2013 - Citizens Voice

Boz Scaggs discovered music early

BY KRISTEN GAYDOS (STAFF WRITER )- Published: July 4, 2013

When it comes to what first attracted him to music, Boz Scaggs finds it impossible to truly pinpoint.

"I have no idea. I think it's one of the great age old questions - what is music, and why does it attract," he said.

The musician began performing in grade school music lessons, where he picked up his first instrument, the cello.

"It so absorbed me. I loved the sound of it. I loved learning how to read music, and I guess I was pretty good at it," Scaggs said. "I just loved it."

Scaggs brings his continuing passion for music to the stage Saturday at Misericordia University's Under the Stars Summer Arts Festival. The show starts at 8 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Amphitheater at the campus on Lake Street in Dallas.

Though his family moved, and the next school he attended didn't offer music lessons, Scaggs said he remembers those early days as one of the most wonderful influences in his life. It drove him to pick up the guitar as a teenager, eventually playing in bands - including with classmate Steve Miller - while attending high school. It soon became more than just a passion.

"I'm like a lot of musicians, a lot of people I know. I grew up playing an instrument, and that's what we really like to do," Scaggs said. "That's why most musicians make it our profession. That's why we are what we are, and why it's what we do."

Scaggs himself went on to travel the world, performing with the Steve Miller Band for two of its albums before signing a contract as a solo artist. After several critically acclaimed albums, he won a Grammy for best R&B song in 1977 for "Lowdown" off his "Silk Degrees" album.

Throughout his career, Scaggs has explored blues, R&B, rock and jazz. His latest album, "Memphis," came out earlier this year with a combination of classics like "Rainy Night in Georgia," "Corinna Corinna," and "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl," and a couple originals. The title also reflects some of his heritage -his father, grandparents and wife are all from the Tennessee city.

Scaggs teamed up with producer and drummer Steve Jordan for the musical retrospective. The two first worked together a dozen years ago, Scaggs said.

"I always admired his work and drumming, and his productions, and we agreed to try and get together sometime," he said, adding they both decided independently they wanted to record at Memphis' Royal Studios, a place they both love.

They decided on the musicians they wanted to work with, and then spent a couple weeks trading suggestions for material.

"There were no real criteria at all for what that might be, just songs that we like. And we got together, and we had given ourselves 10 days to record," Scaggs said. "After three days, we realized we did all the tracks we needed. The fourth day, we did some horns and strings, and the fifth day, we went home."

They ended up including some songs on the albums that they thought would connect with the audience, including "Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl" and "Cadillac Walk."

"There's a song that I wrote for the record, called 'Gone Baby Gone,' which actually is one of my favorites," Scaggs said. "Just because it's one of the first songs I've written in a few years and I like the way it turned out."

In addition to making music, Scaggs and his wife Dominique oversee their own wine label, Scaggs Vineyards. The San Franciscans became interested in wine making after purchasing a getaway home in Napa Valley, Scaggs said.

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