Charles Theodore Zerner grew up in France and the US, graduated with honors from Harvard University, and moved to New York to sing in the subways.
After working a 3-month session with the producer of the Clash, Joe Blaney, establishing himself in the NY antifolk scene, and building up an east coast tour route, CTZ went deep into the French mountains to record with French producer Francis Lassus. The resulting record, "A Suitcase Life," like his performances, reflects a unique worldview. The record has been considered one of the best independent albums of the year by reviewers and websites, like indie-music.com.
CTZ is currently at Tulane University Law School to learn the law, while playing a limited number of engagements. Keep your eyes open for new live/studio recordings, and live appearances on the Gulf Coast.
His first independent release, A Suitcase Life comes with a 10 page color booklet, and a long life-full of listening pleasure. Support the arts and buy a cultural artifact of your times; it is available now on Itunes, CDbaby, Pandora, Spotify and select retail outlets in the North East.
PICK UP A SUITCASE LIFE FROM iTUNES NOW!
FIRST REVIEW OF A SUITCASE LIFE
(The Guardian etc).
"Charles Zerner is a very well-rounded young man. Combining intimate folk rock ramblings, choruses that wouldn't sound out of place on Top 40 radio, Spanish inspired guitar fills and noticeably rhythmic bass and drum sections, his songwriting draws from a multitude of influences. Fortunately, this diversity sounds neither gimmicky nor gratuitously eclectic, and he succeeds in this ambitious endeavor because of his genuine, consistent honesty.
Jetlagged longing, lost loves and moments of displaced loneliness are revisited track by track, memorable and every bit as fresh as they once must have felt. Still, Zerner never compromises his upfront lyrics for rhythm, catchy bittersweet melodies and an intricately arranged acoustic pop-rock sound; the album is a sincere and well-thought-out commentary on a twenty-something's life, not a sentimental confessional about what went wrong.
Zerner's songs range from straightforward guitar-based pieces to more complex and layered arrangements complete with soaring, playful synthesizers and perfectly timed bass lines. His voice is strongest when stripped bare, as heard on "Broke St Lullaby" and "You Were Right the First Time"; more layered vocal sections lose their sweetness and verge on generic, especially when he speaks/raps rather than sings. The production on the instruments, however, is irreproachably poppy - unusual for such an upfront record so strongly influenced by bare-bones folk rock. This smoothness works well more often than not and accentuates the care with which the songs were written: there isn't a sloppy moment on the whole record.
Weathered cynicism atop a lingering innocence characterizes the mood of the record - jaded, but still young and unwilling to give up on hope. A genuine sincerity ties the songs together, though never at the detriment of professionalism, originality, and technical skill. Combined with a talent to comment on, rather than fall into, cliché, and a heart-wrenching set of melodies that stick long after the songs end, Zerner has made a thoroughly meaningful and sensitive record."
Charles Thodore est ne pres de Boston de deux historiens de l'art. Brinquebale des son plus jeune age, entre la Cote est et la Cote ouest, entre les deux rives de l'Atlantique (la province angevine, detour un peu plus inattendu), son apprentissage est d emble place sous le signe de l art, de la route, de l echange. Malgre un parcours universitaire flatteur (diplome avec Honors de Harvard University en 2002) que certains imaginaient deboucher sur une carriere en costume- cravate, il repousse les appels du pied de Wall Street pour le metro new-yorkais ou il se devoue a la chanson. Souvenirs : "it's the only way to really do it." Cest dans le Lower East Side, Manhattan, que Charles develope son style. Apres avoir etabli sa presence dans les clubs new-yorkais (Piano's, The Sidewalk Cafe, The Living Room, Galapagos, Cbgb's etc.), dans la scene anti-folk, et avoir tourne sur la Cote est, il rencontre un producteur suedois, habitant Paris, qui lui propose denregistrer un album en France.
Tres vite, les seances ne se revlent pas a la hauteur de ses esperances. Il casse tout. Au regard de ses autres expriences en studio aux cotes de Joe Blaney (producteur des Clash, de Keith Richards etc.), il juge ces collaborations musicales denues d affinites et d'emotions et leurs resultats, mediocres.
Cest alors quil fait la connaissance de Francis Lassus, batteur et producteur (Joe Zawinul, Jacques Higelin, Claude Nougaro etc.). Direction Pau, au studio de Francis et deuxime rencontre : Laurent Vander (fils du grand pianiste Maurice Vander). Entre les trois, l'entente est immediate : La musique, c'est toute de meme un peu de l'alchimie. Comme l'amour, il faut que la chance et le temps saccordent."
Apres un travail intense, la pre-production fait preuve d'honnetete et de complicite musicale prometteuses. Et le mariage culturel qui a toujours guidé ses pas prend enfin tout son sens. Explications : Je crois que c'est une musique franco-americaine dans l'ame. Peut-etre que je pourrais vivre ici