Meaning. I’m drawn to a felt meaning in things. What did they mean when they wrote this? Is meaning a mere temporary value I ascribe to things? Is meaning something I fabricate, or something I discover?

The root of “meaning” is tied to “signify”, “say” and “tell”. Perhaps we might even say that a stone found in the forest means something to us… Perhaps it tells of a trail we were trying to follow. Or maybe the stone was given to us as a gift from a loved one, and finding it is an occasion of great meaning.

And that meaning is important, but in my heart, I am searching for more than just a circumstantial meaning. Circumstantial meaning is of great value and life is rich with it, but I’m on a quest for a source meaning, an ultimate meaning. When I follow the meanings, the sign posts, they seem to be telling the story (perhaps more a story than a concise conclusion I’ll stumble upon in some hidden cave). And the living meaning of these things is bound up in their meaning-giver—their storyteller.

There is something animate in the story—for we are ultimately after the storyteller, yet he is also telling forth a story, filled with meaning, and being near him is a revelation of light by which we can see so much other meaning. Hiding behind rocks and trees, much lies in shadow—but if we could see as the sun, every face would be alight. When we find the storyteller, we find our treasure, we find the earth from which all meaning grows. But it’s as if he wants us to know him, to be near to him, to hear and be able to recognize his voice, to stand and look at the story pouring forth from his lips—a living story with living meaning… and all that to enter the story—for we are part of it, part of its meaning, and living in this root story brings about meaning like rain and good soil bring forth fruit.

Meaning is valuable, and we can see it apart from knowing the storyteller. But when we know him, the meaning in our lives blossoms like spring on faces hidden through winter.

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“Fernweh (Shore)” — MUSICBED SESSIONS

Psyched to share this live video we filmed at Musicbed Headquarters. And a special thanks to our friends Amber Mattfield (violin) & Caleb Friesen (percussion) for breathing more life into it.

“There’s something communal about Zach Winters’ music, a hushed experience best seen, heard, and felt within an arm’s reach. His music is a blend of acoustic folk that goes beyond Americana to something even more native. Zach’s song, ‘Fernweh (Shore)’, begged to be shared while he played in our studio, like people gathering around a warm fire.” — Musicbed

License this song and more by Zach Winters on Musicbed:

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2015 Highlights

States Travelled in 2015

States Travelled in 2015

2015 was a dream year—we’re looking forward to what 2016 will bring. Here are some our favorite moments and highlights:

– Sharing the stage with some musical marvels: Josh Garrels, JOHNNYSWIM, Will Reagan, A Boy & His Kite, Aaron Strumpel, Holly Arrowsmith, Jason Barrows, and others.
– Opening a show at House of Blues in Chicago to one of the most attentive audiences we’ve ever had
– Bringing family & “franny” on an epic musical road trip to Maine and back, helping us play in 27 states
– Getting some sweet song placements (like this one) through MUSICBED
– Producing a forthcoming live album for an amazing church community
– Picking up a handmade classical guitar, and touring through Australia & New Zealand with new friends Mike & Holly
– Meeting heaps of wonderful people through music via the 54 shows we played this year
– Releasing 2 more collaborations under Love Your Neighbor—April & May
– Releasing Monarch Sketches with some of the beloved b-sides from Monarch
– And last, but not least, having baby #3 on the way :)

And some of our favorite music from this year:

– Anoushka Shankar: Home & this show
– Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal: Chamber Music (here’s a track)
– Holly Arrowsmith: The River EP + For the Weary Traveller
– The Innocence Mission: Hello, I Feel the Same (listen to this one)
– Karla Adolphe: Honeycomb Tombs
– Jason Barrows: Islands of My Soul
– Josh Garrels: Home
– Love Your Neighbor: April (the only project I’ve been a part of that I put on for reading…)
– Luluc: Passerby
– Paul Simon: Graceland
– Sufjan Stevens: Carrie & Lowell
– Tiny Ruins: My Brightly Painted One
– United Pursuit: Hidden

Happy New Year, people!

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image (2)

We’re making plans to saddle up and head West in summer 2016! We’re putting together a tour that will take us through the Southwest, along the West Coast, and across the Rocky Mountains.

If you or anyone you know have interest in hosting/helping to put together a show- contact me via the CONTACT PAGE.

We’re looking to play in:


#hollaatme #westcoast #leftside #pnw #americathebeautiful #zachwinters #wintersmigration

hug hug,

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Monarch Sketches

I’m releasing MONARCH SKETCHES a year after Monarch was released. It’s a collection of the b-sides, demos, and sketches that ultimately informed the album.

It’s so important to my creative process to have freedom to make mistakes and explore different ideas – with no one watching. In a word, they’re imperfect, and are probably best appreciated as a raw artifact.

Can you dig it? (My wife apparently can – all the demos have >100 plays on our iTunes ☺️)

Available only on NoiseTrade & Bandcamp.

Enjoy, and happy anniversary,

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Josh Garrels + JOHNNYSWIM + Musicbed

let's sing some songs

TEXAS! My wife and I will be heading your way to share some shows with Josh Garrels. Check the dates and come sing with us! On the way back home, we’ll be doing a Live Session at Musicbed Headquarters.

BUT WAIT—THERE’S MORE! I’ll be joining JOHNNYSWIM for an intimate concert at Parmer Hall at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. Fun times in November… Hope to catch some of you at some of these shows.

NOVEMBER 5 2015 | Doors: 7:00, Show: 8:00 (VIP & Early Entry Available)
Emo’s — Austin, TX
TICKETS ($20-35) | Z&L supporting Josh Garrels

NOVEMBER 6 2015 | Doors: 7:00, Show: 8:00 (VIP & Early Entry Available)
Common Grounds — Waco, TX
TICKETS ($20-35) | Z&L supporting Josh Garrels

NOVEMBER 7 2015 | Doors: 7:00, Show: 8:00 (VIP & Early Entry Available)
Warehouse Live — Houston, TX
TICKETS ($19-35) | Z&L supporting Josh Garrels

NOVEMBER 9 2015 | 7:30
Music Bed Session — Fort Worth, TX (map)
FREE | Z&L w/ friends

NOVEMBER 13 2015 | Doors: 7:00, Show: 8:00
Parmer Hall at Messiah College — Mechanicsburg, PA (map)
TICKETS ($8 w student ID – $25 General Admission) | Z supporting JOHNNYSWIM


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Australia + New Zealand Tour

The Serious Tour Poster

The Unofficial Serious Tour Poster

Very excited to announce that this October I’ll be joining forces with NZ artist Holly Arrowsmith on tour through Australia & New Zealand! The whole wild idea was precipitated by the fact that Brisbane local luthier, Maurice Coutanceau, was making a guitar for me and is now finished! Time to pick it up and let people hear, before it moves to the Northern Hemi… Watch here for further details!


OCTOBER 13 | Brisbane, AUS
OCTOBER 14 | Sydney, AUS
OCTOBER 15 | Melbourne, AUS
OCTOBER 17 | Christchurch, NZ
OCTOBER 18 | Dunedin, NZ
OCTOBER 23 | Queenstown, NZ
OCTOBER 24 | Okarito, NZ
OCTOBER 29 | Te Awamutu, NZ
OCTOBER 30 | Auckland, NZ

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July Shows w/ Josh Garrels

JG Midwest Poster

Joining Josh Garrels for some shows in July! Then joining forces with Jason Barrows to finish out our Winters Migration Tour! Hope to catch you for the last few…

7/24 — The Intersection — Grand Rapids, MI *
7/25 — House of Blues — Chicago, IL *
7/27 — House Show — Evansville, IN ~
7/28 — Sun Cafe & Market — St. Louis, MO ~
7/29 — The Bonfire — Kansas City, MO ~

* = w Josh Garrels
~ = w Jason Barrows



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6/3 — Irving Plaza — New York City, NY *
6/4 — Theatre of the Living Arts — Philadelphia, PA *
6/5 — McLean Bible Church — Vienna, VA *
6/6 — Bridgeway — Oklahoma City, OK +
6/7 — Nightbird Books — Fayetteville, AR
6/9 — Alba Coffee — Jackson, TN
6/10 — Good Food for Good People — Nashville, TN
6/11 — Trinity Methodist Church — Opelika, AL
6/13 — House Show — Atlanta, GA
Greenville, SC TBA
6/17 — House Show (The Pocket) — Raleigh, NC
6/19 — The Farm House — Charlottesville, VA
6/21 — House Show — Washington, DC
6/22 — House Show — Pittsburgh, PA
6/23 Encounter Church of Palmyra — Palmyra, PA
Saratoga Springs, NY TBA
7/11 — Belfast American Legion Hall — Belfast, ME
7/20 — House Show — Buffalo, NY
7/23 — Private House Show — Lansing, MI
7/24 — The Intersection — Grand Rapids, MI *
7/25 — House of Blues — Chicago, IL *
7/27 — House Show — Evansville, IN ~
7/28 — Sun Cafe & Market — St. Louis, MO ~
7/29 — The Bonfire — Kansas City, MO ~

* = w Josh Garrels
+ = w Aaron Strumpel
~ = w Jason Barrows

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June 6th | Aaron Strumpel | OKC


JUNE 6 2015 | 7:00
The Backroom – Bridgeway — Oklahoma City, OK (map)
TBA | Z&L + Aaron Strumpel


I first heard of Aaron for his work and production on Enter the Worship Circle projects. But meeting him in person and playing a set together at Resound made me feel sure that we were gonna be friends

So I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be supporting Aaron Strumpel when he comes to OKC! We’ll be playing a show on the evening of the 6th (details below) and Aaron will be giving a songwriting workshop earlier in the day (because he is a beast). Hope to see you there! And this is my daughter’s favorite track on his new album:

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May + California + Josh Garrels

HOME poster 2

Just got back from some great shows in CA (some photos here) with Josh Garrels & his crew (love those guys)… We played in Redding, Santa Cruz & Santa Ana with me doing an opening set. And I joined them onstage for some background vocals for an epic evening in Los Angeles at the Ace Hotel Theatre.

I sold out of CDs on the second night, so if you’re looking for them, you can find them HERE. And lots of people asked me about a song I played, called “Down to the Water” (which many of you were kind enough to sing with me). You can buy the song and/or the album it’s on HERE.

And lastly, my wife and I are playing a house show back in LA this Thursday, so catch us if you can!

MAY 14 2015 | Doors: 7:00, Show: 7:30
House Show — Los Angeles, CA (map)
$5 door | Z&L + Alex Winters


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