Welcome to Zephyr
Announcing the long-awaited release of our debut album "Shine Like Rain"Ten original songs:
- Black Lung Money (2010 version)
- Child Soldier
- The Marriage of Grace Green
- How Much to Care
- Scrapbook Collage
- Secret Message
- Skip This Fight
- Twenty Years
- Year Are Here
- Black Lung Money (2012 version)
- Matthew Dickerson on guitar, bass, harmonica, mandolin, and vocals
- Susan Nop on keyboard, accordion, and vocals
- Kathleen Smith on vocals and percussion
- Dutton Smith on violin, bass, percussion, and vocals
Zephyr plays a mix of unique originals interspersed with occasional covers by songwriters such as Buddy and Julie Miller, Gillian Welch, Mark Heard, Bruce Cockburn, and T Bone Burnett.
Matthew Dickerson and Susan Nop are the songwriting team behind Zephyr. Prior to his work with Zephyr, Dickerson received national radio airplay as a songwriter, bassist, and one of the original members of the blues band Deep Freyed. He is also the author of numerous books on a range of topics, the director of various creative writing and arts conferences, and is an internationally known scholar and speaker on the works of J.R.R.Tolkien. Susan Nop, whose soul-full and passionate vocals help give Zephyr its distinctive sound, has also performed as a classical pianist–though she has recently fallen in love with her new accordion. Kathleen Smith, in addition to active work in local musical theatre, also performs with the acclaimed women's choral group Maiden Vermont (including a 2011 appearance at Fenway Park to sing the national anthem before a Red Sox game). She adds her rich and tight harmonies and interesting rhythms to Zephyr, while her husband Dutton Smith, also a long-time well-known figure in the local musical theatre scene, brings additional harmonies while providing both lead violin solos and subtle background string textures, and trades off on the bass.
About the Music of Zephyr.Anybody who listens closely to the music of Zephyr and the songwriting of Dickerson and Nop—and it is music one ought to listen closely to—will pick up very quickly on a strong theme of social justice woven through songs like "Child Soldier", "Black Lung Money", and "How Much to Care", as well as honesty and passion as they wrestle with hurt and sorrow of a broken heart in songs like "Twenty Years" and "Secret Message", or in the haunting tune "Mayfly." Still, the band keeps its sense of humor in more playful songs like "You Are Here" and "How Much to Lose", and in their occasional upbeat romantic love songs : "Skip This Fight" and "Back Porch." (The mix of love songs and songs about the broken heart is not unlike what one finds on a Buddy and Julie Miller album.)
There is also a strong narrative strain in their songs, reminiscent of songwriters like Pierce Pettis and Gillian Welch. They know how to tell a good story, and it comes out in "The Marriage of Grace Green", the previously mentioned "Black Lung Money", and "Shasta's Walk" — a song inspired by C.S.Lewis's The Horse and his Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia. This band does not try to wow the audience with a loud wall of sound, flashy solos, light displays, or practiced choreography. They focus instead on tight and interesting harmonies, well-blended voices (with a bit of character), intriguing textures, and more than anything a refreshing vulnerability, honesty, and passion.
The Addison County based band has been performing together since 2010 in venues including town halls, wineries, college campuses, high schools, bakeries and cafes, arts festivals, music halls, and music festivals.