The New Zeitgeist hails from Chicago, but their sound and influence can be traced from coast to coast, and perhaps even across the Atlantic.  As their name would suggest, they put a somewhat modern American roots spin on a time-honored folk tradition.  Their performance aims to take you on a journey through different musical states of mind, and they accomplished just that when they made their return appearance to the Fallout Shelter in July. 


 When The New Zeitgeist first came to the studio, it was as a duo.  Jen Reilly took the stage as the lead vocalist and acoustic guitar player, and was backed up by Eddie Bluma on lead guitar and backup vocals.  What the duo lacked in percussion and low end, however, was made up for by their well-honed sound and creative songwriting.  On their return appearance, though, they vowed to bring a few extra musicians into the fold.  They enlisted the help of Dave Mattacks on drums, and Richard Gates on bass.  Now, with an absolute powerhouse of a rhythm section behind them, Jen and Eddie took their performance to an entirely new level.

Dave Mattacks not only provided a solid backbeat for the ethereal folk tunes and driving work songs, he also added some almost lyrical cymbal fills and brush work on the toms for the swaying ballads and downtempo numbers.  On top of that, Richard Gates was laying down foundational and moving bass lines that could seamlessly transition into lead melodies where they were needed.      


It seemed as though having the solid foundation of a masterful rhythm section allowed Jen and Eddie to really explore the new possibilities of their songs.  “Looking Glass Man”  and “The Ghost Trail” were almost like different songs compared to their original performances, and “Warm And Dry” and “Desert Rose” were elevated substantially by the layers that Mattacks and Gates added.  New songs like “Killer Deluxe” and “Love On The Frontline” were exciting and poignant, keeping the same creative and intelligent spark that we’re used to hearing from The New Zeitgeist.  The evening ended with a cover of Emmylou Harris’s classic “Tulsa Queen”, cementing the fact that The New Zeitgeist can successfully entice with their original music, and pay homage to the greats with grace and style.  


The New Zeitgeist is currently working on new material, slated to arrive in May 2020.  We sincerely hope that with this new release will come another trip to the Fallout Shelter, and we’re excited to hear what Jen and Eddie will be cooking up this winter.  


Jen Reilly - vocals, acoustic, mandolin

Eddie Bluma - guitar, vocals

Richard Gates - bass

Dave Mattacks - drums



The Session Crew

Produced and edited by:
Bill Hurley

Maribeth Arena

Bill Hurley
H. Nat Stevens
Joanne Craig

Eric Nordstrom
Connor Quigley

Mixed by:
Connor Quigley

Lighting/Special Effects:
Rick Smith

Stage Production:
Gerry Earabino

Dan Busler