WILL SCOTT – KEYSTONE CROSSING
2011 – Self Released
Will Scott grew up in a musical family steeped in blues, bluegrass, traditional country, jazz, and rock and roll so his
proclivity for observing no musical boundaries in his career are hardly surprising. He possesses warm powerful vocals that are full of passion and expression, just as well really when you consider that his innovative style blends blues, elements of soul, roots rock, folk, Americana, even country on most of these beautifully written songs. I know it’s difficult to believe but he really does take all of these roots genres and mixes them into a pretty much unique sound. So, he is a highly talented singer, songwriter who is also a
tremendous guitarist who seems, through osmosis, to have found a loose style that fits like a glove! Whilst on occasions he is slightly reminiscent of other musicians there is no one that his style seems to be based on other than through his own development and influences. In some ways he projects a similar power to an artist such as Tony Joe White, but because of his diversity of styles he is much more difficult to pigeon hole, even on one song sounding a little like Elvis Presley!
Most of the songs on this tremendous album have an air of darkness with several actually having a quite sinister feel, making the album a powerfully addictive listening experience. Of the nine songs on the album, one is a terrific cover of a Johnny Shines song, with five being by Will Scott and
Scrote! Fairly obviously‘Scrote’ is not his real name but it is what everyone in the music business knows him as. Check him out, he is an interesting character who is not only an excellent producer but also a talented singer, songwriter and guitarist. There are several three way co writes, one that includes Will’s hugely talented partner in life as well as sometimes in music, Jan Bell, who records as a solo artist as well as being a member of the Maybelles. There is another with Christopher ‘Preacher Boy’ Watkins and finally Jan’s beautiful Right To Love. Being involved in the songwriting process Scrote obviously has an affinity with the music, so as producer ensured that the supporting musicians would feel likewise. He, along with Will Scott plays guitars, Dave Palmer is on keyboards, Ben Peeler plays lap steel, banjo, mandolin and guitars, Dave Piltch on upright and electric bass and Jerry Roe, drums and percussion.
The album opens with White River Rising, a quite harrowing tale, that has a darkly
powerful feel, about people who lose everything in a flood but still retain their faith and gratitude for their lives, with the sparse instrumentation generally consisting of acoustic guitar, dobro and occasionally mandolin, with Will’s vocals at times having the feel of the late great Johnny Cash at his darkest! This is followed by Derry Down, a spectacularly dramatic song that has a sinister soulful feel, in part due to Dayna Kurtz back up vocals on a powerful tale with a darkly discordant unsettling feel, followed in turn by Just To Ferry Me Over, another deep dark tale with atmospheric dobro and Will’s powerfully evocative vocals on a deep bluesy song that has a strong eerily threatening gospel element with some excellent slide guitar and atmospheric keyboards. Broken Arrow is an incredibly sad family tale about the aftermath of a mother leaving and the effect on the family’s later life, with nice acoustic guitar on a song that gradually builds to include the beautiful sound of a steel guitar. You Said You’d Take Me To Spain is a swampy mid tempo deep blues rocker that is chock full of atmosphere and power with some excellent stinging slide guitar playing and harmonies. Finally, album closer You Are The One I Love, was written by Johnny Shines and Will’s vocals at times actually sounds like Elvis Presley in finest gospel mode with the powerful driving organ for accompaniment!
Although having only seen Will play three songs live and listened to this album countless times it is fairly obvious that he has a rare talent that can handle all aspects of roots music and I look forward to his next trip to these shores as well as future albums. Now to explore his back catalogue!