By Dave Herrera | Sept. 2, 2016 | 9:36 a.m.
Zach Heckendorf is getting settled in New York.
The exceptional Denver-bred guitarist and singer-songwriter—whose voice, songwriting and playing style resemble a convincing and finely-tuned composite of John Mayer, Jack Johnson and Dave Matthews—just moved this past weekend. He shared the news with such little fanfare, that it almost felt like an aside—granted, an enthusiastic aside, but an aside, nonetheless.
When we heard about the move, naturally, our immediate—and reasonable—conclusion was that the Mile High City had lamentably lost another talented homegrown musician, who had been enticed away by the bright lights of a bigger city.
Turns out, that's not the case—well, not entirely, anyway.
Heckendorf, speaking from his new digs in New York City, tells us he made the move to study music—not necessarily in college, mind you, although he is currently enrolled at Columbia University, where he'll be attending classes this fall. More to the point, he says he plans on performing as much as possible in the city and up and down the seaboard, soaking up as much as he can.
Having, ahem, already completed similar coursework in Los Angeles, playing shows over the course of a year, while working for an urban gardener and running a small landscape company in Laurel Canyon, he's looking forward to having a similar adventure in New York—although he expects to study a little harder on the East Coast to make the grade. "I did some music stuff in L.A.," he says, "but not as much as I plan to here."
Heckendorf, who first gained attention as a highly precocious teenager from Cherry Creek High School about a half dozen years ago, has made a great name for himself in Colorado, where he's built up a sizable and devoted fanbase.
With that notion firmly in mind, Heckendorf—who played his last local show for a while a few weeks ago at Breckenridge Brewery, where he shared a bill with Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats and Brett Dennen— plans on returning to his hometown as often as he can.
In the meantime, he's recorded a bunch of new material, songs like "The Harvest" and "Cigarettes," and he's filmed a spate of videos, which he'll be sharing over the next few months, to tide everybody over. The first tune from the batch is "The Harvest." The track, a fittingly titled ballad that arrives just in time for the fall season, finds Heckendorf in dependably fine form.
Heckendorf is working towards releasing a new EP by the end of the year, and it will most likely be available digitally at first, followed by a vinyl version. In the meantime, he and his bandmates—Casey Sidwell and Carl Sorensen, both highly seasoned veterans of the scene—are slated to perform at the University of Michigan for that school's opening day.
"In my first week of classes," he says, "I've got to fly out and play a gig at another college."
Always studying, this guy.