Will Scott is a Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter and guitarist who combines elements of gospel, blues, soul and country to create his own unique take on Americana. His previous album, Gnawbone, was an astonishingly assured debut produced and co-written by alt-blues wizard Preacher Boy, who also played on most of the tracks. This time out, Preacher Boy is absent apart from one co-write, and has been replaced by a gentleman by the name of Scrote. The mysterious Mr Scrote is apparently based in Los Angeles and has previously worked with Daniel Johnston and a number of artists better known in the States. He certainly turns out to be a fine substitute for Preacher Boy and has given these recordings an agreeably uncluttered production which makes every note count and leaves the songs with plenty of room to breathe.
The album opens with White River Rising, a song about a community which has lost everything in a flood. As the record continues, we hear about other tragedies, large and small. It’s not easy to pick highlights from such a strong collection, but the most haunting track here is certainly Broken Arrow, the lament of a man whose dreams went down the drain a long time ago. Although the record rarely gets very cheerful, it’s to Mr Scott’s great credit that he writes songs of real substance and emotional depth. The other thing which really marks this artist stand out as someone special is that immense, rafter-shaking voice of his; he knows how to use it too, never sounding for a second like he’s showing off, but always like he’s genuinely feeling it. That’s true soul for you. (www.willscottmusic.com )