Zack Ingles: Live At Living Roots Music Festival

Zack Ingles

It’s impossible not to root for Zack Ingles! Equipped with a smile that could defuse bombs, he quickly makes you realize that he has your back. Far from being self-centered, his words come from the heart. His songs, rooted in folk tradition, are peppered with current themes. They say that half the battle is showing up. I was delighted to catch Zack in concert at Par 94 Golf & Bar Lounge as part of the Living Roots Music Festival in Fredericton, NB. 

My first encounter with Zack was during last year’s festival, where he provided sound tech services at one of the venues. As I got off stage, he surprised me by telling me exactly what he loved about my set. In a world where many musicians simply say “great set” to the acts they follow, this was incredibly appreciated. It’s proof that Zack is not only a great musician, but also an astute listener. 

Speaking of listening, let’s look at the content of his songs. The day of the show coincided with the release of his “Get Ahead” EP. With the opening line “I’m late on the rent again / Gave Galen half my cheque,” the title track addresses the very current topics of inflation and corporate greed. You’d have to be living under a rock not to feel that as a Canadian! The often-gravelly texture of his singing voice enhances the fact that he understands the little hardships we all go through. Simply put, he’s been there!  

Zack Ingles

Another standout track from his show is “Fair,” which delves into the dynamics of relationships. Lovers don’t need to count; they can just be and live according to how they complete one another. “Fair ain’t getting us there / Feeling like we’re owed for each thing we do / Like time put in will yield happiness.” 

I noticed that Ingles seems to prefer the 6-string banjo over the acoustic guitar for most of his songs. When I asked him about it, he replied, “It’s hard to play sad songs on the banjo. I can play the 5-string banjo as well, but with the 6-string, you get that nice low tone. It’s a way to keep it fun. I’ll cover songs by anyone from Cyndi Lauper and Beyoncé to Nirvana on it.” I certainly enjoyed his casual and candid approach to the songs. 

Zack Ingles

Much of our follow-up discussion revolved around mental health. Ingles is well-traveled. Originally from Penticton, BC, he has lived in five provinces in the past ten years and now resides in beautiful Hampton, NB with his spouse and daughter. He was employed at Montréal’s only “wet” homeless shelter for three years. While he doesn’t seem to regret the experience, it definitely took a toll on him. He crashed a few weeks before his daughter’s birth and was diagnosed with PTSD. His compassion for the most vulnerable remains to this day. “For some people, the simple fact of waking for the day is a reason to celebrate. We can’t impose our will on these people. We need to be able to accept them as they are.” 

Zack Ingles is a fascinating man with great musical talent. His songs are rich with content and his stage presence is captivating. I highly recommend attending one of his shows if you can.  

Learn more about Zack here: 

Listen to Zack’s music here: 

Team GDW are incredibly grateful to guest contributor Ollie LeBlanc (Fredericton, NB), who brings us this installment of a small series of features covering the recent Living Roots Music Festival (June 5-9, 2024).

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