Written and recorded in his adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, Zephaniah OHora’s outstanding new album, ‘Listening To The Music,’ is proof positive that great country music can come from anywhere. Produced by Neal Casal, who would tragically pass away not long after mixing was completed, the collection fuses timeless twang with modern sensibilities, tipping its cap to the likes of Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons as it explores a distinctly urban, 21stcentury landscape through a classic country lens. OHora is a master craftsman backed by a virtuosic band here, and his songs absolutely crackle with electricity, moving beyond throwback revivalism to break fresh artistic ground with dazzling fretwork and dizzying pedal steel. The result is a record all about the power of music to bind us to our past and reinvent our future, a lush, intoxicating celebration of melody and memory that bridges the considerable miles between Bakersfield and Brooklyn.
Born in New Hampshire to a deeply religious family, OHora first became enamored with music as a youngster in church. By his early 20’s, he was living in New York, and though he wasn’t pursuing music professionally, his burgeoning love for classic country led to a regular gig performing and DJing at a small bar in Williamsburg. Soon he was curating bands for the newly-opened Skinny Dennis, which quickly became the epicenter of the revitalized country scene in New York, and OHora found himself living and breathing the music 24/7 as he booked and performed with some of the finest Musicians the city had to offer. Two of them, guitar wizards Luca Benedetti (Martha Redbone, The National Reserve) and Jim Campilongo (Norah Jones, Teddy Thompson), teamed up to produce OHora’s debut, ‘This Highway,’ which prompted Rolling Stone praise his “razor-sharp band” and “killer new songs” and No Depression to hail his “ability to conjure honest, humble and tearful pathos.” Songs from the record racked up more than a million streams on Spotify, and the album helped OHora land dates with the likes of Lee Ann Womack, Marty Stuart, Jim Lauderdale, Shooter Jennings, and Kelsey Waldon in addition to festival slots everywhere from Hopscotch to Pickathon.
“Black & Blue is the age old story of being in a relationship with someone who has many of the same tendencies you do. Someone that always seems to walk back into your life after you’ve finally walked out on the deal. Someone you find it easy to blame your relationship problems on until you eventually realize that really they’re not that different from you. I wrote it back in 2016 just after I finished recording ‘This Highway’.” – Zephaniah OHora