written by Frankie Brownstone
photos by Jeff Conlin
Last night on The Roadhouse, Greg Vandy welcomed a very special live guest, Charles Van Zandt, and the Seattle soul combo Satellite 4.
Charles Van Zandt is a gifted singer from Tyler, Texas. There must be something special in the water down there, because the piney woods country of East Texas has spawned many talented blues and soul performers over the years. Charles has been working the clubs, dancehalls and concert venues for sometime with his gut wrenching emotion and smooth delivery. His 45 of “Cummins Prison” on Echo records did well down south, and the flip side “Lovers Land” is still sought after by northern soul collectors in Europe and the UK.
Presently Charles is finishing a new collection of songs that capture the old spirit with new compositions and fresh vital energy. The 45 is being re-released to high demand and a collection of his recordings from the seventies has been remastered for released.
Recently Charles came together with Seattle soul instrumentalists Satellite 4 for a series of shows and sessions. Charles says he hit on a hot combination with these musicians. It is a timely collaboration that puts a strong, well-seasoned vocal atop a hard and heavy sounding rhythm section. Satellite 4 has the feel and tempo he likes, and the camaraderie between the guys is natural. Charles Van Zandt puts real experiences in his lyrics, and says most of the stuff in his songs happened to him directly.
One of the songs, “Hail Mary,” was written by Nashville songwriter Denise Draper, and gets an incredible response every time it’s played. Charles said he initially didn’t care for the song when he heard the demo, but eventually became attached to the thing, having a realization that the song fit him perfectly.
Spring and Summer 2009 BELONG to Charles Van Zandt, you’d best believe he is going to cover some ground. Plans are being firmed up for some festival dates and a string of club appearances. New writing and production progresses every day, with life experience and real drama working it’s way into each song. It will be worth watching how Charles Van Zandt and the Satellite 4 grow and branch out, stay tuned to www.myspace.com/thesatellite4.