The dark and lonely recesses of a mind in solitude have been explored by many a folk singer. So too have conflicts between faith and doubt, God and the Devil, good and evil — and various scramblings of which gets lined up with what.
So by rights, Zach Seibert’s band E.Z. Shakes, which concerns itself with all of the above, shouldn’t feel so singular. But “The Spirit” — as it’s performed intimately here in front of Jarod Charzewski The Band Shell installation at the St. Andrews branch of the Richland Library, and as it appears with more echoing grandeur on the group’s forthcoming and identically titled second LP — proves once more that there’s just something about Seibert and company that makes them distinct from so many other artists who tread similar ground.
It definitely has a lot to do with the finely balanced gravity and cleverness of the words, and the singer’s mercurial delivery — the refrain of “The Spirit,” “What you do in darkness / Will be shown in light / If you think you can fool the Devil / Well, be my guest / Give it a try,” is sung with gloom and gravel but also a hint of a smile, half sober warning, half needling taunt.
And it most certainly has a lot to do with the ethereal-bordering-on-supernatural vibe that flows through the band’s rockers and slow songs alike — heightened here by John Furr’s dexterous and gorgeously reverberating electric guitar.
But there’s also something ineffable about how E.Z. Shakes grabs you — as it is with so many of the sounds that stick with us.
The 1 or 2 socially distanced performance series was started to connect Columbians with local artists during COVID-19, and to give those artists a chance to get a paycheck when such opportunities are hard to come by. Free Times remains grateful to our partners in this endeavor — One Columbia, Richland Library and SceneSC — for helping us keep it going.
To check out more 1 or 2 videos, all of which are freely accessible without an online subscription, head to free-times.com/1or2. JORDAN LAWRENCE
(SHOT AND EDITED BY DAVID STRINGER)