Arts & Culture

The Influence: Zach Lupetin of The Dustbowl Revival

In this new series, Jewcy will be asking artists –Jew and non-Jews alike– to discuss in their own words, a specific influence Jewish culture has had on their work.  This week, Zach Lupetin, leader of California old-timey songsters, The Dustbowl … Read More

By / March 16, 2010

In this new series, Jewcy will be asking artists –Jew and non-Jews alike– to discuss in their own words, a specific influence Jewish culture has had on their work.  This week, Zach Lupetin, leader of California old-timey songsters, The Dustbowl Revival, discusses how the Middle Eastern sounds he heard on his trip to Israel helped broaden his world view of music.  I was raised in a multi-denominational household, with a Jewish-born mother and a Roman-Catholic father. I have always valued both sides of my heritage and was happy to take part in the birthright trip to Israel while at college at the University of Michigan. It was an eye-opening experience to say the least, one that I wish everyone, regardless of faith, could take part in. Our mandolin player Daniel Mark is also Jewish and I’ve spent many hours with his family here in Los Angeles celebrating the holy days. One of my favorite parts of the synagogue and holiday services that I have taken part in over the years (mostly reform or liberal) are the songs. The chord structures are really cool, dark, moody and get my foot tapping. I was inspired, when in the Middle East, to learn more about Eastern music traditions and fuse those rhythms with blues, gypsy and jazz and tell secular stories with them. There’s a reason these songs have endured this long – there’s a power in the structure and like a great twelve-bar blues, it just feels good to play and to hear.