Lisa Bastoni and Zak Trojano

The Parlor Room (32 Masonic St, Northampton, MA 01060)

Photo By Lynne Graves
Entertainment + Music
“**Lisa Bastoni** is a genuine artist. Her articulate songs come from the soul, and resonate in the heart. She debuted her new album and a few other gorgeous songs last night with her producer, consummate musician Sean Staples. **How We Want To Live** is a deep and powerful album, and an affirmation of her triumph in the 2019 Kerrville New Folk Festival contest. When I hear Lisa perform, I can’t help but draw a parallel between her songs and those of another New England treasure, Lori McKenna. Bastoni masters the same narrative beauty and poignancy in her compositions, and similarly balances demands of motherhood and career gracefully. The song, “Beautiful Girl,“ written for her daughter, is reflective of that — and Lisa Bastoni herself.”**​** **Zak Trojano** is a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, a finger-style guitar player, a fly-fisherman, and a beer drinker. He watches more than he talks, the guy at the end of the bar nursing a drink while the afternoon light angles in, letting the conversation pile up around him like snowfall. He grew up in New Hampshire, outside of town in a cabin built by his parents. His father was a drummer who held down a regular country gig, and nights after work he would loosen his tie and show his son the finer points of Ginger Baker and Elvin Jones. In New Hampshire they drove around in trucks, and Prine and Dylan cassettes showed up in most of those trucks. Zak made Eagle Scout, got his knots down. Then it was college and out, wandering the country from the desert Southwest to Great Plains until he ran out of money, washing windows to work up the bus fare home. After a while it seemed like he ought to write some songs, and he did: heavy songs with a light touch; an AM radio throwback voice and an intricate finger-style technique framed by a drummer’s rhythm and sharpened by years of immersion in the work of players as various as John Fahey, Merle Travis, and Chet Atkins. In over a decade writing, recording, and performing music professionally - sharing studios and stages with his band Rusty Belle, or supporting touring acts like Chris Smither, Kris Delmhorst, Jeffrey Foucault, and Peter Mulvey - Zak Trojano has evolved his own thing: a warm baritone paired with an old Martin guitar, floating above spare lines of cello and lap steel, horns and brushes, with a deceptively simple lyricism that on repeated listening shows that the fellow at the end of the bar doesn’t say much, but he’s worth hearing.