The “mountain man” fuses Australian bush music & bluegrass
From the very start Jed Zarb was an “animated” (read “disruptive”) personality – the little kid who really shines in front of the mic at church and school assembly.
By the age of 16 Jed had already learned to play saxophone. To appease the “get something to fall back on” standard parental rhetoric of the 80s, he joined the military. Throughout a 10-year RAAF career Jed joined every band that would let him play regularly, including The Reservoir Dogs, a popular Sydney show band. Armed with a bunch of his own songs, Jed left the RAAF to make his real love – music – a full-time career.
They often say that for success in music, timing is everything. Cue the late 90s: recession, two jobs, three kids, burns out, wife leaves. While not Jed’s first choice, a solo career playing covers in pubs was, however, compatible with sole parenting. Soon he was playing five nights a week in Sydney’s most prestigious venues and garnering functions nationally and internationally.
At the Coogee Bay Hotel Jed was spotted by Forces Entertainment, who invited him to entertain Australian troops abroad. Jed toured the Solomon Islands in 2005 with James Blundell and Dianna Corcoran and then again in 2007 with John Williamson, Ami Williamson and Nicki Gillis. Since 2016 Jed has headlined the main stage line-up at the Ballina Food and Wine Festival.
Now with over 2500 solo performances to his name, Jed has spent the past year developing a new sound and truly Australian song expression inspired by Aussie icons John Williamson and Sara Storer, with a personal songwriting style heavily influenced by his childhood hero John Denver.
“’Mountain Man’ is inspired by my new life living in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney,” says Jed, “after spending most of my life living at the foot of the mountains and looking up at them! I also thought it was about time that the age-old local phrase ‘I’m a mountain man and I love mountain women’ was immortalised in a song.
“I wanted to leave all the old songs behind and start fresh,” he adds. “Working in the music industry for so long, I am blessed to have close and talented muso friends playing on the track. You can really feel the love in the sessions.”