By Marilyn Delk
Zak Morgan will present a family concert to kick off Darke County Center for the Arts 2021-2022 Coffee House series on Thursday, Nov. 11 at Montage Cafe in downtown Greenville — and I am really looking forward to his show. Zak’s songwriting skills are amazing, his adept wordplay delightful, and his singing and guitar-playing impressive. But those are not the main reasons for my eager anticipation of Zak’s upcoming performance in our community; however, in trying to truly express my enthusiasm for this stellar performer, I found myself at a loss for the proper words.
Zak Morgan has performed locally several times as a DCCA Arts In Education artist and as entertainment in Greenville Public Library’s Summer Concert series. The stupendous energy generated by his shows is truly remarkable, earning delighted laughter as well as “oohs and aahs” from his young audiences as well as the adults accompanying those kids. I have known him since his first performances here, when, after saying that he had never been treated so well in any community as he was in Darke County, he generously bought dinner at a really nice restaurant for all those who had volunteered to escort him to local schools — thus becoming one of my favorite people in the world. I liked him so much that we took our then young granddaughter to a Cincinnati venue to see Zak perform; she was, of course, delighted by his zany show and warm persona.
A Cincinnati resident, Zak has released five albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy. He is a nationally sought after entertainer who performs hundreds of concerts each year at theaters and festivals around the country, and is described as a cross between Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein, a grade school educator, a G-rated stand-up comic, and a folk musician. Zak began writing stories in elementary school, then honed his writing skills at Kenyon College. After college, he moved to Wyoming where he entertained children during the day and adults at night, then worked for a publisher in New York while also working on his first album. When that album, Bloom, debuted, critics raved about his uniquely clever storytelling, moving Zak to focus on a full-time performing career.
After his second album, When Bullfrogs Croak, earned a Grammy nomination, the creative writer/performer moved to Los Angeles, where he made Zakland, a movie for children, before moving to Nashville to record an elaborate concept album, The Candy Machine, based on characters created by his beloved Grandpa Rooney who Zak describes as “the best storyteller I ever met.” Zak’s next album, The Barber of the Beasts, featured a collaboration with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend Bootsy Collins; Zak has also recorded an album of traditional Christmas songs.
For his performance at Montage, Zak will be joined by two more stellar musicians — guitarist Harold Kennedy, who has performed with Montgomery Gentry and Hank Williams III, and bassist Chris Douglas. In Zak’s words, the trio plans to “serve up a touching and humorous mix of originals, Americana and traditional country songs.” All of this is impressive, but still does not exactly express the essence of what Zak Morgan brings to his audiences.
So, I revert to an oft-repeated cliché to urge you to see this show: I promise that you will have a really good time! And that’s not all — this outstanding entertainment can be had at a very low cost! Tickets to DCCA’s Coffee House presentations are just $10. Montage will be offering up delicious food and drink during the show, adding another enticement to partake of this opportunity to spend a memorable evening enjoying an excellent uptown performance in a cozy comfortable down-home atmosphere.
To get your tickets, contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or www.DarkeCountyArts.org. Tickets are also available at Montage, where they will be sold at the door prior to the show which starts at 7 p.m.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.