Real name: Jonathan Lee Hutchins
"Named after John Lee Hooker at the insistence of my father. I was soon referred to as Zeke and it has remained with me since I was crawling. Obviously, I was turned onto music first by my father. I began playing drums as a teenager. I started putting out 45's of my first band Queen Sarah Saturday while in high school. Once in college, we put out a couple of records with Thirsty Ear/Sony Records and toured steadily. I met Tift when I returned to college. We became close friends, went to shows together, and eventually, she gave me a cassette tape of some of her songs. The tape blew me away. I was amazed by her songwriting, her voice, and what she was doing at the time. I insisted we start a band, and that's what we did.
"While playing with Tift I continue to stay busy with other projects. Some of the projects I am working on or have worked on:
Johnny Irion: Unity Lodge - drums/touring
Sarah Lee Guthrie: Sarah Lee Guthrie - drums/touring
Sarah Lee and Johnny: Exploration - drums/touring
Portastatic: Autumn Was A Lark - touring/drums
Thad Cockrell: Warmth and Beauty - drums/touring
Hotel Lights: currently touring/drumming
Stillhouse: Through the Winter - currently drumming/touring
"Vella Recordings: The label I started with Jay Brown to put out Stillhouse records [Vella also put out the initial release of Buckingham Solo in 2009]
"Music Maker Relief Foundation - Please check this foundation out! I just finished producing a record for them by John Dee Holeman that has a lot of the guys from Chatham County Line playing on it. Cool John Ferguson is on it. A really cool record. John Dee is 78 years old and from Durham, NC.
"Thanks to all of the fans at tiftmerritt.net! You all really help make it work. "
Zeke Hutchins has been The Drummer all along. On the road, he usually functions as tour manager as well. He and Tift were married in March 2009.