The Wizardry of Boz
Scaggs brings a mixed bag of music to the Peace Center
[By Donna Isbell Walker - Entertainment Writer - June 27, 2008]
But the song that most encapsulates who he is as a performer is the song that introduced him to many fans back in 1976, Lowdown.
The soulful song anchored his best-selling album, the quintuple-platinum Silk Degrees, and it still resonates for fans and for the singer, Scaggs said recently.
That particular song, Scaggs said, chatting over the phone from Philadelphia, has probably served me in more situations than any song Ive ever written. Its a very natural song to my vocal range. Its really easy for me to sing (and), it draws from the blues, its got a little jazzy influence. Its something that just probably is the most satisfying of all the songs that I do. ... It was the first big hit off that record, and it connected me to a type of music and a style more than anything.
Famous songs like Lowdown are the kinds of things fans are likely to hear at the Peace Center on Tuesday, along with a little bit of blues a mixed bag, he calls it.
While Scaggs has branched out into many musical directions over the years, hes concentrating on the familiar stuff for this tour.
The standards and his jazz-flavored material, which are more challenging to Scaggs as a vocalist, are better suited to a music festival setting than a headline tour, he said, adding that his eight-piece band offers a good showcase for the more popular material. And, Scaggs adds, while he is performing songs that are 20 or 30 years old, they arent exactly the same pieces of music that they were when he wrote them.
Theres to some degree a literal reproduction of those songs, but theyve evolved over time. Theyve evolved with each new musician I get in my band. They have a life of their own. I work with great players, and the songs just have a vitality that I think people like, he said.
Next up for Scaggs is another album of pop standards, due out in September, and after that he hopes to put on an R&B disc. But the singer said he is always working on songs, and on becoming a better musician all around.
During the 1980s, Scaggs took a long hiatus from the music business, which continues to rejuvenate his work, even 20 years later, he said.
Its like when you go on vacation. You get away from your routine, your daily life, he said. That separation allows you to get rid of some old habits and perhaps youre inspired to try something new. That time away for me was probably invaluable in that I wouldnt be doing what Im doing today if I hadnt had that time to get away from it all. I didnt know whether I had a place in music anymore. There wasnt any music in me. ... And then it started to come back, it started to creep back. The passion I had for music as a kid started to come back, and I was inspired to play it again and write it again.