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Josh Zandman
Sometimes, I'll feel something very strong, that I want to put out in lyrics, and it just happens the same way by just singing melodies while thinking what's on my mind. - Josh Zandman
by Josh Davidson
 [Chorus and Verse] Spotlight: Josh Zandman
Josh Zandman

Proficiency on an instrument is a strong asset to a songwriter. It's a way to further communicate the feeling of the song from its origin in his or her mind into the minds of the audience. It allows the artist to add flavor to the chords, melody, lyrics and structure of the song.

Josh Zandman takes his songs to the next level with his right-hand acoustic guitar precision. Keeping a steady, consistent strum drives his songs from coffee shop folk and rock into other realms. This draws attention from the eyes and ears of those who come out and see him. This ability affords him the opportunity to present more busily recorded songs in a more intimate fashion.

Zandman chooses interesting chords and strums them in conjunction with smooth vocals tackling many styles of music under a pop base. He puts forth a variety of melodies to songs that awaken the listener's mind and feet.

Mandolin/harmonica player Jpat joins him on stage, further enhancing melodies and revealing how good use of his instrument makes a good song even better. This instrumentation and Zandman's songwriting skills provide something unique to audiences.

Gear
Josh Zandman: Taylor acoustic 310ce
Jpat: Tacoma Mandolin, Oscar Harmonica and others
Tommy Anton Hughes: The ashiko and other percussion

Josh Zandman

Your acoustic strumming is very rhythmic and precise. Is there a certain method you use to keep it more rhythmic than the average acoustic player? How important is your non-picking hand to acoustic playing?

Zandman: I guess it's rhythmic, because I don't use a pick. And, when I strum, I use my middle finger strumming down and my thumb going up. I just love to play fast also, so the combination of the two makes it sound different. My non-picking hand only knows, like, eight chords (laughs) but it also knows how to use a capo.

Who that you listen to do you think can do a lot with just an acoustic guitar?

Richie Havens is one of my favorite players, as far as rhythm guitar. Also, Steve Delopoulos from my old band, Burlap to Cashmere, is amazing!

Is you're style based mostly on chords or do you incorporate things like octaves and things of that nature?

Mostly chords, but I'm learning how to do other stuff.

How do you use your guitar work to add to your songs?

Even though piano is my first instrument, I write my songs on guitar, because the style that I play helps me write better songs. On piano, I write really slow stuff and movie music, but that's cool, too.

Who are some of your favorite songwriters? Why?

Paul Simon, Springsteen, Sting, and Fleetwood Mac are some of my favorites, because they capture emotion, melodies and great lyrics all together. Everything blends so perfectly.

What do you personally try to do to your songs to keep them interesting?

Get people drunk so they sound new when they hear them. Seriously, I don't do anything different, but Jpat, who plays harmonica and mandolin with me, jams something different every time.

What are some of your lyrical methods? Or, do they just kind of flow naturally?

Yeah, they just come to me as I'm singing a melody and [when] they make sense, I'm very excited. Sometimes, I'll feel something very strong, that I want to put out in lyrics, and it just happens the same way by just singing melodies while thinking what's on my mind.

Josh Davidson
Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and njcoast.com. He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.
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