By Vanessa Scott
Walking into the popular Main Street bar, Flood’s, Zac Lawless set down his drink and picked up his acoustic guitar. He placed a small lampshade over his musical notebook and took a seat by the front window of the bar. Without a word to the audience, he began strumming his guitar, leaving strong melodious notes lingering through the air.
Lawless played mostly hit songs such as, “I want you back” by Jackson 5, “Soul Sweet” by The Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Faith” by George Michaels, and “Mellow Yellow” by Donovan. He mixed in one or two of his own songs, and at the end of the night, Lawless broke out a humorous tone with the famous, yet head scratching “Peanut Butter Jelly Time.”
As Lawless continued playing, the once crowded bar seemed to empty out. Maybe it was the beer, but most likely it was the repetitive Lawless, whose songs all seemed to be played on the same notes and have the same tenor. His playing of the guitar overpowered his singing, and at times he was a little hard to hear.
After the first few songs, what was left of the audience sat anxiously at stool’s edge awaiting something dissimilar. And if you stuck around, you got something a bit different. Strapping the harmonica around his neck, Lawless woke the slowly diminishing crowd up with his song “Too Many Taste,” a mix of both guitar and harmonica. The harmonica was a great asset to his playing, as he played in perfect tune, with a subtle mix between the two instruments. He then went into the perplexing, yet somehow popular song, “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” where he projected his voice with such passion, for a pointless song, that you couldn’t help but laugh.
Lawless’s songs resemble his influences, Jack Johnson and Bob Dylan. Lawless sings with a slightly raspy voice, but he doesn’t seem to do anything that hasn’t been done before. In fact he sings more popular songs than songs of his own originality. Though Lawless picks up attributes of other highly acclaimed artist, he doesn’t really seem to make a name for himself. He sounds very similar, too similar, to artist such as Jack Johnson, Dispatch, and John Mayer. Lawless said he can sound like almost any artist he wishes, but that’s not always a good thing.
Despite Lawless’s lack of creativity, he has become a popular face in The Poconos, performing since 2001. Today, Lawless still plays at popular bars and restaurants such as Siamsa Irish Pub, Marita’s Cantina, and Sarah Street Grill. He can be seen every Wednesday night at Floods.
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