common / Around Town

SPOTLIGHT on Music

Ciany Ready for Triumphant Return
By Mark Gorman


Front, Bri Baxter; L-R, Zach Prosser, Steven Bauer, Julian Ciany. Front, Bri Baxter; L-R, Zach Prosser, Steven Bauer, Julian Ciany. When Thomas Wolfe said, “You can’t go home again,” he obviously wasn’t talking about musicians. There are many local musicians who have relocated, and when they return home to play a gig, it’s always cause for celebration. Next week, Nashville resident and former Newport drummer Julian Ciany will swing into town with his new band, Z, and many folks are looking forward to his return.

“It means so much to me to bring my band to Newport,” Ciany said. “This is what I pour my blood, sweat and tears into, and for me to bring it home to show everyone what I spend my time doing is important. It feels great and I can’t wait to show everyone.”

The quartet is comprised of Ciany on drums, Steven Bauer on guitar, Bri Baxter on vocals and Zach Prosser on bass and vocals.

In support of their upcoming local stop, the band sent Newport This Week recordings of a few original tunes. The songs are fabulous and we can best describe their sound as dynamic, layered, unpredictable and honest, all with a punk-poprock feel.


Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Ciany said that the band’s vibe is difficult to categorize. “We tend to play [shows] with other bands. Sometimes we stick out like a sore thumb, which is great,” he said. “If we play with garage rockers, we’re the punks. If it’s a hardcore show, we’re the pop element. If it’s with people who say ‘rock and roll’ a lot, we’re the artsy-fartsy crew. The schizophrenic nature of our sets keeps it interesting.”

Z started as a recording project and has been playing live since late 2017. They cater their performances to their audience. “If we play a cover [tune], it’s probably more integral to the set than just us jamming on a song we like,” Ciany said. “During a performance, we want to communicate something to you on a personal level. If we choose to present a version of Pantera’s ‘I’m Broken,’ it’s because we think you need it. If we think you need ‘Back in the USSR,’ you’re going to get it.”

While Zach Prosser is the primary songwriter, the entire band weighs in on the shaping of a tune to its final form. “Zach presents the work to the band in many forms, as an idea, a finished product or pieces of a vibe. Everyone in Z has such clearly defined talents, it makes things very easy,” he said.

One of the band’s biggest fans, Julian’s mom, Toni Ciany, is looking forward to their Newport debut. “As a senior citizen, it’s harder than it used to be to stay up and go out late at night,” she said. “But I’m really psyched to see Zach and Jules and meet the rest of the band, because there is something so reminiscent of the music I’ve loved and listened to over the last 30 years, music that I know has molded Julian’s tastes and sensibilities.”

To Go

WHEN: Friday, July27, 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

WHERE: Diego’s Barrio Cantina, 16 Aquidneck Ave., Middletown

ADMISSION: $10

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