After a four-year hiatus, indie piano artist Zach Vinson is back behind the ivories with his new EP, How We Spend Our Days. With a quirky pop/rock sound that moves between influences from Ben Folds, Ben Kweller, Nada Surf and a hint of Weezer, Vinson’s earlier releases caught the ear of numerous tastemaking blogs and college newspapers, and How We Spend Our Days is sure to build on that success.
On How We Spend Our Days, Vinson deftly utilizes the whole spectrum of his talents while still crafting an album that flows seamlessly throughout its six tracks. Recorded in Nashville with his long-time touring band behind him, Vinson moves from piano to Wurlitzer to acoustic guitar to electric guitar and back to piano again. The threads that tie it all together are his quirky, energetic pop sensibilities and the bare honesty of his lyrics. Lines like “Sometimes I feel alone/It’s more when I think of you” and “I saw your blood pour down, deadly as an avalanche/I prayed my skin would fill the gash, that God would subtract your pain and add it to my own” (“Home”) reveal eyes that see beneath the surface of our everyday existence and down into the desperate struggle that is taking place within each of us. “We are wolves driven from the pack/All alone we walk the land in hopes to find our way back/You can have me, you can have me if you want me,” Vinson practically whispers on “You Can Have Me,” searching along with the rest of us in our quest for meaningful interaction.
A native of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Vinson set up shop in Boston and Grand Rapids, Michigan before heading south to Nashville in 2010. Following the 2011 release of The Streets Will Turn to Streams, Vinson took several steps back from pursuing music, barely writing, recording, or performing in the following years. “I had been telling myself for so long that I was going to be a career musician that I completely lost any sense of why I was doing it, if I should be doing it, or who I was without music,” Vinson remembers. “It was the darkest time of my life, and it stretched on for years. I was constantly haunted by doubts and questions of my own motives, talent, calling, dedication—you name it.” After stripping all his aspirations down to the bare essentials of finding joy and wonder in the act of making music, Vinson slowly regained clarity around his role as an artist. “As best as I can tell, this is what I’m supposed to be doing—whether I like it or not,” he says with a laugh. “Thankfully, most days I like it.”
This EP, largely written in those dark years, reveals an artist who has been through the fire and come out the other side, albeit singed. With the release of a video for the first single (“You’re the One”), a groundswell of support from college radio, and a mix of full band and solo tours in the works, Zach Vinson is back from his hiatus in full force.