Musically, Savannahian Zach Deputy lives somewhere in an ethereal bond between man and machine.
Over his decade-plus career, Deputy has built a global fan following and made a living as a one-man band. Constructing songs from a symphony of machines, microphones, guitar/bass, keyboards and harmonica - all by himself - Deputy draws inspiration from his American-Caribbean ethnicity. His sound is not easily defined, but rather stitched together from tapestry of funk, calypso, hip-hop, jazz, rock and jam band.
The majority of his musical energy is put into touring and playing live. Although he's trimmed down the overall amount of shows he plays annually, at one point he was averaging over 300 a year, including large festivals like Mountain Jam, High Sierra Music Festival and All Good Music Festival.
Deputy cut his teeth in and around the Savannah music scene, but typically only plays the area once or twice a year now after finding a larger audience for his music on the road. His last hometown show was at Southbound at the end of 2016.
See more local New Year's Eve events here.
"We're doing a lot less shows nowadays. I am getting old," Deputy said with a chuckle. "I am not trying to play as much. I still have the ambition; I just don't have as much ammunition. I just take it a little bit easier. We're down to 150 [a year]. Cut it in half. Over the next decade, I'll probably be down to 75 or so. My entire career has blossomed off a solo career. It's still my bread and butter, especially touring."
On his fourth studio release, 2016's "Wash it in the Water," Deputy played every instrument on the record, much like he does for live shows. It was the first time he had been the sole instrument on an album. But for the follow-up album, which he just finished recording, Deputy returned to a more traditional recording style.
"It's way different," Deputy said of the new album. "This one, we did all session work. The production is very similar to the production that was done in 1970 and before, where it was an actual band playing live. When you're listening to it, you're listening to a whole take and not loops.
"Even though I am the loop master, I really like that old-school, performance-based vibe. Nobody does it like that. Even bands now, all loop everything and go over everything with a fine-tooth comb. They take all of the humanity out of it. I love the raw feeling of a band. This one was produced very, very different, considering my last album, where I did every single thing on it."
Deputy's nontraditional approach to songwriting has spurred a vault full of new material. He said he has enough for a few albums. Songwriting is typically not intentional for Deputy. He doesn't have writing sessions or practice routines. Instead, it's a compulsive act.
"The way I write songs is, I don't ever set out to write a song," Deputy said. "When something's really in me, I'll write it down. If you ever talk to anyone who's on tour with me, they'll see me write three songs in one day. Then I won't write songs for a while. It takes me about 30 minutes to write a song. It's because I am not trying to write songs. When they come to me, I write them down.
"The majority of the songs I've written, I don't play live. I don't write songs. I never think, oh, this will be good for me to do live. I just write a song because it speaks to my heart or there's something in my heart.
"The other way that I write songs is, I am always ad-libbing and free styling songs and making up stuff when the spirit calls. When that happens, and I do something live and I think it's awesome, I will transcribe what I did into a song. I've never been, let me sit down and I want to write a song today. It's more like a compulsion. I have to."
Deputy will help jam Savannah into 2018 at a special show Dec. 31 at Barrelhouse South, which might feature some guest artists, but will most definitely get you dancing.
"It's a great room and a great room for Savannah," Deputy said. "â€¦ It's like a rare event to play there. It has to be special, because they don't usually charge ticket prices."
IF YOU GO
What: Zach Deputy
When: 9 p.m. Dec. 31
Where: Barrelhouse South, 125 W. Congress St.
Cost: $25, $75 VIP