Gulf Coast Records announces a February, 2024, release for the upcoming disc from multi-Blues Music Award-winner Mike Zito, to be titled Life Is Hard. Zito will record the new album September 18-22 during sessions at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, California, with Joe Bonamassa and Josh Smith producing. Both Bonamassa and Smith were involved in the production of Blood Brothers, the critically-acclaimed album Zito recorded with fellow label guitarist Albert Castiglia, which topped both the Billboard and iTunes blues charts after its release in March, 2023.
“This will be a straight up blues album – something I haven’t really done before,” says Mike Zito about the forthcoming CD. “My wife Laura (who passed away in July after a long battle with cancer) and I planned this recording back in January of this year. We both agreed I needed to continue to make new music and try and put some of these hard earned emotions to music. Both Joe and Josh understand my goal and I expect it to be a rocking tear jerker.”
Mike Zito’s last Gulf Coast solo album, the double live set, Blues for the Southside (released Feb. 2022), debuted at number one on the Billboard Blues Chart. Recorded in November, 2021, at the Old Rock House in St. Louis, Missouri, and produced by Zito, Blues for the Southside captured Mike (guitar and vocals) and his stellar band in full fury: Matthew Johnson – vocals/drums; Lewis Stephens – piano/organ; Doug Byrkit – vocals/ bass, with special guests including label mate guitarists Tony Campanella and Dave Kalz, plus guitar wizard Eric Gales.
Zito’s last studio album, Resurrection (released July, 2021), contained 11 tracks that not only showcased his strengths as a composer, but also as an interpreter of other compositions, with scintillating and powerful takes on tunes from JJ Cale (“I’ll Make Love To You”), Eric Clapton (“Presence of the Lord”) and Willie Dixon (“Evil”). Mike won the 2022 Blues Music Award for “Blues Rock Album” for Resurrection.
The Blood Brothers disc was one of the most-anticipated albums of 2023, with its sales and critical response taking both Zito and Castiglia to new heights in the blues/roots music world, and its ongoing lengthy tour became one of the hottest tickets on the club and festival circuit. The album generated extensive radio airplay around the world, accompanied by universal rave reviews: “…a terrific collaboration.” – American Songwriter; “The universe wants what it wants and, right now, it wants this. Miss it and miss out.” – Rock & Blues Muse; “There was big anticipation that this album would be one of those where one plus one equals better than two. And it does.” – Blues Music Magazine