Charlie Zahm is one of the most popular soloists at Celtic music festivals, Maritime and Early American music events anywhere east of the Mississippi. With a baritone voice some have described as "coming along once in a generation," Charlie has become one of the most successful performers on the Celtic festival circuit, weaving magical moments of Scottish history for the listener and viewer, with passion for the performance and a chosen repertoire pleasing to all members of the family. A master of the guitar as well, Charlie brings an authentic love and respect for the music he sings---and with dashes of humor and a light in his eyes, he will draw you into the stories of his songs!
Since he's been old enough to sing, Charlie has been entertaining audiences with the beautiful Celtic songs and melodies he first heard in the largely Scottish province of his mother's birth, Ontario, Canada. Keenly aware of his own heritage, which includes healthy doses of Scottish and Irish blood on both sides of his family, Charlie has collected hundreds of popular selections and performs them for thousands of fans up and down the Eastern Seaboard and across America . He has shared concert billing with such names as the Alexander Brothers and Peter Morrison, and is one of the few singers in the world to be invited to sing live with Scotland's “Black Watch.” Today, as one of the most sought-after Celtic singers on the East Coast, Charlie performs regularly everywhere from concerts and festivals to television shows and Scottish-themed Caribbean cruises, where his 6'4" frame and powerful baritone make him one of the most memorable performers around.
Charlie’s recent CD project, “Out of the Mist,” was released in 2002 to coincide with his first 60-minute music video---entirely filmed in Scotland---by the same name. These projects again demonstrate that Charlie’s vocal ability is rarely matched inside or outside traditional music, and his mastery of the guitar is the perfect complement to his vocal performance. Charlie’s latest (15th) release, “Songs for When the Sun Goes Down,” is a great collection of American folk songs Charlie has been singing for years.
Charlie also performs period North American music from the 18th and 19th Centuries, including music of the U.S. Civil War (also known as the "War Between the States" and "that recent unpleasantness" to our Southern friends) and is often asked to appear at Civil War re-enactments and concerts, as well as Colonial and Early American-themed events. Living in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the United States, helps keep him very busy in this regard! (at the top of this page click on “Early America” or “Civil War” to read about his music endeavors in those historical areas.)
Charlie is often joined by fantastic Baltimore fiddler Tad Marks, who has toured extensively across the US and Europe with top-name groups, is considered one of the finest fiddlers on the East Coast. His down-home charm and easy-going style has made him friends across the country. Tad’s music has also been featured on many of Charlie's recent albums and dozens of additional CDs by other artists, TV commercials, and he is currently involved in creating a movie music soundtrack. His most recent solo CD release, “The Highlander’s Farewell,” has received great praise from traditional Celtic and bluegrass fiddle-music lovers alike! Charlie also sings two songs on it.
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Highlander Radio ReviewCharlie Zahm is out with his new CD for 2005 – “Among the Heather” and all we can say is that Charlie keeps getting better and better with each CD he releases! This splendid collection of inspirational and moving songs showcases Charlie’s rich and flowing voice. The background and accompany instruments are just beautifully mixed, such as “Sweet Thames Flow Softly.” – We were so impressed with the quality and arrangement of this piece, with the bells and trumpets highlighting Charlie’s extraordinary vocal talents!
There is one important quality to Celtic music, or in fact, any serious music genre – and that is the ability to tell a story through the music, sounds and words of a song. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Charlie is so successful. Take for example his “hand clapping” rendition of “Whoop Jamboree.” Charlie brings the piece alive with his rich voice. It just would not be the same song without the life and feeling that Charlie breaths into this sailorman’s song.
“Among the Heather” will certainly rank as a favorite “must have” CD for any serious Celtic music collector. In a day when the airwaves seem drowned with songs that speak to the evils of the world, Charlie’s “Among the Heather” is a like a gust of summertime breezes. It flows around you and makes you feel good about yourself and this world we live in. In fact, as I listen to the first track called “Among the Heather” I am suddenly swept up in the melody, picturing country side roads and green hills of grass!
For those that are not familiar with Charlie, then you need to see for yourself a man that has pretty much become a staple at any Highland Game event on the East Coast. His opening ceremony “Star Spangled Banner” gives a rousing start to the day and his voice can be heard echoing throughout the fairgrounds in the late afternoons.
Individual BiographyCharlie has always been taken by the senses of time, place and social consciousness preserved in folk song, and through years of dedication and a wide variety of studies and travels he has earned a reputation of truly being committed to his craft. And his love for this art is especially evident in the powerful compositions of this seasoned songwriter.
Charlie's favorite place in all the world that influences his original maritime music is Nova Scotia. The most beautiful of all the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and the one in which Charlie has familial roots, Nova Scotia has lent imagery and romantic drama to many of Charlie's compositions. Her beautiful sunsets, sentinel lighthouse and working fishing boats so easily provide stories and romantic locations to his songs.
Many folks who hear his songs take them to be traditional tunes of the area, nearly indistinguishable from music that may have been worked over by generations of traditional singers. For Charlie, there is no higher compliment.
As he once said on Gene Shay's long-running folk-music radio show on Philadelphia's WHYY-FM,, now on WXPN-FM, he hopes that one day he can be sitting in the back of a coffeehouse as some young singer begins his set, to hear that the next song is a traditional one from Nova Scotia (though it is actually one of Charlie's). Maybe he'll say he heard it from the singing of a fellow named Charlie Zahm.
In his two albums of original music, "Under the Great Northern Stars" and "A Summer’s Morning Rare," Charlie brings his wonderful traditionally-styled original songs and stories his listeners have enjoyed for years to a new, wider audience. Those who have followed his career through New England and mid-Atlantic coffeehouses and Maritime and Celtic festivals have enjoyed the mix of traditional and new material he brings to the stage, and these albums demonstrate that not only is this respected performer a fine singer and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, 5-string banjo, mandolin, flute, whistle and others), but a writer of rare caliber as well. As most of Charlie's family is Canadian and much of his musical influence comes by way of that country, his songs have a fresh approach, a new cadence and atmosphere, that defines his contribution to the folk scene, and helps spread his growing popularity as a fine addition to any festival or concert event.
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Listener CommentsMember Name:
I just received Charlie's Robert Burns tribute CD "The Immortal Memory, A Tribute to Scottish Poet Robert Burns" in the mail today and here are some comments:As most artists age their voice will start to change, usually losing a little of their upper range and gaining in the lower register. It would appear Charlie Zahm has discovered a secret elixir or the fountain of youth because I think he is at his peak with most, if not all of the vocals on this album!When I think Charlie Zahm I think baritone (this may be just a misconception on my part) but on this album he hits some notes (especially on the song "Green Grow The Rashes, O") that would make any tenor proud!This Album is an another example of great voice of Charlie Zahm, with excellent orchestration, and some interesting narration by Mr. Andrew Macmillan with Robert Burns poems and information that many may be unaware of. This should be a welcome addition to both Charlie Zahm and Robert Burns fan's collections!
Member Name: CelticRadio
Date Posted: 01-Sep-2007
News comes from Charlie Zahm about a new CD in the works!"If you enjoyed "Scotland’s Heroes" and "American Scrapbook," you will love the new project in discussion with Infinity Dance Theater/Kitty Lunn/Andrew Macmillan of New York City. Andrew, with his great bass-baritone speaking voice, is putting pen to paper in organizing a wonderful tribute to Robert Burns, the poet of Scotland. Andrew and Kitty are choosing passages from favorite Burns works, as well as historical notes, and working with me to choose some of the most beautiful and important works of Burns that have been put to music, and we hope to have this project available by Jan. 25, 2008. Jan 25 is of course the Bard’s birthday, and this is the best birthday gift we can give him!"
Member Name: hdmunn
Date Posted: 29-Jul-2007
I really enjoy Charlie. This is my first exposure to this kind of music but I certainly enjoy it. (Couldn't believe the voice coming out of that body
Member Name: CelticRadio
Date Posted: 26-May-2007
This goes for any of the musicians on Celtic Radio, but if you do end up buying their album please drop the musician a note from their website that you purchased the CD because of Celtic Radio.There is no way to track this stuff and by letting artists know about Celtic Radio it will allow us to keep receiving new CDs to play!Thanks so much!
Member Name: pathough
Date Posted: 25-May-2007
I just got the new album and it is terrific!!
What a great collection of songs. Charlie has never sounded better and he is accompanied by his fantastic band! One of my favorite songs is a new one written by Charlie called Summer Rains! You've got to hear this one!
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