About Zack Slik

Zack grew up playing the banjo. From the age of 9, he has been striving to share the music that he was born with, the music that is in his soul.

Coming from a family of musicians, Zack grew up in one of the many mill towns of Massachusetts, where the sounds from the train tracks would lull him to sleep. His dad and uncle are musicians, too, having played bass and guitar in bluegrass bands. Zack says “I loved hearing my dad play bass when I was little, he’d just thump out a few notes when he walked by it. The first time I heard clawhammer banjo was at my uncle’s house. The other was seeing Grandpa Jones on the TV. Both times it stopped me in my tracks.” The family connection gave Zack the foundation he needed to foster his love for traditional tunes.

Zack draws his influence from a range of musicians, from Mike Seeger, Doc Watson, Gus Canon, and Leadbelly, to Sonny Terry and David Grisman, whom Zack calls “…(a) great talent on the mandolin but (he also) knows when to show off his skills. When he plays old time he plays old time, when he plays hot club jazz he plays hot club jazz. Sometimes it’s not what a musician plays that makes them great but what they don’t.”

When he’s not playing the 5-string banjo, mandolin, guitar, harmonica, ukulele, bones, jug or spoons, Zack can be found teaching clawhammer banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and harmonica or writing new tunes and arrangements.

Songs change each time they’re being listened to and, with live music, there is more feeling present. The latest album has a wide range of tunes - from ballads, blues, hokums and breakdowns that capture the energy of a live performance. Zack worked with Michael Harmon at Wachusett Recording Studio to create the set. With various instruments, the record sounds similar to when he plays at one of his many solo performances. The album also features an original song from another recording session. “Whiskey & Water,” recorded for the Brother Zack Sister Helen album, gives listeners an idea of the other things he does musically, and where he might go with his next album.