French film maker Audiard once created a music video for rock band Noir Désir featuring deaf & mute actors interpreting a song for a deaf audience. A videographer by trade, songwriter Scott Zuniga could be described as Audiard in reverse. With his compositions, he creates short films for a blind audience.

Zuniga (pronounced soon-yee-ga) invokes honest childhood in his compositions–filled with the joy of discovery but never forgetting the dark foreignness also inherent in exploration. A boy scout raised in a foster home for teenage girls is no stranger to feeling strange. What sounds like a metaphor or a joke is an actual biographical detail from Zuniga’s life. But his music takes pleasure in blurring the line between metaphor and autobiography.

His debut album ‘Language of Ghosts’ is a half-remembered dream, which is exactly what inspired Zuniga to begin to again write music after years of avoiding it. All of his recordings were destroyed in a hard drive crash and rather than rebuild, he walked away. Years later, the Loch Ness Monster appeared to him in his sleep. This was the start of what he calls his “musical re-birth.” He woke with the central melody that became his first demo for the album, Isla’s Promise. “Now all these unfinished songs that I send in secret take me back, take me back, oh how I wish that I wish I could have you back…” Now that he has been spoken to in their language, perhaps he is more comfortable referring to himself as a future ghost.

Inspired by this dream, Zuniga launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in July 2013. Recording for ‘Language of Ghosts’ began in November of that year at Church House Studios and Good Danny’s Studios in Austin, Texas. Zuniga self-produced the album with the help of Maurice Chammah and Matt Puckett of Mother Falcon. Other collaborators included Christopher Cox and Matthew Shepherd (Feverbones, Dana Falconberry).

As you listen, see if you can pick out where Zuniga was influenced not only by Paul McCartney and Elliott Smith, but Spanish crooner Antonio Molina, Dali’s flying cats, and Pee-Wee Herman. ‘Language of Ghosts’ will be released Fall 2014. When you see him on tour, say “Cuenta me algo” –an Andalucian conversation-starter that means, simply, “Tell me something.” Zuniga will provide something that inspires delight, reflection, and joy.

-Cody Christopherson (Linescratchers)

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