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