The Grit and the Wit
Scotty Alan used to be a punk-rocker. This underlying edge transfers to his new Americana/Alt-Country release Wreck and the Mess. It’s not necessarily that Alan has mellowed; his music and lyrics with raspy and expressive vocals are still bright with energy, still darkly funny at times. But with this new countrified sound comes a heightened emotionality, and an outlook tested and tempered by experience.
The 15 songs, arranged in narrative sequence, reflect on a relationship gone bad. From wistful nostalgia (“Remember how when I was Your Hero?”) to downright despair (“…you rot from the inside…you’re A Long Ways From Laughing”). From bemused self-deprecation (“Ain’t Much, but I’m all you got”) to narcissistic cynicism (“the next time I fall in love I’m gonna Do It Alone”). As the album progresses the singer catches glimpses of life beyond his own perplexity and loss and captures it in his own consoling dark tenderness of Barn Dance (“Life’s a long row you best call the fiddler/ As you work the dirt in the valleys and hollows/ Where all you may leave your loving wife is a widow”). From questioning his content small town placement in Dusty Hollow (“Ain’t there something worth leaving for?”) to his own lament (“Like roots that seek deep dirt it’s Sinkin’ In”) we arrive at the albums lively closer of romantic rejuvenation (Said I’m looking for Someone To Fight…the world with”).
The album was produced by Bernie Larsen and recorded at Spinout Records, Los Angeles, California in January 2011. The album features:
Bernie Larsen: producer, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap slide, keyboards, percussion, backup vocals
(Worked with David Lindley, El Rayo-X, Melissa Etheridge, Jackson Browne, Rickie Lee Jones, Lucinda Williams, Public Enemy.)
Butch Norton: drums
(Worked with Eels, Fiona Apple, Tracy Chapman, Aimee Mann, Rufus Wainwright and currently Lucinda Williams.)
David Sutton: bass
(Worked with Lucinda Williams, Liz Phair, Melissa Etheridge.)
Jorge Calderón: backing vocals
(Best known for his collaborations with Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen, Ry Cooder.)
Kristin Mooney: backing vocals
(Sang harmonies with Keith Richards, Norah Jones, Steve Earl, John Doe.)
Phil Parlapiano: accordion, mandolin, organ
(Worked with John Prine, Rod Stewart, Iris Dement, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Grant Lee Buffalo, Tracy Chapman, Lucinda Williams.)
Randy Mitchell: electric guitar
(Worked with Warren Zevon, Billy Bob Thornton, Donna Summer.)
David Lindley: fiddle, acoustic lap slide
(Worked with Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Ry Cooder, Leonard Cohen, Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen.)
Ian McLagan: hammond b3, piano
(Worked with Billy Bragg, Ryan Adams, Small Faces, Faces, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Frank Black, Chuck Berry, Izzy Stradlin, Bruce Springsteen, Rod Stewart.)
The album was mixed by Bernie Larsen and Niko Bolas (worked with Fiona Apple, Neil Young, Keith Richards, James Taylor, Warren Zevon) at The Surf Shack in Capitol Records, Los Angeles, California.
Additional engineering by Amani Smith (worked with Aerosmith, Ludacris, Method Man, Redman, Public Enemy, Busta Rhymes).
Mastering by Richard Dodd (worked with Tom Petty, The Dixie Chicks, Green Day, Steve Earle, Wilco, Kings of Leon) in Nashville, Tennessee.
Executive Producers: André Abadie and Carey Bohjanen