In today's freewheeling, fast paced era of constant stimulation and information - where we’re forced to quickly separate, compartmentalize and label -- we've lost the art and magic of the Renaissance people, those blessed souls who created powerful interconnections between all the things they did so well for the benefit of mankind. Adam Zwig’s latest musical work, Visions of the Shimmering Night, offers rich, mind-expanding inspiration to a world in deep spiritual need. The singer, songwriter and “rock and roll therapist” transcends modern boundaries by dedicating his life and art to restoring those important connections -- much like the original shaman whose unified vision of art and healing once guided ancient communities to wholeness.
Acclaimed for his insightful folk-pop songs and dynamic performances throughout the U.S. and around the globe, the multi-talented performer’s groundbreaking work as a psychotherapist goes hand in hand with, and is an extension of, his deep musical aesthetic. Because his concerts and workshops convey the very same messages, the Portland, Oregon based Zwig--who has been favorably compared throughout his career to Bob Dylan and Neil Young--was once dubbed by Seattle Musician as a “rock and roll guru” and “professor of rockology.” Committed to lighting the divine spark in his patients and fans, Zwig sees the seamless blend of his music and therapy as reflections of his mission as a “psycho spiritual pyromaniac.”
Like the wandering minstrels and troubadours of the Middle Ages who were considered “holy fools” and courageous revolutionaries for carrying poetic, healing wisdom from town to town, Zwig sees his music as much more than mere entertainment. Songs like “Everybody Love”—the lead single from Visions of the Shimmering Night that was the #1 most added track on the Adult Contemporary chart the week it came out and ultimately hit the Top Ten—and “When All The World Was In Love” are love songs, but not in an interpersonal way. They’re more universal, meaning that deep down below all the conflicts, pain and suffering in the world, there’s something we all share whether we recognize it or not – our common humanity. Zwig’s goal is like that of the rockers he grew up listening to – to create music that’s meant to challenge the status quo.
“That’s the same thing that our problems do for us, as they challenge us to change and grow,” he says. Everybody's got problems but most people don’t think of them as creative processes. That’s where I feel I can make a difference. I want to help people learn that everything happening is meaningful and has a positive direction hidden within it. More importantly, they can find out what that is. Your problems are trying to awaken you to a more conscious awareness. Just getting rid of them without getting the message stifles your growth and prevents healing and change. Or, it just represses them and they return in the future. I use words and music because they have a powerful effect on us, and I use processing methods in therapy and in workshops. Life, including the negative things, is all about process, change and growth.
Indie rock fans have been aware of Zwig for a number of years, starting with his four year stint as songwriter and lead guitarist with the popular commercial rock band Shapeshifter, which toured the U.S., produced an award winning video, released four albums on Pinch Hit Records and scored the national hit single “My Enemy,” at one point the most downloaded song on Napster. Zwig’s musical background includes living in Europe for ten years, where he went from “busking” to playing sold out concerts. He’s toured the U.S., Europe and Japan; recorded and co-produced a total of nine albums; has his songs on Fox Sports, Fuel TV’s “Terje's Seasons Pass” and NBC’s “Just Deal”; was the Album Network’s best seller for CD sales in the Northwest; and has been featured in many national media outlets, including CNBC, MSNBC, ABC,CBS, Forbes, Hollywood Reporter, Gibson and many music publications. His singles, “Castaways,” “Who Killed Michael Vaughn” and “Once Upon a True Love” (all from his 2007 solo release Cast Iron Letters) were Top Ten AC Radio hits.
On the therapy side, Dr. Zwig has a Ph.D. in psychology, and is an internationally renowned workshop leader and lecturer, speaking to thousands of fans and students across the U.S. and Europe. He was the founder and director of Portland Health Services, a donor funded, nonprofit clinic that, for ten years, provided low cost therapy to Oregonians with no health insurance; he maintains a private practice; has written numerous academic articles on personal growth; and, in addition to his new book, penned one of the chapters in Dreamtime and Dreamwork, a widely quoted psychology compilation published by Tarcher Publishers. While the modern world may seek to split Zwig’s important work as a therapist from his career as a musician, both are equal passions, complementary facets of his vision as a human being that accomplish exciting, life changing breakthroughs for all who have ears to hear.
"If you go back to the beginning of history, instead of finding infinite categories of specialized knowledge, you find a unified whole where all the separate parts were integrated into one vision,” he says. “That was the vision of the shamans, the original ancient healers who served many roles for the community: spiritual leader, doctor, musician, poet, storyteller, advisor, and trickster. I come from the tradition where a singer/songwriter is a healer, not just an entertainer. My tools are songs, words, and psychological / spiritual methods. When I come into town, I sing a song to calm the king. Then I use some psychological methods to help him deal with stuff - you know, work some things out. For me, it’s all one thing. It’s all a process. Using music, words, and other healing methods together is an ancient secret that's still very potent today."