CD Review: Scott Southworth – Hey Hillbilly Singer! One Night Only!
by Matt Belyea for Country Music News International
Hey Hillbilly Singer.
a.k.a. Scott Southworth, an award-winning honky-tonker who resides in Nashville and has this release garnered him an Academy of Western Artists Award for Pure Country Artist of the Year & Song of the Year nominations. The musicianship on this is top notch with stellar performances of classic country instruments; fiddle, pedal steel guitar and some really great guitar playing. The vocals of Scott are beyond perfect, and the songs are familiar in the BR5-49 /Junior Brown and dare I say a tenor Randy Travis sort of way. Part of me feels that is just a bit too good, a bit to refined sometimes – but if that’s your thing you certainly won’t be disappointed by this record. I’m not going to tell you about my favorite song on this release, I suggest you listen to it and pick your own.
Here’s some selected cuts that will give you a flavor for the release.
- Nobody Leaves This Work Alive – This song has got some heavy Merle Haggard vibe going on and Scott’s voice can be a dead ringer for the man. Love the PSG & Guitar picking on this one, The attitude of the song conveys the very essence of Merle.
- Nothing to Find Anymore – Nice waltz tune with dual message that tell the story from a Vet’s perspective, and it seems from the broken marriage – truly expressive voice on this tune.
- The Honky Tonk in Me – Close mic’d and just perfect swing tune and the backing musicians are clean and tidy on this song. They hit all the turnarounds and stops with perfection.
- Hey, Hillbilly Singer – Some deep playing chops here with a lot of straight up heartbreak lyrics
- I Wish I was Here – Jimmy Buffet channeling on this tune about the beach and heartache – seems a theme is emerging where Scot is covering artists through his original tunes.
- Put Another Quarter in the Ride – Love his voice and the story is good, but what again I am starting to here is renditions of other artists style and his take on them. Although a great Randy Travis impersonation in his phrasing and delivery is great to listen to. Once.
- Last Train to Luckenbach – the most rocking number on this release is a straight up Junior Brown playbook in the storyline. Good solid song.
- Cigar Store Indian – Okay, you reached it – my favorite song on this release. I think this one comes from the heart, and you can feel it. Probably not the most politically correct title but it tells the story from the heart.
- Why Can’t Every Day be Friday Night – Peppy tune, loving the guitar playing and the band is tighter than Willie Nelson’s headband.
- I Ain’t Leaving Town – (featuring Bobby Marquez) – Good Johnny Cash-esque guitar picking on this tune. Call and response on this lament to the current state of Nashville popular music, although comes off as a bit of a bitter pill for the taking rather than a poking fun of the current state of music in the Music City.
Overall, a stellar effort by Scot and his takes on Merle, Hank, Lefty, Buck & Jones. I like this
Scot’s renditions of artists a lot. A couple of the tunes on this release I think dig into who Scot is rather than “originals in the style of other artists”. If there is something to fault it would be
that. Otherwise, a solid and great release from an aspiring Nashville artist who is winning awards for his dedication of “old school” Country music.
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