Scott Sean White – Call It Even
Making his home in Texas & finding a genre of music that suits his talent, voice & persona Scott Sean White provides a debut 11-cut LP Call It Even (Independent-Drops April 23) that is at times spare yet packs a punch. The title cut was written in a similar vein as Marc Cohn (“Walking In Memphis” & “Silver Thunderbird”), & Guy Clark. There are dark-hued expressive songs (“When I Go”) as well that go deeper.
Scott sheds the trappings of commercial mediocrity. Yet, he maintains a generous mainstream nourishing distinctive singular voice. Believe me, I’ve heard many.
Vocally, White’s exceptional. Lyrically sharp, melodically masterful & unfortunately beyond what today’s country radio is accustomed to salivating over. This is where Country music should be. But they’re too preoccupied with the freeze-dried instant satisfaction that only comes when the songs adhere to formulas that pigeon-hole modern country. White is head & shoulders above that saccharine.
The guy is good. Period.
He’s a good storyteller & through his lyrics writes with vivid detail. Each number is well-played & constructed carefully (“Crazy ‘til It Works”). “Humankind,” is gospel-flavored, poignant, & realistic. Impactful as a Peter Himmelman tune (“Only You Can Walk Away”).
The songs explore the human soul when it touches upon another life separate from your own. The outcast, loner, the misunderstood. Each is soulfully invested in worn-out lives, & nostalgic moments. Many of White’s songs are riveting. Filled with an emotional vulnerability, not pulp. Much the same as singers Alex Rozum (“Summertime Girls”), Michael Dinner (“Apple Annie” & “Pale Fire”) & Dann Rogers (“Oh Savannah” & “Old Mexico”).
“Dad’s Garage & Mama’s Kitchen,” is exceptional. A condensed short story. Johnny Cash would’ve liked this. Good musicianship steadily good throughout the LP with many tunes possessing a noir-quality, haunting, moody, atmospheric tawny blend. Elements that lend an absorbing perception of things. They each display percentages of ingenuity & individuality.
“Leaves, Branches, and Trunks,” is an awkward title but the tune avoids country cliché & weaves a tale with choice words, clever turns of phrase & strong musical adhesive. This song is based more on an older tradition, but Scott realigns it with his assertive vocals in a smartly conceived manner.
The CD closes with another song typical of Peter Himmelman in “God’s Not Me.” But Scott manages to not “sound” like Peter as much as just produces his songs with the same vocal dynamic. What do I mean? Well listen to Woody Guthrie & then to Ramblin’ Jack Elliott as an example.
Scott plays (piano/keys/programs), Brian Douglas Phillips & Mitchell Smithey (pedal steel), Justin Ostrander (acoustic/electric guitars), Smith Curry (dobro), Brian Allen (upright bass/cello), Wes Stephenson & Gary Lunn (electric bass), Milo Deering (acoustic guitars), Larry Rolando (acoustic 1840 Martin guitar), Lonnie Wilson (drums), & multiple wonderful harmony & backup singers throughout.
One of the year’s best for sure.
Scott produced the 42-minute CD. Available @ https://www.scottseanwhite.com/music