"I have been searching for something I couldn’t define my entire life,” Zach Russell tells us about his latest single, ‘Milk & Honey.'
The top of the mountain isn’t always where you’ll find what it is you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s only on the way back down to where you started from that you learn the lessons you climbed that mountain looking to learn.
Fighting out of the same corner of country music as Sturgill Simpson, Tyler Childers and Brent Cobb, ‘Milk & Honey’ is an existential back-and-forth set to a laid back and deceptively simple slice of soulful country folk, full of homespun wisdom and unaffected philosophies. Taken from Zach Russell’s forthcoming album, Where the Flowers Meet the Dew, due out on Thirty Tigers in December, the song ponders mortality, contentment, and the idea of heaven as a state of being.
“Maybe I’ll buy some land and I’ll plow it by hand, and I’ll eat what the earth provides,” he sings in the chorus to ‘Milk & Honey,’ as life’s larger questions loom over him. “Oh Lord, me oh my / Cut me a slice of that apple pie that my mama made up there in heaven.”
“I often think of the characters of the Bible that are asked to give up things in exchange for eternal life, Heaven, if you will,” Russell says. “But what is Heaven? What is eternal life? A younger Baptist version of me thought of this as a place in the sky after death. Nowadays I think of it as more of a state of being. Is this what I’ve been searching for? And if it is, how do I get there?”
“This song is me wrestling with that,” Russell explains. “There’s a chance it’s me slowly figuring out that I had to manufacture my own meaning and create my own story."
The official visualizer for ‘Milk & Honey’ is premiering exclusively on Holler below.
Russell’s own story has taken in more than its fair share of twists and turns over the years, and the latest chapter finds him back where he began.
Previously a shoe store manager, karaoke host, and merch-manager for Tyler Childers, Russell has also installed irrigation systems and worked as a carpenter on his way to Where the Flowers Meet the Dew, releasing a string of well received EP’s and appearing on Adeem The Artist’s White Trash Revelry en route.
In 2018, seven years after moving to Nashville, Zach Russell packed up his things and left the ten-year town to return to the sanctity of the wide-open spaces and dense forests of his hometown of Knoxville, Tennessee. It was from here that he began to properly introduce himself to the world.
A charmingly intimate live recording made just before he left to go on tour with Tyler Childers in 2018 was followed by the more accomplished Sugar & Dust EP and a brilliant 5-track EP, The Creek, in 2021.
Produced by White Trash Revelry’s Kyle Crownover, on Russell's first full length album he now perfects his soulful Appalachian sound as the singer takes a spiritual journey from his hometown three hours up the I-40 to the promised land of Nashville and all the way back again. Returning to the home comforts he’d left behind, which end up giving him the clarity and freedom to look beyond it.
Where The Flowers Meet The Dew is released on December 1st through Thirty Tigers.