On stage at O'Malley's, Hilton Head native Zach Deputy is seated behind a table, playing his nylon string guitar. Around him are an assortment of chords, loop pedals, and a synthesizer, which he uses to mimic the sounds of steel drums, or drop an octave and lay down a funky bass line. To his side, Paul Kearns keeps the rhythms going on the congas. In front, a legion of regular fans groove to the beat that Deputy just laid down beatboxing on the mic.
When he was 17, one of Deputy's first paid gigs was with a Motown and soul band. "I was the only white guy, and 30 years younger than everybody else," he recalls. "You learn to harmonize and play your part in the band."
He later moved to Boulder, Colo., and formed a jam band but realized he'd be happier playing his own music closer to home. His current style is heavy on the funk, with a Caribbean flavor. "My mom is from St. Croix, so she was always playing calypso," he says.
His "full band sound" — adding and removing layers of beats, bass lines, and melodies throughout a song — sets the singer/guitarist apart from other solo and two-man acts. "I don't think anybody else uses a loop machine for the kind of intensity that we do," he says. "We sound like an eight-piece band. I think it's funny when people think I preprogrammed something."
Deputy signed on for a weekly Monday gig at O'Malleys for the next month or so, before he embarks on a tour in support of the forthcoming album Out of the Water. He regularly sells out 600-plus capacity venues in Hilton Head, Kentucky, and Statesboro, Ga., (last week he opened for Blues Traveler), and is poised to make an equally big impact in the Chuckshizzle. For May, anyway, Mondays just got a lot more fun. —Stratton Lawrence
Zach Deputy performs at O'Malley's Bar and Grille (549 King St., 805-5000) on Mon. May 7. $3 cover. 9 p.m. Check out www.zachdeputy.com for more.