Americana Singer-Songwriters Zach Pietrini & McKenna Bray Team Up On Heartfelt New EP ‘Modern Love’

While Zach Pietrini and McKenna Bray‘s musical partnership is relatively new, these talented singer-songwriters are no strangers to recording and performing. 

Originally from Chicago, Pietrini moved to Milwaukee seven years ago and quickly took the city by storm with his unique brand of catchy and accessible Americana, his stellar songwriting, and his dynamic live performances. Since moving to Milwaukee, Pietrini has been voted the Best Live Act by Milwaukee Magazine, played feature spots at SXSW, Summerfest, and Mile of Music, and has opened for big-name acts such as Huey Lewis and the News, Ray Wylie Hubbard, and Walker Hayes. 

Hailing from Memphis, TN, Bray has also proven herself as a force to be reckoned with. Gaining notoriety for her powerfully rich voice and songwriting, she has supported acts such as Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors, American Authors, and Mo Pitney, and has toured extensively throughout the U.S.  

When the pandemic and resulting shutdown of music venues made it impossible for them to tour, the two artists teamed up and immediately began writing together. The songs appearing on their new 5-song record, The Modern Love EP, are the result of those writing sessions. With help from co-producer Caleb Fisher, they recorded their new material at studios in both Milwaukee and Nashville. 

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On The Modern Love EP, Pietrini and Bray both bring their individual influences and talents to the sonic-table. With Pietrini’s charming songwriting and Bray’s mesmerizing vocal prowess, this dynamic duo has produced an EP chock-full of captivating Americana-influenced pop songs that masterfully explore the many agonies and ecstasies of being in love. 

In the standout single and first track on the EP, “Young Love,” Pietrini sings about the longing, fleeting passion of being young and in love. During the verses, the driving drums and chugging acoustic guitar lay a foundation for Pietrini’s crisp vocals. The choruses burst with energy, as huge, wide-open chords reminiscent of Tom Petty explode into the mix. 

For the second track, “Ends in Fire,” the duo switches off singing-duties and features Bray’s precise and forceful vocals. This country-inspired pop song effectively uses a Pixies-esque quiet-to-loud song structure, with mellow verses and explosive electric guitar-fueled choruses. The song even features a shreddy, fuzzed out guitar solo that sounds like it’s straight out of a Smashing Pumpkins song. 

The chill and dreamy third track, “Keep on Running,” departs from the energetic style of the previous two songs. Accompanied by the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar, Pietrini’s mellow voice perfectly complements Bray’s resonant and soothing crooning.  

For “Yours,” the second single and fourth track on the EP, the duo wistfully sings about heartbreak and loss. A delicate strumming guitar lays the foundation upon which Bray’s angelic vocals glide through the mix, all the while Pietrini’s passionate vocals help to further elevate this memorable track. 

On the haunting final track, “Amelia,” the duo’s Americana influence shines through. Pietrini’s reverb-soaked vocals are intimate and vulnerable, making for a fitting end to this powerful EP. Every song on The Modern Love EP perfectly molds into a cohesive and magnetic project that brilliantly injects the pair’s Americana and country music roots with infectiously catchy pop music. It’s clear that the duo shares a focused sonic vision which is sure to turn heads and ears of fans and music-lovers alike.

The duo will be taking their songs on the road starting September 30th, with a show at The Sutler in Nashville October 8th, so keep an eye and an ear out for them in a town near you.

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