Roots Rockers SAY ZUZU Unveils Album Of Reissued Tracks
Today, Strolling Bones Records is releasing Here Again: A Retrospective (1994-2002), a reissue of the music of New Hampshire roots rock band Say ZuZu. Strolling Bones founder George Fontaine Sr. first tried to sign Say ZuZu in the 90s, but the label deal fell through; with this retrospective, Strolling Bones reintroduces the band and gives them a second chance.
“For those who have never encountered our music before, here are highlights from five records released between 1994 and 2002. The songs focus on the great inner life of people in small towns like ours,” says founding member Jon Nolan. “This record also recounts a decade of growth for a fiercely independent, self-produced band from New Hampshire that flew under the radar during the height of the alt-country movement of the 1990s. The record’s title, Here Again, is inspired by ‘a song from our 1994 self-titled album. We’ve always sought to write songs that hold up, personal songs that are enduring and can stand on their own in a variety of arrangements. “Here Again” is the “one of those songs. It’s also an apt title for a record that’s an opening salvo from a recently reunited band with their first new studio record due out in 2023.”
Founded by Jon and James Nolan and Cliff Murphy in 1991, Say ZuZu has built an international following through unvarnished live performances, enduring and direct songs about milltown life and electrifying harmonies. The band toured tirelessly from Maine to Texas to Italy, operating out of a decidedly unglamorous 24-passenger school bus, and recorded nine albums before breaking up in 2002. The fact that the band n has ever been acclaimed by peers like Whiskeytown or Old 97s has mystified critics. Their fans attributed their under-the-radar existence to a quirky name and an insistence on staying in the Granite State.
In the late 90s, while performing at the Hi-Hat in Athens, Georgia, Say ZuZu met George Fontaine Sr., owner of Doolittle Records. Doolittle began thinking long and hard about signing Say ZuZu, just as the label was merging with New West Records. Unfortunately, New West had other plans and the deal for Say ZuZu fell through. Two decades later, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, label owner George Fontaine Sr. picked up where he left off.
“During the lockdown, I bought the two Say ZuZu records that we almost released on New West Records twenty years ago,” says Fontaine Sr.. “I was pissed that I never had the opportunity to release these recordings before. They are great records and they hold up.” The sentiment led to a series of phone calls with the band to talk about “doing it right” releasing the material on Fontaine Sr.’s latest endeavor, Strolling Bones Records. The New Hampshire alternative country rock band is reuniting after a 20-year hiatus, returning to the American music world with Here Again: A Retrospective (1994-2002) plus a full album of new material due out in early 2023.
Here Again distills highlights from the band’s Road Warrior era (1994-2002) and serves as the opening salvo for the new album. The reunited band features the band’s two classic line-ups combined into six musicians, including Jon Nolan (vocals/guitar), James Nolan (bass), Cliff Murphy (vocals/guitar), Tim Nylander (drums/keyboards), Jon Pistey (guitar ) and Steve Ruhm (drums/mandolin) – a “mixed” musical family that speaks to the lasting friendships they share that are so rare in music.
Artist-centric independent label Strolling Bones plans to reissue cornerstones of Say ZuZu’s back catalog, including albums Every Mile (2002), Bull (1998), Take These Turns (1997), Highway Signs & Driving Songs (1995) and Say ZuZu (1994). Each of the reissues will be lovingly remastered and will include previously unreleased bonus tracks. Here Again draws from each of these albums, includes deluxe liner notes and historic photos, and features a stunning cover design by award-winning artist, Kathleen Judge.
On Strolling Bones Records:
Born out of a simple desire to create an environment for artists to grow, Strolling Bones Records was launched in 2020 by George Fontaine Sr., who also owns New West Records. Rather than focusing on a singular genre, Strolling Bones Records’ focus is on finding unique voices and visions. Find more information here: walkingbonesrecords.com