‘River City Sunset’ | Flow & depth from Zebuel

Noted guitarist, producer and DJ Zeb Early’s new album begins triumphantly before quickly breaking down into subterranean trap dub. Straight from the head of his debut EDM album, Zebuel, as he’s now known, is packing the heat and ready to ride.

“River City Sunset” gives a shout out the blues and roots of Early’s native Memphis through a modern bass and drums lens. The opening tune “Light,” produced in collaboration with CharlestheFirst and Will Magid, rides pulsing funk over vocal runs and James Brown howls.

Listen to “River City Sunset”

“Silkworm” rifts into deep space funk as Zeb, who relocated to Berkeley from Kings Beach, embarks on improvisatory trips interspersed with classic soul singing. On “Rewind Selecta,” he drops the vibe into a Rasta-infused tracks reminiscent of his legendary Smoked Out Soul sessions. He continues to break it on down and funky with “Midnight Drive” and “Jungle Spank Strut,” wisely keeping the tracks short and sweet.

The sparsity of production is a refreshing choice, allowing the album to flow onward before the listener becomes too comfortable with the beat at hand. On the latter half of the album, Zebuel moves deeper into soul R&B turning weaving horns and vocal harmonies into a tapestry of dance music with tracks such as “Clear Blue Sky” and “I Need Your Loving” bringing the project to a velvety close.

“River City Sunset” gives a shout out the blues
and roots of Zeb Early’s native Memphis
through a modern bass and drums lens.

Zebuel’s album is smooth product, one worthy of a man who’s spent his life learning how to effortlessly entertain a crowd while loosening them up to be themselves. He’s carved out a sound and vibe all his own, which is a noteworthy feat and one that I predict will lead to further success as a DJ and producer in the Northern California music scene. | zebuel.com

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Sean McAlindin

Sean McAlindin is a writer, musician and educator based in Truckee. When he’s not drafting new story ideas, he can be found jamming with his Celtic bluegrass band, Lost Whiskey Engine, hiking for a local back-country powder stash or hanging out with his daughter, Penelope.