Scott Strickland is not only an artisan of his craft – when he’s not busy sharing the stage with some of Texas’ biggest acts – or playing on some of Texas’ biggest stages including the famous ACL Stage (twice in December 2022) with his incredible powerhouse band, he’s playing local shows at breweries testing out new material, live streaming his solo shows.
If Scott were to post up with his guitar at a New York subway transfer station—or downtown Austin, for that matter, he might put a dent in the local economy with the number of people who stuck around to listen. Exploring love, loss, heartbreak, desire, self-doubt, ambition, and anxiety his debut self-titled LP, finds strength in vulnerability – and that vulnerability is his armor.
Relocating to Austin in 2013, forming the ‘Scott Strickland Band’ and releasing two critically acclaimed EPs ‘Fly to the Sun: The Eastern Sun Sessions (2015)’, and ‘Try This Love (2016)’, both undoubtedly had comparisons to contemporaries Seal, or Dave Matthews – but trust that if you could sing this way, you would sing this way. Despite his aesthetic, when Scott’s idiosyncrasies shine through the music, it’s so easily absorbed that one may overlook its sophistication, to that reminiscent of Ritchie Havens, Bill Withers, David Crosby or Joni Mitchell (albeit with a thoroughly modern sound).
Through Scott’s forth-coming self-titled LP, while the intuitively rhythmic guitar playing is still present, Scott outsourced much of the heavy lifting to an excellent rhythm section, majorly from Mike Ingber (Drums) and Eric Harrison (Bass) who both also produced the album. The lyrics are more personal. The sounds seemingly crash together in ways a contemporary Rock/Pop record wouldn’t expect, both with a bright and airy vibrant timbre, but also an infinitely dark and lush tone reminiscent at times of Jeff Buckley, partly because of the string quartet arrangements by Andy Nolte and the endless tone chasing of electric guitars in the studio resulting in more of a Rock/Pop/R&B effort than just another singer/songwriter record.
“Going through my divorce and the complete and utter heartbreak it caused me, I went into the studio everyday, sometimes not knowing what we were going to get, but knowing I didn’t want to compromise a single note or take. I wanted to give everything to this creative process. I wanted to find light in the darkness”, says Scott. Each generation of listeners will encounter these ancient challenges in their own contemporary context, but each generation will also have its own troupe of artists and troubadours to help them explore the incalculable weight of these emotions. Making his debut LP during Covid – along with dealing with the most challenging times of his life, Scott does indeed have more to offer in terms of expanding the genres of Rock, R&B, and Pop – as well as a bigger story to tell – and Scott is well deserving of a place among of those that so famously and fearlessly came before him.
– Matt Sullivan