By Scott Wainwright
I've been waiting for a new release from Scott a while now and when I realised his latest EP was part of a wave of fundraising for a very worthwhile local charity I was in there double-quick. Don't be fooled about the usual musicality of charity records when like here it's an artist absolutely doing what they do best and raising some commendable coin along the way.
"Redemption Blues" starts things off nicely and if you're new to Scott's music this will tell you exactly where his musical heart lies with some perfect picking and a respectable homage to the genre: the trundling guitar brilliantly evoking the dusty railroad (an approach easily cheapened by lesser exponents of the blues) and the vocals occupying just enough dark territory to transport you in time and space to somewhere far away from West Yorkshire. However there's enough attitude and breeze to remind you that this is music grown in God's own county.
"My Way Home" starts airily enough but then soon rumbles into gear. I can definitely picture the wanderer standing at crossroads when I hear this; guitar slung over his shoulder, waiting for an opportunity to make it back to familiar ground, in more ways than one. The guitar is the winding road unfolding before one or everyman's struggle: the vocals. I love a bit of slide (who doesn't?) and there's plenty of skilful stuff here; none of it ever sounding lame or laboured; it's just right. I started thinking about the prayer poem "Footsteps" while I was listening to this and without intending to go down a sentimental route that triggered thoughts about the charity benefitting from this release. I'm a lucky soul and wander aimlessly about the planet the majority of the time but plenty of people need a hand. I knew that anyway but sometimes music just brings things home in undeniably crystal fashion.
"Cease All Fear" touches more plainly on Scott's faith than elsewhere on this release but like I've said before about his music the subject does nothing to detract from the quality of the piece. Also let's not forget how important the bible and redemptive matters are to the whole history and narrative of the blues. Without faith the blues would either sound very different or they wouldn't exist. Either way this is a subtle and uplifting track that I can't wait to hear performed live. (I really do need to get to see this guy play - it's well overdue!)
"Hard Times Blues" has a bluesy grit and a bouncy step to it that made me love it immediately: a great way to finish things off. The production throughout the EP is simple and crisp offering great intimacy but the strength at the heart of this song enhances those personal touches even more. Melodically too it's probably the smoothest track which if out-and-out blues isn't your thing you should probably buy the EP just to hear this one song. You won't be disappointed and you'll be doing a good thing too.
You can download the EP for the very reasonable price here http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/scottwainwright6 . To find out more about the utterly brilliant Oliver Field Appeal which aims to help Oliver and other children bravely battling Neuroblastoma you only need to click on this link http://www.theoliverfieldappeal.co.uk/ to remind yourself how lucky most of us are to be in a position where we can do something to help parents like Laura and Paul with the fight they have on their hands.