Review: Will Scott – Keystone Crossing

Posted on: Wednesday, Jul 13, 2011

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WILL SCOTT

“Keystone Crossing”

Weather-Tone Records (WTR0033)

This is pure heavy duty Americana.  Scott’s thick and powerful doom-laden vocals are often more soulful than bluesy and have free reign over what is mostly a stripped-down backing where, paradoxically, there is always lots going on.  The end result is always interesting and, just occasionally, astonishing.
Scott and producer/guitarist Scrote have created something that is nicely offbeat but intense and expressive.  I was reminded here and there of Tony Joe White and (just once) of Townes Van Zandt but Scott seems actually to be a true orginal.

After rootsy opener “White River Rising” – concerning that American staple, a devastating flood – we hear a succession of pared-down offerings.  First is “Derry Down” on which Scott’s vocal is matched by jazzy contributions from New Jersey singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz.  The original spiritual “Just to Ferry Me Over” is followed by Jan Bell’s “Right to Love”, here a full blown soul epic. Only “You Said You’d Take Me Spain” rocks out but it does so darkly and with angst.

Pedal steel man Ben Peeler is a star player and Scott himself is no guitar slouch but the instrumental showpiece on this set is the finale when star guest Deacon Jones takes over Hammond B-3 duties for a thoughtful cover of Johnny Shines’  “You’re The One I Love.”  The chunky, shrilled-out organ swirls over featherlight guitar and bass – and right beside a powerhouse vocal performance from Scott.  That’s the way to do it.

Will Scott is now touring the UK  with appearances at the Maverick Festival in Suffolk and the Birmingham International Jazz and Blues Festival.

JOHN BOTTOMLEY

www.willscottmusic.com

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