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All Beginnings Are Hard

by Zach Sprowls

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about

"All beginnings are hard…Especially a beginning that you make by yourself. That's the hardest of all." The wisdom of Chaim Potok's novel, "In the Beginning," was hard-won and, for Zach Sprowls, deeply resonant. This debut single echoes that wisdom. Its vulnerable arpeggios and breathing strings tell the story of life after loss—not in the tired clichés of resurrection or rebirth, but in the quiet resolve of motion itself. The piano at the center of the composition is simultaneously a song, a thought, and a step, seeking and making its way forward through hardship. Much like life, the immersive beauty of the piece comes from subtle transformations that reward you as you stay present.

In "All Beginnings Are Hard," Zach has given voice to his transformation. From his lowest point six years ago—devastated and starting over—he's gradually emerged as an artist to watch. A classically-trained pianist and composer, Zach cut his teeth as an accompanist and arranger. "All Beginnings Are Hard" reflects this maturity—it's confident, full of expression, and masterfully captured.

Zach recorded the old Baldwin piano at the heart of the piece in his small Scranton apartment. A quartet consisting of members of the U.S. Army Strings then recorded his string arrangement at Cue Recording Studios outside Washington D.C. To this, Zach added understated analog synth textures. The combined result envelops the listener in a lush soundscape as deft as it is moving. In it, listeners can find their own story of transformation—of taking the next step amid hardship and becoming more than they imagined.

credits

released October 28, 2022
Composed and produced by Zach Sprowls
Mastered by Clyde Rosencrance of Republic Audio Studios

Piano and synths: Zach Sprowls
Violin 1: Marlisa del Cid Woods
Violin 2: Charles Gleason
Viola: Caroline Castleton
Cello: Hrant Parsamian

Cover art by David Hayward

Special thanks to Alex Righter for coordinating and engineering the string recording session at Cue Recording Studios in Falls Church, VA, and for his thoughtful feedback which saved me from a huge mistake. Clyde Rosencrance, producer extraordinaire, who generously gave up hours to help me grow as a producer and mixer and who ultimately made the song sound good. Timothy Zieger, my best friend and gifted writer, who wrote my artist and song bios and who makes me and my music sound better than it is. David Hayward whose art and videos have validated my struggles and given me hope and direction for healing. Marlisa Woods who got all the best string players together and who always lights up at the opportunity to play my music. Aaron Huie, long lost friend, who took pics and videos and always inspires me. And for my wife, Beth - without her nudge this song (and the songs that follow) would still be hidden away on my hard drive.

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Zach Sprowls Scranton, Pennsylvania

Most people use their voice to tell a story; I use the piano.

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