Rusty Zinn
@ Biscuits & Blues, September 26 & 27, 1996

The first national act to appear at the new Biscuits & Blues club was a very good choise. Rusty Zinn is one of the new breed of blues performers that is mature beyond his years. Only 26 years old he plays guitar, sings and writes with authority and sensitivity. Up until now Rusty, who is from the San Francisco Bay area, was best know for his stellar lead guitar playing with harmonica players Kim Wilson and Mark Hummel. His show in the Twin Cities featured the debut of his first solo CD Sittin' & Waitin' .
The band backing Zinn for this show was made up of some seasoned sidemen -- Ronnie James on stand up bass formerly of Little Charlie and the Nightcats, Kelly Littleton on drums formerly of Li'l Ed and the Blue Imperials and Nick Moss on second lead guitar who has backed up the late Buddy Scott and the legendary Jimmy Rogers. They formed a real tight combo that delivered an outstanding show.
Rusty Zinn has mastered the guitar to a degree that he can play with anyone and come off sounding great. His guitar playing is unique and shows his influences which include Jimmy Rogers and Luther Tucker to Django Reinhardt. In fact his guitar playing is so good that you might miss some of the subtleties if you weren't paying attention. He is a great supporting player (playing tasteful guitar) making whoever is taking the lead sound so much better as well as one of the best lead blues guitar players on the scene today. Don't let his young age fool you this man is for real!
His new CD, which features Kim Wilson (playing harmonica, singing and writing) really showcases Rusty's talent. You have some great traditional blues from Jimmy Rogers, Howlin' Wolf & Eddie Taylor, some distinctive Bo Diddly, as well as a few originals by Wilson and Zinn.
He has a strong and confident voice that delivers just the right emotion for the song. He sounds a little like Wynonie Harris with some Tyrone Davis, ZZ Hill and BB King thrown in for good measure. I especially like his soulful rendering of "Nothing Takes the Place of you". In fact his CD grows on you...I find some intriguing new feature of his voice and subtle guitar playing with each listening. Good blues entertainment not to be missed.
Copyright 1997 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved. All reviews are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.