Scott Smith releases new EP
Scott Smith is a country rock artist with a wide range of influences in his background, but you’d never know from where the inspiration comes on his latest EP of original songs – Igniting The Flame. Smith came up in the Bay Area and got a lot of local influence from one of the richest musical cultures in the country and learned guitar from David Nelson of New Riders Of The Purple Sage, and influenced by everyone from the Beatles to Cream. And even though in essence that’s really-not too far from the Americana tree that is burning today, but it goes to show he’s been around the block whether you’ve heard him before or not.
Along with Scott Smith on this EP are LaFlamme, keyboardist Spencer Burroughs, veteran “Tonight Show” and Mavis Staples backup singer Vickie Randall, veteran trombonist and horn arranger Mike Rinta and saxophonist Paul Branin (Levon Helm). To help him with his vocal production, Smith turned to producer Julie Wolf at the legendary Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, where CCR and Santana, among other legends, have recorded. So, everything checks out in the department of who he’s working with. The songs tell the rest of the poetic story, and Smith shows as an indie artist that he’s up there with the best of ‘em.
“Drop Kick It” is a fun-loving opener with an almost punk-country attitude. It verges on everything from rockabilly to blues. This is a really- mature track but it’s also playful enough to not take that seriously and just let it go. The horns really kick up the whole vibe, as well as the lyrics that pull no punches in the process. There’s more to it than meats the ear, and that’s where the details don’t matter. It makes way for even more fun and less seriousness on the title track, “Igniting The Flame.” This is a killer track with R&B awesome backing vocals by Vickie Randall, and they really bring out the best in this number.
Said vocals of Vickie Randall are also heavily featured on “My Soul To Keep” as well as more horns to make this a hot track and one of the best on the disc. Scott Smith adds a great contrasting low register vocal tone on this very percussive track. And her backing vocals make it even more interesting how it all bubbles along with such an exciting and jazzy instrumental backing track. This, along with the previous track are two of the stand out moments on this release. “Bullseye To My Heart’ is equally fun if a little less lyrically exciting, it still carries some of the best guitar playing on the EP. It’s still another superb tune.
And the rest keeps the same consistency with “Rolling Home” having another low register vocal to it, and once again Randall provides spot on backing vocals. This goes everywhere from Johnny Cash territory to Tom Waits in both the vocal and lyric efforts. Smith is a great wordsmith and track this is living proof of his skills in that area. It’s a rockabilly number all the way. And it all comes together as it closes out with “Eating Like Hippies” with another lyrically daring track for all it’s worth, with everyone going out on a high note. There’s no filler on this EP, so naturally there is a not a complaint in sight on this well produced release.