Zach is originally from Moose Jaw but now lives in Vancouver. On Aug. 20, he released his debut LP Their Symposium. To celebrate, he’s doing a livestream concert from Vancouver on Sept. 18. For details see /Gregory Beatty   

“If You See Her, Say Hello”

Bob Dylan | Blood on the Tracks (1975) | YouTube

When I was 14, I found Blood on the Tracks in my parents’ record collection. The album blew my world open and picking a favourite is not easy. This song is a profoundly personal experience. I start to miss someone who’s not even there. The song (and its companions) illuminated what I eventually wanted to do with my own music. Jeff Buckley does a beautiful cover, too.

“Who By Fire”

Leonard Cohen | New Skin for the Old Ceremony (1974) | YouTube

Every summer as a kid, my family and I would pack into the minivan and drive somewhere for a vacation. One of our CDs was Cohen’s Greatest Hits and this song was always my favourite. There’s something so mystical and spiritual about it.

“Wayside/Back in Time”

Gillian Welch | Soul Journey (2003) | YouTube

Oh boy. How many times have I listened to this tune? The record entered my life at a time when I wasn’t treating myself with much kindness and it restored my strength. When I revisit this song now, it’s a much more complex but satisfying experience.

“Baby, Please Don’t Go”

Mississippi Fred McDowell | I Do Not Play No Rock ’N’ Roll (1969) | YouTube

I could’ve picked any song from this record, as it’s Fred’s style that has impacted my playing. He had a way of singing and strumming the guitar together, where they were so intertwined it was as though they were no longer separate instruments.

“Unfortunately, Anna”

Justin Townes Earle | Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now (2012) | YouTube

I found JTE in 2014, a year before I moved away from home, and this song communicated how I was feeling at the time — a bit directionless. Justin’s songs dug a hole in me and left tiny seeds of inspiration which grew into a full-scale desire to make a living with music and writing.

“Fake Empire”

The National | Boxer (2007) | YouTube

An incredible song that opens one of my favourite records. This song makes me feel as though I’m reborn. Every time. It’s like drinking a cup of sweet rejuvenation and confidence.