ZACK KEIM / SOUTHSIDE AMERICAN “SPLIT”
A. Alice (Demo Version) Zack Keim
B. In the Dust (Demo Version) Southside American
Get Hip Folk Series’ debut 45 features a pair of exclusive alternate demo versions, available only on vinyl!
Zack Keim grew up listening to classic records by Bob Dylan and Nick Drake, and also found inspiration from contemporary artists like Fleet Foxes. At 16 years-old he began writing his own hooks and phrases on the guitar. “Alice” was the first acoustic song he ever wrote.
Keim met musician and artist Bob Powers at a local open stage in Blawnox, PA. There was an immediate connection between the two of them. Powers, who had relocated from New York City back to his hometown of Pittsburgh, played lap steel in a few local blues bands.
After sharing a few song sketches with Powers, the two flushed out “Alice” with a lap steel line. A gritty live recording was quickly captured on tape.
Southside American began as the solo project of Pittsburgh-based singer-songwriter Benjamin Sweet but has expanded over the past few years to include an eclectic group of area musicians. A late bloomer musically who taught himself to play guitar and harmonica in his mid-30s, Sweet released his debut EP “In Our Keystone State” in 2013 on Santa Barbara, CA-based Wednesday Records to stellar press reviews. Pittsburgh City Paper said “it mixes classic Americana/country rock songwriting and recording techniques more common to lo-fi garage rock, and that’s… what makes this six-track disc stand out in a crowded field.” Sweet’s songwriting and production sensibility has drawn comparison to diverse artists such as Ryan Adams, Lucero, Deer Tick, Wilco, and The Tallest Man on Earth.
“In the Dust” is an indie-folk gem whose lo fi beauty recalls early Elliot Smith and Bryter Later era Nick Drake. This version, performed in a different key from the EP version, was recorded on home recording equipment at Hill House Studio in Mt. Washington specifically for Get Hip Folk Series. Joining Sweet on backing vocals is Southside American keyboard player Quinn Riordan. It was engineered by the band’s drummer Dean Henry.