The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Meet Your Neighbor

by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Owner

Meet your neighbor, Zachary Ervin Simpson,who lives in Kirkwood's historic pump house on the southwest side of town. The brick structure provided water to that part of the city years ago.

Zach's father is Delbert Simpson who is from Kentucky and now lives in Monmouth, a retired Burlington Northern railroad worker in the 70s and 80s. He will be 70 in November.

His mother is Diana Walters, 64, from Rushville, now living in Aledo. She's a cashier at Wal-Mart and "the hardest working lady I've met in my life". She's had many jobs, was a great waitress, and is a people person" Zach said, "and I love her!"

"Both my parents are hard workers".

Zach said both of his grandmothers were Cherokee Indians but feels his Irish-English heritage dominates.

A musician, songwriter, (soloist and guitarist etc.), says, "I disagree music is not genetic. "Music runs through his father's family and he himself has never taken lessons but could feel music and could play every since he was a kid.

"I would hear music and I'd get a taste for it...I'd feel the beat."

Zach also loves history, geography, and science - but not to the point of evolution. "I believe there is a creator and we were put here for a reason. I am no genius but I am an observer."

Zach has an older brother Delbert "Jay" Jr., Kirkwood, who runs Midwest Tree Service and he works with him every day. Jay plays harmonica and saxophone.

Older brother Dion Lee Simpson, lives in Aledo, and repairs tanker cars for Union Tank. He also plays guitar with a big interest in music.

Zach is now single, but he has children: Elisha Rose, Gina, Cody, Jacob, Zachary, Thomas, Amy, and Colin.

Thomas age 11, is living with him in Kirkwood.

"My kids are all individually talented and healthy, and doing what they were designed by God to do."

Zach was born in Monmouth and went to Harding School there. He attended high school in Macomb and had a lot of education along the way which mostly involved people and music.

He grew up cutting trees, but he has waited tables, roofed houses, and entertained with his music, played music up and down a train in Arkansas. "Anything I did had to do with people and I worked in music any way I could." It wasn't my plan, but it was always what I thought about," he said.

I played in a band in Eureka Springs 3 years where its the longest running folk festival in the u.s.a. and we won 2nd place.

Zach also played in Branson and opened up for a lot of performers like Box Car Willie. Foster Brooks, Ferlin Husky, and on and on.

I was playing with a two piece group called The Skillettlicker Songwriter Review with Cecilia D. McGraft out of Jerseyville, IL "one of the best songwriters and vocalist I've ever seen in my whole life - the mother of all my children. She and I traveled across the U.S. together as musicians.

"What I do now is a stark contrast of what my God given talent is - which is being me.

Now I am doing character development - helping my brother Jay with his business."

"Really what I am is a songwriter and a guitar player." But Zack is not lazy, he likes to work too.

" I still love physical labor. I like to take my work and my music very serious."

Zach writes gospel music. "I went to southern baptist churches down south but haven't gotten involved in a church yet here."

Zach enjoys Arrowhead hunting, treasure hunting with his Metal Detector and he loves entertaining older folks in nursing homes.

"The best thing on my day off is looking around at my house and see what I can do to make it better and I like the outdoors and look around and think of things creative. It can anything from building shelves to saw horses.

"Holidays have changed for me," Zach said, "so I'd rather entertain at a nursing home for someone missing somebody. Things change when you grow up."

Zach says he loves his parents but "we are not generational farmer families."

"We had that when we were younger but somehow it failed. I get a hold of my kids as much as I can. At Thanksgiving, I 'll try to go make somebody smile.

"Thomas is a good singer and smart writer off the top of his head, and a good story teller too, and he is only 11!"

"Little Zach, 21, lives in Branson and won a contest - and signed for a Hollywood production this week and will be acting, songwriting and singing. "I think he's better looking then Tom Cruise! His mother is full blooded Cherokee Indiana."

Zack plans to keep writing music and get better at what his passion is. Entertain as many people as he possibly can, and pass it on and share it with kids, adults, senior citizens.

"I want to get better and live my life - I am a simple guy and want to keep doing what I think is right - treat people with respect and try to be an influence.

Zach says you have to let go of the past - and try to encourage people.

"Music is the common denominator in everything. People have this race thing going too, and once you hear music - people stop looking at each other - and it calms 'em down."

He plays the blues because he has lived those things,

"I sing songs that are deeply felt - they are the truth and I have to sing about it - I can't let it keep building up inside me.

"My future is performing live music.

At present, David Heatherly from Monmouth plays percussion and is a songwriter and vocalist. Brian Daw from the area has a violin shop in Monmouth on D street and makes violins by hand. Another member named "Tiff" from Galesburg plays a scratch board or wash board. We play modern American folk.

A favorite quote: "Don't believe everything you hear and only half of what you see."

And what motivates Zach is a deep seeded well that I have always had in music and the fact I knew I could get out of that low if I go play my guitar for someone, and I'm able to connect with that person.

I have a fishing license, a VOID card and all of that, but nothing gives me the feeling like I get from my music.

Music is not everything, but its what I fall back on.