Thursday, July 8, 2010

Alison Scott

My regular readers, both of you, may have noticed I have a little fixation on Shannon Curfman. Well, the fixation is on her first album and her amazing talent, which, for the last decade, has only seen the light of day a few times. That first album, Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions, was largely produced by Kevin Bowe, and ten of the fourteen songs were co-written by him. You probably haven't heard of Mr Bowe, but the man has chops. He worked with Jonny Lang and Kenny Wayne Shepard in the 1990s, has written and produced a ton of stuff since, and is rumored to have won a Grammy, although I can't find exactly what for.

Because of my devotion to the beautiful blues on Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions, I check in on Kevin Bowe once in a while. I visited his web site on June 24. It's not terribly up to date but on one page, he posted two songs by an artist for which he's writing and producing. Her name is Alison Scott. I downloaded the songs, put them on my iPod and started to listen. The first song I listened to was Crazy Game.

Do you ever have a life-changing moment and you know it's a life-changing moment? I did.

The song starts unpretentiously but Alison's voice caught my ear right away. When she got to the chorus and belted out "Craaaaa-zy game," I was intrigued. And when the fourth line of the chorus came by and she effortlessly hit a higher register singing, "Then we'd never even have to say it," I was hooked and realized that for the rest of my life, the music of Alison Scott will never be more than a couple of clicks away on my iPod. What, you thought my life-changing moment was that I was going to become Buddhist or something?

I listened to the other free song, Babymama, and was convinced she had plenty o' talent. I found some more songs floating around on the internet and for the last two weeks, I've been listening away. Good stuff.

I asked my buddy Joel, the all-knowing master of obscure music, if he had Alison's CDs. He didn't and had only a vague inkling that he'd heard of her before but wasn't sure where. I consider this moderate irony as when I once asked, years ago, if he'd ever heard of a guy named Kevin Bowe, he reached over to a stack of CDs about 100 high and pulled out one from the middle. It was Restoration by Kevin Bowe + the Okemah Prophets. It's going to be delicious to introduce him to Alison's music.

So I found a Facebook fan page for Alison and pushed the "Like" button. She posts pretty often and said the other day that she and Kevin were going to play a free concert at Augsburg Park in Richfield Thursday night. Actually, she said, "make some noise." Guess where I was tonight?

They had a three-person set-up going, with Alison on keyboards, Kevin on electric guitar and a guy whose full name I didn't get (sorry, James) on a second keyboard. It seemed like an acoustic set even though everything was amplified. Alison was in fine voice, playing a few songs that I recognized from her CDs and introducing a few from the third CD which, she said, they'll be putting the finishing touches on tomorrow. Pretty good stuff.

During the mid-point break, I went up and purchased her first two CDs (and you thought I would download the music and listen to it for free. Hah!). Alison even graciously autographed them for me, although the downside of that is that Kay Hanley's Cherry Marmalade will no longer be the only autographed CD I have on display. Gee, too bad.

I chatted with Kevin for a few minutes, as well. I asked him about his co-writer on I Don't Make Promises (I Can't Break). The guy was listed as Kostas and I wondered if he was the same Kostas who wrote songs on a few country records I own. He said it was the same person. Nice guy, Mr Bowe. Makes great music.

The mosquitos and I enjoyed the second half of the show and headed home. I, of course, was listening to my iPod on random. The random playlist had just under 1000 songs to choose from. Ten minutes down the road, a song from Kevin Bowe + the Okemah Prophets came on. Wait a minute! I just talked to that guy! That was a fun ride home. I enjoyed The Heart of the Everything before, but I love it now.

Alison and Kevin have a few more gigs scheduled in and around the Twin Cities in the near future. If you like hearing a good singer, a bluesy-soulful one at that, I recommend you check her out.

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