Announcing Nov 4 performance at Martyr's, Chicago in celebration of the official release of the Waiting album -- Featuring art by the wonderfully talented Stephanie Barenz. Tickets on sale now!
Stick around later this month for more details as the date comes closer.
Great having Mr. Shawn Frick in town over the past few days. Shawn is a dear friend of mine and a longtime supporter of my music – And he is now also my manager! His experience in business and more cut-and-dried mindset will test my creative-minded decisions and help me execute them with more strategy and efficiency. I'm excited about our plans for the coming months and beyond.
Send Shawn an email at email@example.com and welcome him to the ZS team.
It’s amazing how much my life has changed, how much has happened, and yet how out-of-whack I still feel. I have not once regretted my move this last November. At the end of the day I have a roof over my head here in a wonderful town to call “home.” I have food in my gut, good people around me, and an entire army of the best people on earth in the phone in my pocket. But to say this time of my life has been a challenge would be the understatement of the year (or, of the last eight-and-a-half months). And actually, I don’t think it has a thing to do with being 600 miles from home. You know, home home.
I needed change. And I’m not yet where I want to be. Not even close. If there’s something I have already learned, however, it is the crucial need for balance in my life: Normality / adventure. Purpose / freedom. Community / solitude. Work / recreation. And that’s my new goal in all of this. Balance.
Things were fine prior to November 15, 2013. I had comforts of home and regularity. I had family and people to see and to spend time with. I had a place of my own, things to take care of, work to do, and a full time and a part time career. All good things, and purpose a-plenty. In fact, so much purpose that it all started to scream at me, pulling at me and dragging me further into my later 20s, all while keeping from me a real lasting assurance that the life I found myself in was the one I really wanted. And none of it as a whole left me deeply satisfied. I don’t even know why, to be honest. I just longed for something more, more meaningful perhaps. I wrestled with my head; there were sleepless nights and long conversations with myself… until finally I had to scream back and say, “HEY, this is MY life!” And with a broken heart I told my incredible family and my brother of a best friend that I’d be moving away. To put my heart back together, to start over, to chase a dream, to find meaning and a purpose I could live with for the rest of my life. I made plans. Some pieces came together. And without knowing all that was below me, I jumped.
What happened next was a combination of the grace of God and getting what I paid for.
I learned of my new address eleven days before I had planned to pack my car and head south, after Nashville songwriter, Joel Shewmake, had agreed to let me stay in a room of his house for a few months (which would end up being 9+). Talk about a sweet hookup and in the nick of time. Various other circumstances -- including how Joel and I met in Wisconsin and the next-door proximity (literally) of Joel’s house to the apartment complex where my original plans had fallen through -- are almost too cosmic to believe.
Or how about the email I received on February 7 from the COO of the company I left prior to moving, subject line “Extra Money????” right when the savings I had moved to town with were just about depleted and the two recent restaurant job interviews I had were unsuccessful. Two weeks and two days later I was on a plane to Dallas where I was able to work in a trade I was experienced in, all expenses paid, making better money on this temporary out-of-town job than I ever did before. I would end up depositing my first paycheck in a savings account that was down to double digits in the dollar column. No joke.
These two events were so obviously the evidence of a divine hand in my life that I think it’d require more faith to believe they occurred by happenstance. Trust me, I was there. Things just worked. When I was out of ideas, down on my luck, down on my knees. And these were just two examples in a long series of events that eventually led me to be here, typing this in Joel’s spare room, tonight. With prior mentioned roof over my head and food in my gut.
I wanted adventure, and oh, I got it. I think God likes adventure, maybe even encourages it. Through adventure I’ve been able to learn firsthand the fierceness of his love and just how good he is for his word. I’ve also learned that God lets us feel the consequences of our decisions, both positive and negative. I got my adventure. And along with adventure, freedom and recreation. Also has come solitude and, at times, way too much of it. And guess what I miss? Normality. I miss community. I miss work. And worst of all – I miss purpose. Don’t get me wrong, every single day I work on my music and this project of mine I hold so dear. Emailing contacts, networking, meeting with people, web stuff, booking, album art, writing, recording, practicing, performing. You name it, I do it. Quite frankly, however, at this stage of the game there are still times when the work simply runs out. And then comes waiting. And patience. And more patience. And beyond that, I’m still trying to convince the world to love my music as much as I do. And that gets exhausting and can feel so trivial.
I’m no expert in psychology, but if I had to guess what might be a leading cause of depression, I’d say lack of purpose, whether conscious or subconscious. I never really had a problem with depression, but I’ve felt it these days when I haven’t felt purpose. It is such a dark and vast all-encompassing void. One that can really only be escaped in sleep, and even then shows itself in bizarre dreams. There have been mornings (or afternoons) I’ve woken up and felt no urgency to do anything and, really, no reason for existence. The world didn’t need my contribution. No one planned to see me. Nothing needed fixing or tending to. And I was too many miles away to see old friends or help out with my nieces and nephews or visit Mom and Dad. I found myself thinking I’d rather be in a heated argument with my ex or driving to my old job in the pouring rain than be anywhere I wanted to be, doing anything I felt like doing. Because then at least I’d feel purpose.
I have successfully tipped the scale of my life from one extreme to the other. Hmm, alright. Now... How about somewhere in the middle? Sounds amazing!
I recall a specific text conversation I had with that best friend of mine a couple months ago. I told him one random afternoon that I was struggling with the meaning of life and all of this lack of purpose stuff (in a text… I know, right. Who texts that?). He explained he’d had a rough day himself and had been feeling weighed down for opposite reasons-- Feeling pulled between this and that, wanting solitude and adventure. Sort of how I used to feel. We joked about trading lives for a month to gain some fresh perspective, the both of us. This is a guy who knows what he’s got-- A fantastic wife whom he loves immensely, a beautiful new home, and a successful business. My point here is that I think we all struggle with balance in our lives from time to time and, past that, perhaps simply the grass-is-always-greener syndrome that comes built-in with the human condition. It happens to the best of us. And our longing for balance can come kick us when we’re already down.
Today I signed a lease for a new place about ten minutes from here and I have a renewed optimism about the coming months. I have no major quams about living where I do now, but I think packing up this room and moving somewhere else will represent a fresh start and a new, better balanced chapter of this adventure. I’ve been making plans with another great friend to open a Nashville branch of a dog walking business he owns in Wheaton, IL. I’ve never been this excited to do something non-music-related! I can’t wait to employ the elements of myself that have been squandered in these recent days. And while I continue striving to make a full-time purpose in sharing my music with the world, it will be great to feel purpose in helping people with their pets. EVERYONE has a dog in this town. It’s dogs here. And music. And awesome food and friendly people. Welcome to Nashville.
I am grateful for this adventure, this journey of mine, and the freedom to find myself and chase this dream. But if it weren’t for my faith, my family, and the people in my life I think it might have killed me already.
In a day and age that glorifies dreams and following them, not much gets said about maintaining a balanced life. I guess it's something you don't realize you need until you've lost it completely.
Click to stream Waiting in its entirety and purchase the album at the price of your choice.
With the Autumn of 2006 came the meeting of Zach Steinbach and drummer Frank Babeck. The two began arranging and recording a few songs Zach had written, and quickly the dream of forming a band was born. Lead guitarist Dave Streese and bassist Dana Nielsen rounded out the positions, and rock/pop band The Color Truth was made official one year later. The quartet would go on to record and release two EPs and perform at many fine clubs and venues including Milwaukee's own Summerfest, Shank Hall, and Historic Turner Hall Ballroom. The Color Truth performed for the final time in August of 2010.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up on my email list below to receive updates.