Introducing Zoob (aka Nathan Zoob)!! A Pittsburgh based guitarist who will be playing in a tribute to the great BB King on Friday of the Blues Festival. Pittsburgh Post Gazette once quoted Nathan as saying:
“He (BB King) was the alpha — the absolute end goal as far as tone and taste. Every great guitarist after him owes him a tremendous debt. Even the mediocre ones like me owe him a debt. He was the star we were all reaching for.”
How could you not trust that this tribute will be authentic and amazing!
If you need to know more before you are sold, please read on to find out how Nathan got his start and what continues to drive his musical journey!
Not to mention there is a debut of a promotional code at the end of the article!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself beyond music? Hometown etc.
I grew up in New York City and moved to Pittsburgh in 2006 to attend CMU for Creative Writing. I now live in Lawrenceville and have been a devoted Pittsburgh-ite for 9 years.
How long have you been playing/creating music? A bit of history here on who/what/why etc built your passion for music or the blues specifically?
My father, who passed when I was young, was a professional drummer and orchestra leader (the Zoob Orchestra). Some of my earliest memories were of perching on the band stand after a show, or of bashing away at his drums while he was trying to pack them up.
I’ve always sung, whether appropriate or not. When I was a kid I would burst out into song in class pretty often. It wasn’t until i was 14 that I picked up my first guitar. A girl I had a crush on in high school was taking lessons and had just learned The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel. I went straight to her teacher and started taking lessons myself. I forgot about the crush pretty quickly–from then on my only interest was the guitar.
My interest was always in folk and rock and roll. It wasn’t until I discovered BB King, and later Robert Johnson and Son House, that I developed a passion for the Blues. Some call it primal, but I think that diminishes it somewhat. The Blues is supremely nuanced and sophisticated genre.
Who is your favorite Music/Blues Artist?
I would have to say, now as forever, BB King. Just relearning the intro to The Thrill Is Gone I’m reminded of how vocal his playing was. Often imitated but impossible to replicate.
Any particular artists that influence you?
This may not be Blues Fest friendly but my earliest and deepest influences are Paul Simon and The Who. Like I say I started as a Rock and Folk fan. There are plenty of others of course, but those artists are weaved deepest into my playing and writing.
Is there a particular song you really love to cover?
My most enduring cover is probably Vincent Black Lightning by Richard Thompson. Impeccable storytelling and still, after many years, a workout to play.
Why is the Food Bank’s mission important to you?
It’s my feeling that we have an abundance in this country, and yet the under served are still going hungry. It’s estimated that 40% of grain production gets wasted in a given year, so how is there still hunger in the United States? Organizations like the Food Bank serve a vital purpose in creating a bridge between those who have enough resources to donate excess food and those who don’t even have the resources to ensure their next meal.
Why do you think the Blues Fest is an important community event?
Every community event is important! Community events are what has taken Pittsburgh from a surviving city and made it into a thriving city. Specifically I think the Blues is a vital part of our cultural tradition. Events like the Blues Fest ensure that that tradition lives well into the next century where it can be adopted and entrusted to new generations.
Who are you most excited to see at Blues this year?
Buddy Guy! Gotdayim.
What message/takeaway do you hope everyone who attends Blues Fest walks away with this year?
I really hope that this festival–this celebration of African-American and by extension full-stop American culture–makes us think about our neighbors and the the members of our community. 60 years after the repeal of Jim Crow laws, 150 years after the end of slavery, the struggle is not ended. I hope that this festival can bring folks of all stripes together and foster conversation.
What would you say to anyone who might be considering attending Blues, but is just not quite sure?
Come out on Friday and share in beautiful Hartwood Acres with us! Admission is a donation to the Food bank, something we should all be doing on a regular basis whether there’s amazing music being played or not. Soul music on an emerald lawn–I can’t imagine a better way to spend a weekend.
Wanna join Zoob at the Blues Fest this year?! Purchase tickets here and use code SAT20 to receive 20% off Saturday admission only. This offer will be running from 7/9/15 until 12:00am 7/16/15.