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Musician Zachary Scot Johnson Returns Home to Wisconsin

Bonnie North, WUWM


Singer/songwriter Zachary Scot Johnson has been touring non-stop since 2006. 

In that time he's traveled across the United States and performed with artists such as Juliette Lewis, Shawn Colvin, The Be Good Tanyas, and many more. 

In 2012, Johnson launched a YouTube project that challenges him to release a new song every day. 

"This channel has made me a much more prolific songwriter, in that I was a very, very slow writer before this and now I kind of have to write every couple of weeks just because it's important to put up some original material on the YouTube thing," Johnson says.

Born in Racine, WI and a graduate of Lawrence University, Johnson is happy to return to his home state to perform this summer, but he hasn't yet gotten the chance to play at his favorite venue.

"The place I've been dying to perform ever since I walked in there was the Pabst Theater," he says. "That's my number one place that I want to play...but there are so many great places to play in Milwaukee, it's unbelievable."

Johnson has a music profile that is as extensive as his knowledge of instruments. Heavily influenced by other singer/songwriters such as Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris, Johnson incorporates outside music styles and adds a personal touch. And he's has built a large fanbase both on the road and online. And no matter where he is in his travels, he records his song a day.

Johnson's latest project is a 6 cd, 125 song album collection of Tom Waits covers that pays tribute to Johnson's biggest inspiration.

"I had been performing Tom Waits' material for a long time in concerts. I can't remember the last time I did a set and didn't do one of his songs. It had occurred to me at some point that it would be good to put some of these songs together on a record and make a Tom Waits tribute cd," he says.

Johnson will release the Waits project later this fall.

Below are the three songs Johnson performed for us in the studio:



"One Good Reason Why"


"Anywhere I Lay My Head" (by Tom Waits)


Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.
Audrey is a producer, host and reporter for Lake Effect. She is involved with every aspect of the show — from conducting interviews, editing audio, posting web stories and mixing the show together.