Band of the Week: The Kelly Zullo Trio

Meet the Band: Kelly Zullo (vocals, guitar), Malcolm Bliss (drums), Daniel DeSantis (bass)

Home Alone: An only child who grew up in a remote area of Ohio, Zullo started playing guitar when she was 12. After moving to Nashville, she really developed her songwriting skills. "I graduated [from college] and then didn't know what to do," she says. "I was in Nashville working three jobs and just realized I needed to develop something different." She moved back to her parents' home in upstate New York and spent some time in Cleveland and Chicago before landing in Columbus where she now lives. "It's been a journey," she says with a laugh.

Picks and Pans: Influenced by the late, great New Age guitarist Michael Hedges, Zullo has tried to imitate his distinctive style of playing guitar and wants to put her own twist on it. "I always wanted to develop guitar playing like him but with singing," she says. "I practice five or six hours a day sometimes. I play really fast. I chop up chords and play them all chopped up while I keep a beat with my palm. Sometimes, I play 140 beats a minute."

Why You Should Hear Them: Zullo bills her group as a funk-grass trio. "It's really fast but aggressive like hard folk," she says. "I have always loved funk music." Songs such as "I Lost Me" are vigorous workouts that show just how well she can shred on the acoustic guitar. Though she's self-released several CDs, she's now ready to go into the studio, and she's accumulated several hours of studio time from contests that she's won so financing the album won't be a problem. "Even if it's an EP done in a really nice studio, that's fine," she says.

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them:The Kelly Zullo Trio performs a benefit concert with Chris Bishop at 9 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, at the Five O'Clock Lounge in Lakewood.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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