The Sizzos is the professional name of singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist George Zaninovich. A twenty year veteran of both the Portland and San Francisco music scenes, the Oregon-based musician is making his solo debut in 2021.
“She’s Driving Down” is the brand new album from The Sizzos, released worldwide to all major streaming services on May 8, 2021. On the record Zaninovich explores the nuance of the human condition through 9 songs. He tells the story of everyday people winning victories big and small over fear, shame and insecurities.
The protagonists on “She’s Driving Down” overcome physical handicaps (“Franklin Roller”), seek relief from spiritual malaise (“Church This Time”) and navigate the complexities of a lifelong friendship (“Cut Loose”). From the melancholy nostalgia of songs like “Polaroid” to the reality of racial strife in modern America on the excellent Spaghetti Western track “It Takes Three,” this is a deeply human record with burning emotions simmering just beneath the surface of a mellow veneer.
Musically, The Sizzos’ “She’s Driving Down” lives in a sort of psychedelic Americana vibe. Within that groovy framework, George incorporates elements of genres from across the spectrum of Rock, Country and Pop. Tunes like “Glass Bird” and “I Want More” feature plenty of slick Blues guitar. “Tule Fog” introduces a little Bluegrass with its mandolin and fiddle. The album’s creative instrumentation and thoughtful lyricism at times bring to mind some of the brainier and more obscure 80’s College Rock artists like Guadalcanal Diary, The Feelies and Peter Case.
Check out The Sizzos’ “She’s Driving South” below. You can hear the track “Cut Loose” on the Deep Indie Dive playlist. We had the chance to chat with George Zaninovich about The Sizzos, the past and the future. Read his answers to our 7 questions. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist. Get on his socials and get in the loop on all of his current and future projects, including a second album from The Sizzos due in 2022.
7 Questions with George Zaninovich (The Sizzos)
Where are you from?
I’m currently living in Portland, OR.
How long have you been making music?
I’ve been making music and writing songs in bands in San Francisco and Portland for 20 years.
Who are the musicians involved in your project?
I wrote and performed most of the music, but the album also has guest musicians including Greg Fleischut from the Brothers Comatose and Kabir Green from The Illumination Band. Erik Ian Walker of Wacko World Music was the mixer and guest on a few tracks on keys and bass. Joe Dagostino from Dag B. and the ZigZags played mandolin and slide guitar on a tune.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
So many! My music doesn’t sound like all of these but is definitely influence by…JJ Cale, Mark Knopfler, Ernest Ranglin, Robert Cray, John Coltrane, Zero, Steve Kimock, Sly and the Family Stone, Neil Young, Blind Pilot, Laura Veirs, Staples Singers, Tom Petty.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
The artwork of Romare Bearden. It is complex, lyrical, and tells multidimensional stories like a good song should.
What inspired you to create this project?
Sizzos is a word my son coined when he first started talking to ubiquitously stand in for “I don’t know.” This project is all about that leap of faith into something unknown and an attempt to understand and connect better to music, myself, the experiences of being a dad, a son, a partner, and to you all – my friends and family. I’m not doing it alone though as multiple friends/musicians appear on She’s Driving Down too. I’m so thankful for the inspiration, companionship, and collaboration.
While this album was started before the pandemic and the protests for racial equity in 2020, this album no doubt is influenced by both. These songs are stories about navigating the differences between perception and reality, whether in ourselves, our connections, or in the world around us. These songs are stories about overcoming fear, shame, and insecurity in search of deep love, joy, and relationships that we can depend on
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
This is just the start of the next phase where I focus on songwriting with the intention of making cohesive albums. I’m already working on the next album due out in 2022.