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Mike Zito at the Iridium

Mike Perciaccante By

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Mike Zito
The Iridium
New York, NY
June 11, 2017

Mike Zito is a blues guitarist, singer, producer, and songwriter from St. Louis, MO. He is a co- founder of the Royal Southern Brotherhood Cyril Neville. During his time (2010-2014) with that band the other members were Cyril Neville, Devon Allman, Charlie Wooton and Yonrico Scott. During the course of his career, in addition to recording and touring with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Zito has released a number of critically acclaimed solo albums on Eclecto Groove Records including: Today (2008); Pearl River (2010), which featured the song of the same name co-written with Cyril Neville, and Greyhound, Greyhound (2010). In 2013, Zito released Gone To Texas on Ruf Records. Over the years, he has been honored with multiple Blues Music Awards.

While he was a member of the Royal Southern Brotherhood, the band received quite a bit of critical aclaimn and fanfare. The band's self-titled first album was released in May of 2012. It debuted at number five on the Billboard Blues Chart, and number thirty on the Heatseekers Album Chart . In 2014ay 2014 the Royal Southern Brotherhood won the Blues Music Award for "Best DVD" for the 2012 Ruf Records release Songs from the Road-Live in Germany. Heartsoulblood (Ruf Records) was released in 2014. Shortly after the album's release Zito left the group to concentrate on his solo career. In 2014, Zito released the live album Songs From The Road on Ruf Records. Since he left the band, Zito has been touring extensively in the USA, Canada and Europe, taking on the occasional break to record new music and to produce records for other artists. He has produced albums for Samantha Fish, Laurence Jones, Albert Castiglia and others.

On a pleasant Sunday evening in June 2017, Zito was in New York City at the Iridium touring behind his Make Blues Not War (Ruf Records) CD, which debuted in November 2016 at the number 1 spot on the Billboard Blues Chart. Zito and his small band treated the faithful who turned out at the famed, but tiny, club to a powerful show that will remain in audience members' memories for quite some time.

Some of the evening's highlights were the award-winning "Pearl River," "Don't Break A Leg" and a phenomenal jam with harmonica god Felix Cabrera on "You Shook Me All Night Long" and "I Just Want To Make Love To You." Zito also brought his son Zach to the stage for the second half of the show. The younger Zito is a fine guitarist in his own rite. He, his dad, and the band shined on "Make Blues Not War," "Gone To Texas," and Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born On The Bayou." In addition to playing a killer lead guitar and singing with conviction, Zito was also in a very playful mood. He praised his soundman for providing a mix that helped him sound better he deserved. He said, "For those of you who think, 'Hey that Mike Zito is a flawless guitarist,' I've got news for you. I make a lot of mistakes. Our sound guy makes me sound so much better than I am."

Another highlight was a fantastic version of Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain Way" which let the crowd in on a little secret—in addition to being a consummate bluesman, Zito can really rock and is a truly versatile guitarist and vocalist. As the show drew toward its conclusion, Zito mentioned that his son also manned the merchandise stand. For those who were interested, he said that he would be joining Zach at the stand to shake hands and sign CDs.

The evening ended with Zito stating that "rather than walk off and come back, if you'd like we can do another. How about a little blues?" The band then launched into a blistering version of "The Road Never Ends."

As he left the venue and headed up the staircase, one audience member was overheard stating, "Mike Zito is the man. Wow, what a guitarist." When last seen, Zito, a genuinely warm and outgoing soul, was meeting his public and making new friends.

Photo Credit: Christine Connallon
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon].

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