Scott Zosel – Saturday’s Child
This 9-track is quite upbeat with lots of personality. Scott Zosel has a friendly vocal with bright melodies to go along with his showcase on Saturday’s Child (Drops May 27–Independent) — dedicated to the child in all of us.
Interesting statement because I recently recalled a chilly statement my 92-year-old grandmother had told me decades ago when she sat before me. She said, “You may see a 92-year-old woman in this chair but I’m still 17 inside.” I never forgot it.
So, when I see lines like “the child in all of us,” it really matters to me. It’s true. It can be joyous & it can be scary. The Minneapolis-based Scott Zosel (vocals/electric & acoustic guitars) is a songwriter who smartly shaped his career into a style much the same way as the big names John Prine, Gordon Lightfoot, Townes van Zandt, Leonard Cohen & Gram Parsons did. He may not be as intense as some of those writers, but Scott carved out a niche that he’s comfortable with & he polished it.
The songs are basically simple in nature, but they’re appealing & listeners can relate to them easily. Scott focuses on life, personalities, characters & reminiscences with country, folk & roots ingredients.
Produced by drummer Greg Schutte the musicians include Dan Schwartz (lead & atmospheric guitars), Nick Salisbury (bass), Kelly Jordahl (backup vocals) & Tommy Barbarella (keyboards).
Scott manages to write lyrics with a storytelling narrative, poetically. It’s hard to describe the entertainment value of a performer like Scott. He’s not mainstream or commercial although his material is assessable to anyone. Good melodies & interesting lyrics inspire smiles with each listen. There’s no controversial edge or aggression in his voice. A small tint of Arlo Guthrie & Jimmy Buffett. He does mine a vein that few singer-songwriters bother to tap into. There’s no country corniness, but he does have a Dan Fogelberg appeal to his music.
Each song has a compelling intro which instantly draws one into the possibilities of the tale Scott may fire up. “I Saw the Buddha,” is a slow ballad with a smoky ambiance. Different from the others. This has more mystery & spirit & an arresting blend of percussion & atmospheric Dan Schwartz guitar. Very effective.
Does Scott need to gain attention? All performers do. Next CD — maybe he should challenge Randy Newman’s formula (“Short People”) & come up with something controversial, not vulgar, or disrespectful, just challenging. Perk up some ears. Poke the bear. But don’t lose his wink & sly grin character.
Highlights – “Brewster’s Red Hotel,” “House of Cards,” “Winter of Herself,” “Brighter Sun,” “The Day My Beauty Died” & “I Saw the Buddha.”
Color image courtesy of Scott’s website gallery. CD @ https://scottzoselmusic.com/