Zachary’s musical influences are undeniably founded in American folk. But as his career progressed, he became interested in incorporating instruments unique to his Acadian roots. A trip to Eunice to visit legendary Cajun accordion maker Marc Savoy opened his eyes to a world of inspiration that would bring him even closer to the Southern Louisiana culture that drives his passion.
“I am a singer songwriter in an American folk tradition and that has not changed at all from the beginning to now. I think I write better songs now than I did 40 years ago, hopefully. But in terms of the direction the music and what I actually do, that’s never changed.”
“Where it became confusing for me and a lot of other people is when I discovered the accordion. I started playing folk rock music before I really knew anything about Cajun music. When I got the deal with Electra I had some money left over from the advance. I went and bought myself a room full of guitars and I had some money left over. I went to see Marc Savoy in Eunice because I heard there was someone making accordions. I was intrigued by this because this was back to the roots.”
“I went to see Marc Savoy and I saw this beautiful Brazilian Rosewood accordion. I said, ‘Wow how much is that?’ Marc said, ‘You can’t have that.’ So I said, ‘Why not?’ And he said, ‘You can’t have that.’ So I guess I wore him down and he finally sold the thing to me.”
“I had a tone arm on an Aldus roger record cause his records are in perfect pitch. Some of the other ones are a little funky. I’d play a lick and take off the tone arm and tried to figure it out. It took me a long time but I was finally able to play la porte arrière. I played for my grandmother just before I went to New York to record the album. She said I am proud of you maybe you’ll get a good job.”
“But this accordion opened up this entire world of traditional Cajun music which I had been aware of but only remotely and the power of this tradition swept me along.”