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Thursday, 27 March 2014

Matt Scott - Stairway Songs (From Hillfoot Avenue, Rutherglen)

There’s many ways to listen to music.
Some are perfectly adequate and lend themselves to being used to spread the sound out in the background while you do this or that.
Think of the radio, the television tuned to a music channel, an i-pod docked and a PC playing a CD.
Then there are the earbud headphones and mp3 players for when we want to sit on public transport and look to drift away from our surroundings.
And then at the top are the audiophiles stereos designed to take the music and immerse you in it.
Best of all is when you use the latter with quality headphones.
Music that you liked you love, music that tugged emotionally at you instead draws something from deep within you, and if you want to get lost in a song this is how you do it.
And it’s with headphones clamped to my head that you can hear Matt Scott’s ‘Stairway Songs’ blossom into life.
It’s an immersive experience that is difficult to convey with words.
An experience that takes you directly into the room with Matt and his brother John as they snatched at something a bit intangible and ultimately managed to do what so many others fail to and captured a moment in time.
There’s are no frills to the recording and it could be described as coming from the bootleg end of the spectrum rather than that of the polished studio, but in this instance that is a strength rather than a weakness.
Close your eyes and the sound fills your head, everything else fades, and there you are.
There’s no cackling hen nights intruding with their chatter, there’s no drunk at the bar roaring his order at a busy bartender and the recording simply brings you in to directly engage with the music on a one to one basis.
There’s been much said about the traditional qualities that Matt Scott brings to his music.
A rich tapestry that begins in the cotton fields with the blues, that then coasts over the dustbowl with the sound of the folk protest singers floating on the wind before settling on the blue collar rock of the US with its home grown Frankie Miller rasp and the barfly eulogies of an early Tom Waits flavouring it all, but it’s worth pulling back from all of that and listening to the lyrics, and how Matt address them vocally, as that’s where the power lies
With six tracks recorded in a hallway between either one or two microphones, depending on what John Scott was looking for, the pair of them have genuinely turned in a body of work that should be able to pull a great deal of positive praise as the session quite literally stands head and shoulders above a very large percentage of music that I hear that is classed as part of the folk/blues genre.
It’s actually difficult for me to lay claim to this as I am personally friendly with Matt and could be accused of gilding the lilly for a mate, but if you want to hear what undiluted talent sounds like, the real deal prior to it being manipulated to suit the bland taste buds of a mass market then you need look no further.

This is an astounding recording and I am very proud to have played a very small part in bringing it forward to this stage just by being a sounding board to a young man who really deserves a great deal of recognition.

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