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  • Bryon Harris

Zarko - 'River Town'

By Via Thomas

Most of the time, musicians, whether they're amateurs or professionals, tend to choose the guitar as their preferred instrument for live performances. This choice often has more to do with style than actual musical skill, which might sound strange but is true. However, there are exceptional guitarists who possess a rare talent for harnessing the guitar's sonic capabilities, making it seem like the guitar itself is a living, breathing entity. Of course, the guitar's performance is only as good as the skill of the player, who must also excel in conveying the lyrical themes of the music. When all these elements come together harmoniously, listeners can expect to experience something truly enchanting. This is undoubtedly one of the many delightful qualities found in Zarko's latest song, "River Town."

Written in the key of D Major, River Town is crafted as primarily a folk ballad, with gospel and soft rock elements added to the rendition, with the end result being a slow waltz that sounds intimate and anthemic in equal measure, lyrically themed upon heartbreak and hope, and rendered using just the two elements – fingerstyle guitar and the vocals – by Zarko himself, and in a manner that would have made the likes of Johnny Cash himself proud. First and foremost, the lyrics in this song are a remarkable blend of raw honesty and metaphor. They stand out in both contemporary, Celtic, Americana, and mainstream music scenes. Lines like "Threw a rock as far as I could, but it didn't go under, I stand here and wonder, This river used to be deep" and "I need to laugh when I sing, and scream in my dream" showcase the depth of these lyrics.

Zarko's vocals add another deep layer of beauty to the song. His dreamy, soothing voice carries the same raw honesty. He navigates a wide emotional range with finesse, using a limited set of notes from the D Major scale. Zarko's guitar skills are equally impressive, as he uses just three chords and a few delicate passing notes. This combination of vocals and guitar gives the song an anthemic quality, even though it's an intimately personal story.

The mixing and balancing of the guitar and vocals, all done by Zarko himself, are impeccable. Each element of the song has its own space and emotional depth. The guitar never becomes overly flashy or experimental, maintaining a prayer-like undertone that perfectly complements Zarko's vocal timbre. This synergy between the guitar and vocals elevates a good song to a great one.

What truly makes this song exceptional is the unwavering conviction and hope infused into every second of it. The lyrical themes span from joy and sorrow to euphoria and nostalgia, even touching on pain and hope. This depth and sincerity resonate throughout the entire track, making it a memorable piece of music.

At a duration of three minutes and thirty four seconds, River Town is a magnificent ode to empathy, and a profound addition to the contemporary acoustic folk genre, and a terrific example to the music student as to how to make a song with minimal elements sound delightfully wholesome. For more great music by Zarko, please visit Reverbnation.


About Zarko Zarko is a masterful storyteller who uses the strings of his acoustic guitar to convey tales of both heartache and hope. His music is a unique fusion of folk, rock, and indie influences, and it delves deep into the intricate facets of the human experience. With his poetic lyrics and emotionally charged voice, Zarko weaves melodies that strike a chord with anyone fortunate enough to witness his intimate performances.

His songs often explore themes of longing, introspection, and the relentless pursuit of meaning in life. Zarko's distinctive musical style and captivating live shows have earned him a dedicated fan base and critical acclaim, including several prestigious songwriting awards. Beyond his role as a singer-songwriter, Zarko is a versatile audio professional who works as a sound technician, further showcasing his deep connection to the world of music and sound.


#Zarko #RiverTown

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