American guitarist and producer, Royce DeZorzi is back with a new instrumental album, “Denver.“
Named after the city he called home, the latest album delves into the depths of the stripped-down vulnerability of solo acoustic guitar. The project is a refreshing turn in DeZorzi’s discography, which has previously explored electric jam band and ambient tape music.
“Denver” is an aptly timed tribute for the multi-talented artist as he will soon leave the mountain state and make his way to Nashville to continue his musical career. “I’ve ended up on the outside looking in from a lot of past relationships, friendships, and musical partnerships. During recording, I found myself in the right space to sit down and reflect on some things I’ve learned and experienced here,” says DeZorzi, “and, just as importantly, say thank you and goodbye.”
This latest release is a sonic painting of sorts, projecting images of the famed terrains of Colorado in your mind, drawing from roots in both bluegrass and folk.
While DeZorzi’s release is brimming with cathartic hope, his history has not always been so light.
After the passing of his brother Alex, who was a passionate guitarist, Royce inherited the instrument which sat in a closet for a year before he tried to sell it to a friend. Yet, instead of purchasing the guitar, his friend taught DeZorzi how to play and from that point on, he was hooked. It was shortly after that he traveled out west to spend years in the area he is now saying “Goodbye” to.
We sat down with Royce to talk about his sound, current projects, and what he truly wants listeners to glean from his music…
Bridge: Describe your sound
RD: Freedom, like a humming bird.
Bridge: How long have you been making music?
RD: I started playing guitar when I was eighteen.
Bridge: What first inspired you to go into music?
RD: My older brother Alex was a phenomenal player, who had passed away when I was seventeen. We were very close. He used to sit me down and show me things on the guitar when I was in high school, but something didn’t click. And when he passed, he left me his acoustic and his records. About a year later, I took it to a friend and asked him to buy it for $50. He showed me how to play some chords instead, and I fell in love immediately.
Bridge: What do you want listeners to get out of your music?
RD: I’d like for this music to bring stillness, peace, and healing to the world.
Bridge: Where do you find your inspiration?
RD: Everywhere, in everything. I drink these herbal teas, and the little paper squares on the end of the tea bags have pithy quotes printed on them. I always get one that says something about how you can learn and grow from everything you experience. More specifically, the rhythms and patterns expressed by living things are where the magic is. The music of the spheres, the perception of celestial harmony that’s always happening around us, is the endless source of inspiration. I like what Victor Wooten said, something about how you can’t make music because it’s already in the air, you just bring it forth. We’re music channelers, not music makers. It’s the role of a shaman. There’s no creating or making music, it’s already there waiting for you to enter into conversation, and bring the world into the conversation as it’s ready. And I think Miles said something about how if I played it, it’s still out there in the air, even if I died a long time ago. So it works the other way too.
Bridge: What projects are you currently working on?
RD: The solo acoustic stuff is a blast, and I’m excited to go in new directions with that space. I’m doing another solo record that makes use of fretless and harmonic series based guitars, to work with different tonal systems for healing.
I’m also excited to bring in more voices, and am working on an album with fretless seven-string guitar, percussion and electronics. Modified and home-made instruments, from cassette decks to hurdy gurdies, are also getting used for textures in ensemble playing. I think of some Derek Bailey pieces that involved “The Rake”. That thing sounds spooky, and the matrix of harmony implied by those dense textures is fertile ground for free exploration.
I love the soup. Setting up environments, to explore the structures and rhythms of life, is the closest thing to “writing” music that I do.
My side project Sun Girl is kind of a future bass vibe, and I guess the solo stuff I’m recording is like future folk.
Bridge: Do you have any current releases?
RD: I put out some tapes of basement jams from 2020, and did an album in Denver that same year with my old electric band, the New Freedom Movement. And I did a noise tape with synthesizers and cassettes last year.
Follow Royce at the links below and stream “Denver” on Spotify here.