Zë is a Miami-based band that plays original music and an eclectic array of surprising covers. Built around the songwriting of Alejandro Elizondo and Nick Petumenos, the music can be soulful and bluesy, psychedelic and playful, cerebral and witty- often all at the same time. Petumenos coined the term “post-contemporary classic rock” to describe the music because it most closely connotes the golden era of creativity in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, but also benefits from the influence of much that has happened since. Being comprised of multi-intrumentalists, Zë’s instrument-switching antics enliven performances and add variation to the band’s sound. The result is a night of music that makes a fine ambiance for revelry while also stimulating the discerning listener. You can party to it, dance to it, or just sit down and enjoy it.
Zë came into being when the “plugged-in” incarnation of the Wynwood String Band began to take on its own identity. Originally called “The Wynwoods” and lately rebranded “The Dixie Highway Crashers,” the Wynwood String Band was an acoustic band with roots in bluegrass and American folk and a penchant for exploring the possibilities of a bluegrass instrumentation in other genres. Two Miami venues served as a petri-dish for the cultivation of a unique sound; Vino’s in Coconut Grove and Lagniappe House in the Design District near Wynwood. As frequently as the group was performing, it was inevitable that electric tools began to intermingle with the acoustic instrumentation and soon the stratocaster, Fender P bass and Nord Electro keyboard became frequent companions of the mandolin, acoustic guitar and cajon. At this point in the group’s evolution, original music became the priority and Elizondo and Petumenos began writing with the group’s flexible potential in mind.
More for the convenience of communicating with venues and clients about instrumentation than out of any reluctance to combine electric and acoustic elements, the new sounds were given two monikers; Zë and The Dixie Highway Crashers. Zë is the name of the group’s predominantly electric expression and The Dixie Highway Crashers is the name of the acoustic manifestation. Zë and The Dixie Highway Crashers are essentially the same band, featuring mostly the same personnel and even some of the same repertoire. Presently, you will find either Zë or The Dixie Highway Crashers performing at Lagniappe House in Miami on most Thursdays. Both Zë and The Dixie Highway Crashers are gearing up to make studio recordings of the music that has come into being through frequent performance in some of Miami’s favorite venues.
Zë’s standard line up features Alejandro Elizondo, Taylor Byrd and Nick Petumenos switching around between electric guitar, lap steel, keyboard, electric bass, and vocals. Brian Lange plays drum set and Brian Potts plays percussion (FIRE). Due to the high demand for these incredible players, Zë often features other local stars in their stead or additionally. Some other frequent participants include Adam Scone on organ, Sonny East of electric guitar and Andres Ferret on bass. With such excellent players in the circuit being familiar with the band’s material, Zë may at times transcend its quintet format and appear as The Big Zë. The Little Zë exists as well, as duo, trio or quartet iterations of the band also play in Miami often.