Zach (02/25/1990) grew up in rural Huntingtown, Maryland, spending most of his time competing with and against his two brothers. Some of those competitions included structured sports such as soccer, hockey, fishing, golfing, backyard football, and driveway basketball, while unstructured free-for-alls included grappling, monkey in the middle, and of course Nintendo 64.
Summers for him and his brothers were spent on the Potomac River barefoot waterskiing along with their cousins and Granddad. Winters were spent snow skiing (Zach switched to snowboarding when he was 10) with the same gang. According to Zach, Granddad was always the glue of the gang, and since country music was the only thing Granddad listened to, Zach didn’t even know anything but Country existed until he was old enough to scan the radio waves for himself. He then found the overdriven guitars and raw energy of rock n’ roll way cooler than country music and shelved country for years.
Zach decided he wanted to play that rock music himself, and naturally began begging his parents for a guitar. Eventually his Mom decided it was time to pass down a gift she had received from her parents (the same Granddad), and on March 23rd, 2003, Zach was given her old Epiphone acoustic. Fast forward playing it every day for 8 months, and he finally saved up enough to buy his first electric guitar which he had been diligently researching for every bit of those 8 months. According to his little brother, he played that electric every single day, all day, sometimes not leaving the basement or getting dressed for days at a time.
It wasn’t until late high school that Zach started to venture away from rock when he discovered the guitar talents of country artists like Brad, Brent, and Vince. “I’d be in the car with my friends or family, and it’d always be country radio. I remember I’d hear some country guitar licks and think ‘hey that was actually pretty good’, and then realize ‘wait a minute; I used to love this song!’ So I’d go get the song and before I knew it, I was listening to all the country stuff again. Now I love it, and I have to think a big part of that comes from Granddad.”
During high school, Zach earned Eagle Scout and started seriously dreaming about music as a career choice, but it was just a dream then, knowing college was the acceptable next step. The inspiration for a college major though occurred at 16, when he built his first electric guitar. The electronics aspect fascinated him so much that it drove him to study electrical engineering, where all engineering concepts were applied towards musical instruments and his understanding of music. Two more built guitars, two built pre-amps, and a 4.0 GPA later, Zach graduated #1 from University of Maryland and took a job at NASA (yes that NASA) where his two brothers also work.
He describes his time at NASA as “enjoyable, but I knew I still wanted to pursue music.” He says he considered leaving and moving to Nashville for some time, but it wasn’t until he got the call from Gary Cirimelli on behalf of Raven Cliff that it became a reality. He flew down that weekend and met the guys at a Puckett’s show on a Saturday. Within two weeks, he had moved to Nashville to join the Raven Cliff family with the help of his brothers, Mom, and Dad.