He may be one of the most lauded artists in the contemporary blues arena today, and rightfully so, but for Mike Zito, the thing that counts the most is maintaining his honesty, authenticity and integrity. Those are the qualities that have steered Zito’s career since the beginning and continue to define every effort he’s offered since.
ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: A TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY by Mike Zito is currently #14 on the Billboard Top Blues Albums Chart; the album has been a top for a total of 19 weeks. Performing songs from this record and more, Zito blows through Topeka Wednesday, September 23 for a FREE concert at Gage Park Amphitheater, organized and sponsored by Topeka Blues Society. After canceling Spirit of Kansas Blues Festival and Summer Time Blues in the Park, Suki Blakely, president Topeka Blues Society is “thrilled to have the opportunity to keep music live” but also emphasizes the safety measures that will be enforced. “It’s essential that we make sure to all abide by the rules,” said Suki. That includes wearing masks, signing in and having your temperature taken. Large plastic picnic tablecloths will be placed on the ground to indicate where families and small groups may set up their lawn chairs, and park benches will be taped off, providing ample distance seating. “I have the gloves, masks, temperature devices, etc” said Suki, “now we just need to stress to people that we can have these events if we follow the rules.”
In March of this year, Zito along with musician and band mate Nick Moss started “Quarantine Blues,” a recording project completed in 14 days, after returning from Europe amidst numerous canceled gigs. “Not just a little out of work, completely out of work,” expressed Zito on the effects of the pandemic on his career. “Quarantine Blues” helped Zito feed his family and he quickly realized that other musicians were in the same predicament. “Not everyone is comfortable asking for assistance or maybe tech savvy to do online shows or streaming,” wrote Zito on his artist website. “This is all VERY new to everyone.”
Zito and the band completed 10 original songs and made them available to the world for free, asking in return for listeners and fans to simply give what they could. What “they could” gave much needed support to Zito and his band. Taking it a step further, other artists contributed a song to the project and fans kept supporting, to the tune of over $20,000 by May 19, helping an entire Blues Community.
On May 22, Zito performed on the seveneightfive + ArtsConnect House Concert, sponsored by Topeka Blues Society. Now, four months later, fans will be able to once again enjoy the sweet, bluesy, rock sounds of Zito.
“Well get your lawn chair out,” said Suki, “Live music here we go!”
BUT WAIT – THERE’S MORE
Joining Zito on stage is the ultra talented and seveneightfive favorite Howard Mahan. Mahan performed on a seveneightfive + ArtsConnect House Concert last June and with The Mahan Band on July 4 at The Vinewood. This young, fresh, bluesy jam-band musician will knock your socks off (although you won’t be wearing any because the weather will be so nice and…) you don’t want to miss it.
MIKE ZITO- LIVE with special guest Howard Mahan
Wednesday, September 23 at 7p
Gage Park Amphitheater
*Must wear masks
*Bring your own chair
*No alcohol allowed on grounds
*Food and beverage allowed (see bullet above)
*Animals must be on leash
*FREE – thanks to the generous support of Topeka Blues Society. Learn more, donate or become a member today.