NORTHBROOK, IL — While Steven Zane can play covers ranging from artists like the Beatles to Louis Armstrong and everything in between, the local singer-songwriter is also adept at creating his own original music. The resident and professional Northbrook artist, who has been performing on the North Shore and in Chicago for 30 years, recently released his fourth studio album, “American Boy.”
“I think ‘American Boy’ is, to date, my best album. It’s the most bluesy, but it also has rock, folk and bluegrass songs in it,” Zane, aka “The Acoustic Jukebox,” told patch. “It has a very ‘Americana’ feel to it.”
Just take a look at the concert list on his musician website, and you’ll see how busy Zane is these days. Born in South Chicago into a musical family, he has now resided in Northbrook for several years and is a veteran of the local music scene.
“There are so many wonderful, talented artists on the North Shore. So many people I’ve worked with over the years, or even people I’ve never worked with,” Zane said. “[There are] lots of great venues as well, although many have closed over the years.”
Zane said the songwriting for “American Boy” was pretty natural. The album was recorded at Northbrook’s Dr. Caw’s Recording Studio at 2219 Farnsworth Lane. Styx, Dave Mason and Sugar Blue are just a few of the biggest names who have recorded albums at the studio, which was established in 1978.
Craig Williams served as the recording engineer for the album, someone Zane describes as a “true professional” with an “incredible ear”, which makes the recording process easier.
“The songs were all written over the past few years, and they actually come pretty naturally to me,” Zane said of creating “American Boy.” “It seems like the less effort I put into writing a song, the better. They sort of write themselves, actually.”
Check out some select tracks and buy Steven Zane’s “American Boy” here.
Zane said the songs on the album progressed over time, so when the recording process took place, he was able to add more arrangements and bring in other people to play or sing along to it with him. .
“Rarely does a song sound the same from the time I first write it to the time I finish recording it,” Zane said.
According to his biographyZane learned to play guitar and wrote his first song when he was 16. He has since released four full length albums of all original music, starting with 2006’s “I Close My Eyes” followed by “Second Coming.” in 2010. He then released “Take Me Home” in 2017, ahead of the final album earlier this year.
Amazingly, Zane said he could play over 1,000 covers. Some of the other artists he plays often include the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Muddy Waters, Ray Charles, Elton John, Simon and Garfunkel, Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra, and everything in between.
Whether solo acoustic or with accompaniment, Zane likes to incorporate a vocal harmonizer and looper to create a unique sound.
Zane performs publicly at bars, restaurants, cafes, festivals, while also specializing in private parties, birthdays, weddings, bar mitzvahs, memorials, backyard BBQs, corporate events , country clubs, charity events, lunches, dinners, senior centers and senior events, anywhere the gift of music can enhance your special occasion.
Zane said he is also currently working on a fifth solo album, as well as a collaboration with his bandmates in Electric Medicine.
To see Zane live, check out these upcoming shows:
- 8:00 p.m. September 2, At 7 Bar and Grill, Metro Square, 1472 Market St., Des Plaines
- 8 p.m. Sept. 16, Woodfire Tavern, 4868 Illinois Route 83 Corner of Gilmer and Rt 83, Long Grove
- 8 p.m. September 23, Acorn Grill and Terrace, Heritage Oaks Golf Club, 3535 Dundee Road, Northbrook
- 7:30 p.m. September, Good Grapes Wine Bar, 821 Chestnut Court, Winnetka