Best Blues: Matt Zeiner Band
If he wasn't winning the Best Blues category, Matt Zeiner would be a shoo-in for the state's best Rolodex (Google that sh*t). Zeiner has musician friends all over Connecticut. He said the key to maintaining the kinds of relationships he's enjoyed over the years is versatility. "I'm comfortable doing a straight ahead jazz gig as a blues gig, or doing my original thing, which is neither," Zeiner said. The singer/composer/keyboard player got hooked into the blues and southern rock scenes more than a decade ago, touring with Matt "Guitar" Murphy and later with former Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts' band. Zeiner went his own way. He also parted ways with the Connecticut blues scene. "I got disillusioned with the rules," Zeiner said. "Somebody will say, 'There's no sharp fives in the blues.' I call bullshit. Of course there are. Robert Johnson's all about that shit. And rock guys don't want to hear jazz chords. I'm more comfortable in the southern rock vein." Zeiner and friends play every Tuesday night at Tools Bar and Grill in New Britain, where regulars are known to flock. "What's important to me is feeling the groove myself," Zeiner said. "I'm a very selfish artist. I don't play gigs for the sole purpose of entertaining the crowd. I play what I play, and do what I do... But it's very important to me that there's groove and a pulse, something that will make people dance. I've always felt that way... There's a big difference in how I play when there's energy coming back from the crowd."
Listen to the band: