Buie (trumpet), Douglas Leveton (drums) and Benjamin George (saxophone).

With the band intact, Soul Track Mind released their first full-length debut, Ghost of Soul, back in August of 2010. The album received praise from Austin 360 and Texas Music Magazine for its nostalgic ’60s and ’70s R&B sound. For example, “I Get My Groove From You,” evokes Motown pop sound with its luscious melodies, while “Little Red Heart” is reminiscent of lonely soulman Smokey Robinson.

The group truly struts their stuff live — Keith becomes a dancing machine, moving his hips and snapping his fingers to Leveton’s rocking drums. George and Buie toot their horns with punchy bravado, bobbing their heads with such devotion you can’t help but do the same. It’s easy to get overcome by their upbeat, dance-friendly energy, clapping, hollering and knee-slapping until the very end of their set.

“We continue to get better and better at capturing our ‘live’ sound,” said Leveton. During this year’s South By Southwest, the group had a memorable performance at the “Austin High” film screening party.

“This was our first show where we had a video projector, smoke, lights and lasers,” Leveton said. “We did 100 minutes straight, before encoring with ‘Shout,’ and everybody went wild.”

The group’s SXSW festivities were kept at a minimum, however — the band was busy recording new material at the Converse Rubber Tracks pop-up recording studio. Based out of Brooklyn, the recording studio offered Soul Track Mind and four other Texas-based bands the opportunity to record material, free of charge, allowing the artists retaining all rights to their work.

“We decided to bring a Converse Rubber Tracks pop-up recording studio here to Austin because there’s no place that celebrates music and the diversity of music like Austin,” said Converse chief marketing officer Geoff Cottrill. “We just wanted to give something back to Texas and help out those bands that do not have the access to get into a good recording studio.”

The recording session was an enjoyable experience for Soul Track Mind. Using the studio’s equipment, the group was able to record new songs, tracking everything live to capture a more organic sound.

“It’s not often that a company comes along and provides an all-expenses paid, no-strings attached studio session,” Leveton said. “All in all, it was a great opportunity for us.”

Having taken some time to record new material, Soul Track Mind is preparing to tour around the country. The band will be performing their first major festival debut at this year’s Wakarusa Music Festival, at Ozark, Arkansas’ Mulberry Mountain. They’ll be playing alongside such popular artists as Girl Talk and Matisyahu.

Now the group is competing to play an even larger stage at the music festival: Through the use of a Facebook voting system, the band hopes to get bumped up to a bigger stage.

However, they are still excited to see other bands performing. “I know I’d personally like to see Fitz and the Tantrums, G. Love & Special Sauce, and our fellow Austinite, Gary Clark Jr.,” Keith said.

Soul Track Mind is taking their funk-filled journey one day at a time. The band will record new songs in some of the towns they stop in, and will be giving energized, enthralling performance.

“We look forward to seeing our old fans again as we travel, as well as saving many new souls,” Keith said. - The Daily Texan

"Soul Track Mind"

Sharon Jones' new millennial emergence put sweet soul music back into the mainstream. Not only did the Brooklyn dynamo's indie rock favor throw the spotlight back on forgotten elders Bettye LaVette, Charles Bradley, and Lee Fields, it sparked seminal new acts including Jones' Dap-Kings and Mayer Hawthorne. Welcome Soul Track Mind to the latter stable. Like fellow locals Hard Proof and Latasha Lee & the Blackties, STM works its homegrown circuit like James Brown – tirelessly. Its third LP dishes a hot, horn-fed, electric guitar-etched platter of hard modern R&B. Unbreakable continually urges groovers to "Turn It Up," and you will – repeatedly. From the explosive garage soul of opener "Ode to Youth," which makes the Black Keys sound white, to the acoustic thump of the closing title cut, the album's propulsive 31 minutes arrive without an audible seam or crack in the sonic veneer. Its musical arc folds in 2010 debut Ghost of Soul and last April's self-titled sophomore disc, and here nets fireworks only. Strutting "Fight for Love," loping "Silhouette," and piano skitter "Remember Me" sound the arrival of Soul Track Mind not only locally, but with any luck and lots of hard touring, on a national scale. - Austin Chronicle

"Funk Filled Evening with Soul Track Mind"

During a short break before the last set, I toyed with the idea of heading home a little early. But as the polyester-clad, horn-toting guys from Soul Track Mind came onto the stage, there was no way I could miss seeing what these guys had to offer.

First of all, their energy is unlike any other Austin band I’ve ever witnessed. In a cream colored vest and light blue polyester shirt, Donovan Keith, the lead singer, backs up his 1970s look with a sound that simultaneously honors influences like Bobby Womack, while coming across as inventive and uncontrived. Tambourine in hand, Donovan led the band through a set full of soul, blues, funk, and R&B, all the while dancing with complete abandon.

With a guitarist, saxophonist, trumpeter, drummer, and bassist (who played every single set that evening), Soul Track Mind puts out a rich sound that goes well beyond what many bands produce with a novelty horn section. Every single one of these guys is a legitimately talented musician. The funky flair is just an added bonus.

Some of my favorite songs of the set included “Long Shot Lady,” “Rebound Man,” a retro rendition of “Stand By Me,” and a super-fly cover of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”

Check out Soul Track Mind’s ’60s and ’70s sounds here, and be sure to pick up their self-titled album on vinyl. You can even get a preview of their upcoming album planned for September release.

Happy anniversary, Soul Track Mind. I’m looking forward to more. - The Austinot

"Live music the perfect gift for dad"

Soul Track Mind hails from Austin. San Antonio embraced the funky soul/R&B outfit immediately. So it's only fitting that Soul Track Mind will celebrate its fifth anniversary, and the release of its new “Soul Track Mind” CD, with a Friday gig at Sam's Burger Joint. Big Britches will open.

Fronted by singer Donavan Keith, Soul Track Mind includes Jonathon Zemek (guitar), Michael Mancuso (bass), Doug Leveton (drums), Sam Powell (keyboards), Zach Buie (trumpet) and Ben George (saxophone).

The nine-cut “Soul Track Mind” CD, recorded last year in New Orleans and Austin, is soulful indeed. Songs such as “Take You Home,” “Got My Song” and “Long Shot Lady,” horn-powered and driven by Keith's voice — a voice that can plead and proclaim in equal measure — are the kind that cause bootys to shake and hearts to quake.

Soul Track Mind is racking up a strong fan base in Louisiana and California. San Antonians were quick to jump on the STM bandwagon. It's likely the band will thank you profusely, and soulfully, at Sam's on Friday. - San Antonio Express News

"AMF - Artist of the Month"

Soul Track Mind has an original sound that blends soul, funk, and rock with elements of R&B, blues, and jazz. Lead singer Donovan Keith moved from South Bend, Indiana to Austin, Texas in 2008, intent on starting a musical act rooted in the sounds he grew up with on oldies radio. He assembled the band’s initial lineup and began a now-legendary weekly residency at East Austin juke joint TC’s Lounge before branching out to venues throughout Central Texas. Over time, the seven-piece band developed the one-of-a-kind, dance-infused stage show loved by fans across the country.

soul-track-mind-roost-lr2The band released their debut album, Ghost of Soul, in 2010, and have since toured close to 20 states including extensive travel throughout the Southeast, Southwest, Midwest, and West Coast. Their self-titled second album was recorded in 2012 in Austin and New Orleans and released in April 2013. Texas Music Magazine featured the group on the cover of the summer 2013 issue.

STM’s third album, Unbreakable, is set for release September 16, 2014. This LP is an evolution and expansion of their sound far beyond what the band has done in the past. Having grown significantly as musicians and songwriters, and now working with producer C.J. Eiriksson and recording at Austin Signal Studio, with Unbreakable STM demonstrates more emphatically than ever what they’re truly capable of. - Austin Music Foundation




Electroacoustic composition by Ashkan Fakhrtabatabaie, Recorded at University of Utah for 5-channel fixed media in November 2016, Accepted to 2017 New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival at the Abron Art Center


Soul Track Mind, R&B/Soul, recorded at Austin Signal Studio, Produced by CJ Eiriksson, Independent release September 16, 2014, available on most major streaming platforms

Hold the River Back

Doug Groshart, Folk Singer/Songwriter, recorded at Austin Signal Studio, Produced by Emile Millar, Released by MPG Records on August 9, 2014, available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby

 Soul Track Mind

Self-titled, R&B/Soul, recorded at Piety Street Studio (New Orleans), East Austin Recording Studio, and Cacophony Studio (Austin); Independent release April 30, 2013, available on most streaming platforms

 Ghost of Soul

 Soul Track Mind, R&B/Soul, recorded at Wire Recording Studio, Produced by Matt  Smith, Independent release August 17, 2010

 Hedda Layne

Self-titled, Electronic/Lounge, released by Dima Records on January 1, 2009, available on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby


Noise Revival Orchestra, Orchestral/Rock, Independent release in Austin, TX, 2009

Until the Autumn

The Story of, Indie Rock, Independent release in Austin, TX, February 2008

The Noise Revival Orchestra Experience EP

Noise Revival Orchestra, Orchestral/Rock, Independent release in Austin, TX, 2007

World’s Affair

The Story of, Indie Rock, Independent release in Austin, TX, 2007

 Circus Maximus & Gazebo Dances

The University of Texas Wind Ensemble, Classical/Band, recorded in 2006 at Bass Concert Hall (Austin, TX), released by Naxos American Classics on January 27, 2009

 The Scarecrow

The University of Texas Butler Opera Center, Classical/Opera, recorded in McCullough Theatre in February and March of 2006, released by Longhorn Music on January 26, 2010



Zach Buie works as a trumpet performer and educator in Salt Lake City, where he is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at The University of Utah. Originally from Texas, Zach has performed extensively throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, and Central America. He can be heard on numerous recordings in classical, jazz, rock, and funk styles. He performs with the Utah Symphony and freelances throughout the region with various big bands and chamber music ensembles. Zach is a former member of the Round Rock and Waco Symphonies. He has also performed with orchestras in Austin, Brazos Valley, San Antonio, San Salvador, and Longview, as well as The Dallas Winds, Imperial Brass, Salt Lake Choral Artists, Utah Metropolitan Ballet, and Utah Wind Symphony. From 2010 to 2014, Zach toured nationally with Soul Track Mind, garnering praise from the New York Times as leaders in the resurgence of soul music.

As an educator, Zach served as a public school band director in Texas and maintains a large private teaching studio. In addition to his duties as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Utah, he is the Adjunct Instructor of Brass and Director of the Symphonic Band and Jazz Ensemble at Western Wyoming College. Zach holds a Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Music in trumpet performance from Baylor University. 

Band Members