Leicester Bangs, United Kingdom
May 24, 2012
Jeff Scott – The Long Way Home (Blue Boundary)
A native of Detroit, Michigan, Jeff Scott has recently been nominated for one of the city’s music awards; worthy recognition for an artist who initially set local radio alight with his voice, singing his original material and working with the stars of Detroit’s jazz and rhythm ‘n’ blues scenes. That was before making his national breakthrough with The Big Picture, who shared stages with Hall & Oates, Richard Marx, Smokey Robinson and many others.
He may have put his music career aside in the ‘90s to pursue business interests, but there’s no denying Scott had already paid his dues, notched up the road miles and played his share of places he’d rather not go back to. He returned to recording in 2010 with the acclaimed “Begin Again” and has cemented his come back with his brand new collection, “The Long Way Home”. It’s a fine album; Scott has a big soulful rock voice, somewhere between Steve Winwood, Scott Walker and Neil Diamond, and he writes and arranges songs that would sound perfectly at home on grown-up wireless.
Indeed, if Scott or his label is interested in suggestions for radio singles, I’m happy to oblige. “In California” provides a near perfect launch, it’s hooks are plentiful and adroit, and it possesses a chorus that sticks like industrial grade superglue. “Half-Broke Horses” is almost as addictive, and if it lacks anything in pure AOR pop smarts, it more than compensates with retro cool keys and delightful harmonies. “Burn My Bridges” is tasteful and refined, with the pulling power of a late ‘70s James Taylor classic and “Ship of Fools” is vocally gorgeous, and features some elegant brass. This is a second chance to become acquainted with Jeff Scott’s music – don’t let him pass you by this time.
HOUR Detroit Profile by Jim McFarlin (click on the link):
Jeff Scott…Begin Again (***stars)
Review by Brian McCollum, The Detroit Free Press
The stirring, Seger-esque piano prelude fittingly sets the stage for the comeback record by local singer-songwriter Jeff Scott: “Begin Again” (***, self-released) is a textbook piece of Midwest pop-rock, splashed with a touch of Nashville soul.
Once a scene stalwart with his group the Big Picture, Scott split from the music life for an ad career before recommitting himself as a songwriter two years ago. The result is this warm, 13-song album of midlife meditations and slice-of-life storytelling, with Scott’s hearty voice leading the way on gentle affirmations (“Don’t Throw Away Today”) and lofty fare (“Knight in Shining Armor”).
There’s an organic elegance to these arrangements, with fiddles, strings and gospel-girl vocals backing Scott’s unfussy melodies.
The Metro Times: THE DREAM, VERSION 2.0
What becomes of a dream deferred? Jeff Scott can tell you, it never dies. Scott, a Royal Oak native whose smoky baritone and poster-boy looks propelled him to local radio airplay and victory in a national American Idol-type talent contest in the 1980s with his band the Big Picture, left the music business out of frustration and entered the ad game, rising from copywriter to president and managing partner of his agency over a 21-year career. But the music mojo never left him, so he’s giving it a second shot in the 21st century with a new solo CD, Begin Again, a commitment to start from the bottom as a Nashville songwriter, and a showcase engagement at Bobby Higgins’ Metro Room in the Oxford Inn.
Jeff Scott – Begin Again If Jeff Scott hadn’t taken 17 years off from the music scene, Begin Again could very well have been a collection of his greatest hits. In another 17 years, it won’t be surprising to find many of the tracks from Begin Again on that future greatest hits album. Each carefully crafted song already has the makings of a classic.
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Jeff Scott – Begin Again Some people were born destined to be of an occupation. Jeff Scott was born to sing. The combination of a soulful voice accompanied with beautiful lyrics epitomizes his exceptional talent. In today’s music industry, it is often quite difficult to find that artist who is just all in all, real, because most artists’ mask behind the wonders of technology and Auto-Tune. However, in Scott’s case he can absolutely, without a doubt, belt it out. On top of all of that, from a lyrical standpoint, the conceptual way he draws you into these stories he’s telling through words is quite astonishing.
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Jeff Scott – Begin Again Whether or not it reaches the audience it deserves, Begin Again clearly has the makings of a classic album. Filled with exquisite songwriting, singing and instrumentation, Jeff Scott’s solo debut reveals the craftsmanship of an artist passionate about life and his desire to express it in song. His maturity is reflected not only in his writing, but in his apparent comfort in the blending of pop, jazz, folk, soul and country to produce a highly original, meaningful and entertaining work.
Mike Roots, Roots Reviews
Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5)