Arizona musicians Johnny Zapp and Bernie Lezotte will return to Mancos on April 21 as a stop on their spring tour.
The “power duo” will perform at The Mancos Brewing Co. at 6 p.m. with no cover charge.
They decided to return to Mancos after a stop in September 2017 went well, and they were impressed by the enthusiasm and generosity the small town showed them.
The duo is a two-person band, with Lezotte on drums, guitar, harmonica and vocals; and Zapp on guitar, bass guitar and vocals.
“We switch it up, and we have the sound of a whole band just between the two of us,” Zapp said.
They met about 15 years ago through a guitar-building school that Lezotte attended.
“He had been working on my guitars for years, and it finally dawned on me, ‘Why haven’t we ever played together?’” Zapp said.
Zapp and Lezotte both write original music, which is incorporated into their sets. They have had their own forays into the “rock world” but enjoy more intimate shows now.
“My own music that kind of comes out of me is a little more subtle,” Lezotte said. “It has a little more meaningful lyrics and something that people can connect with a little bit, more acoustic music and Americana. That stuff that is structured in the American DNA and psyche, kind of born of the American experience. And that is what I really resonate with.”
Zapp said the duo plays a lot of Grateful Dead and Beatles-type covers.
“Bernie has written some really great songs that fit right in there and are kind of an amalgamation of the influences he mentioned. So in the midst of the covers, we are playing songs that were written with all those influences of his,” Zapp said.
Zapp said his roots are in the mandolin. Growing up in an Italian household, he and his family played a lot of polka music and that is why he still loves playing acoustic.
The duo found themselves in Cortez after deciding to go on tour. Zapp’s father-in-law lives in Cortez, and they decided to play a show while visiting. They were shocked and humbled by the hospitality they received at the Mancos River Brewery.
“When you play something people are familiar with, it opens them up to whatever else you are doing – in particular, doing some original stuff – and that was really well received,” Lezotte said.