Singer-songwriter Zachary Richard's roots are deeply planted in his native Louisiana. With LAST KISS, he reaffirms his attachment to the Pelican State while going beyond the confines of any particular style. This is his first English language album in 15 years, and will bring to an American audience the passionate and heart-felt songwriting that has made him a legend in the French speaking world.
Zachary Richard’s (pronounced Ree-shard) style is uniquely his own. Zachary received his first recording contract at the age of 21 with Electra records. That album, High Time, was lost in the maelstrom surrounding the merger of WEA and was not released until 2000 when the original masters were discovered in a vault in New York City and made available on Rhino Hand Made.
From 1976 until 1981, Zachary lived in Montreal, recording seven French language albums including two gold albums, Mardi Gras and Migration. Despite critical and commercial success in the French-speaking world, Zachary returned to Louisiana in the early 1980s and began another phase of his career, this time recording in English. He recorded two albums for Rounder Records, Mardi Gras Mambo and the perennial favorite Zack’s Bon Ton, before signing with A&M, and recording two albums, Women in the Room, and Snakebite Love. Non-stop touring and the strength of these recordings guaranteed Zachary an international following.
In 1994, after an emotional return to the Acadian homeland in Canada, passionately inspired by his heritage once again, Zachary recorded an album of French songs, the double platinum Cap Enragé. The album established Zachary as one of the foremost singer-songwriters in the French-speaking world.
After a hiatus of nearly 15 years, Zachary returns to the US Market with Last Kiss. The songs are deeply rooted in Louisiana experience. “Dansé” is inspired by the dance tradition of South Louisiana, and pays tribute to the celebration of life and good times which takes place in dance halls all around Cajun country every Saturday night.
On the morning of August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall in Southeastern Louisiana changing the lives of thousands of residents of the Gulf coast forever. Zachary spent nearly a year raising money for hurricane relief in France and Canada. He created two foundations, SOS Musiciens and Solidarité Acadie-Louisiane distributing aid to musicians impacted by the storm and helping to rebuild schools. “The Levee Broke” is a song he would have preferred not to have written. It surged up through the fog of anger and distress that followed in the wake of the storm.
The title song “Last Kiss” is a story about two lovers who violate the Deep South taboo against mixed race romance. But Louisiana is not Zachary’s only source of inspiration. “Sweet Daniel” deals with the social crisis that is threatening native populations of the Canadian North. In 2008, Zachary met a young Innu girl (Montagnais nation) who told him of her terrible experience with the loss of her brother, Daniel. Children in the communities of Northern Québec had taken to sniffing gasoline to get high. The young girl related how her brother got too close to a space heater and the gasoline exploded, burning him to death. He was 9 years old.
In August of 2008, Céline Dion asked Zachary to join her on stage for the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec. In the heat of the moment, in from of 250,000 fans on the Plains of Abraham, Zachary asked her if she would join him in the recording of the Robbie Robertson classic, “Acadian Driftwood”. This collaboration is not only the occasion to sing a beautiful song, but also to tell a story that is dear to both of them. Produced by Larry Klein, the song is not simply the expression of Acadian identity, but more importantly a tribute to the courage and compassion that are at the heart of the Acadian experience.