This month sees the exclusive re-release in the U.K. and Europe of Raincoats & Other Short Stories, the latest EP from US singer-songwriter Scott Gray. Featuring re-mastered songs and a bonus track, the seven song release is a familiar croon for the heart and a picture book for the imagination which provides a rather enjoyable companion for the ears too.
Nashville based, Gray takes inspiration from the likes of Sting, Leonard Cohen, and Jamie Cullum and like them instinctively crafts his songs as stories embracing the imagination and personal experiences seeded in the broad and intimate moments in life all in some way can relate to. Musically, these adventures further blossom from their creator’s infectious fusion of pop and jazz, a blend carrying a breath as soulful as it is melodic rock energetic. Certainly artists like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr come to mind at times across Gray’s new release but more so it offers an eagerly captivating fresh and individual character.
Raincoats & Other Short Stories first embraces ears with Raincoats, a song which immediately got under the skin as the body bounced to its catchy lure of voice and piano. Gray’s fingers stroll over keys with smiling eagerness, his tones just as vibrant and enthused and almost grinning as they welcome the subsequent full spirited swing of brass and the summery sparkle of keys. The flames of the chorus add another virulent hue to the inescapably catchy encounter and thrilling start to the EP.
Maybe It’s You follows and is no less a flirtatious temptation, its more concentrated canter a joy of nagging bass and again balmy keys cast melodies. Harmonies and brass simply accentuate the track’s affectionate tale and persuasion, a growing classic rock hue another magnetic spice to its swinging heart and keenly sauntering demeanour. As its predecessor, the track quickly had us eating out of its enterprising hand before making way for the sultry charm and intimate jazz club climate of She Remains. Smoky brass joins melancholic keys alongside the reflective reveal of word and Gray’s ever alluring voice; every second of their melodic and wistful contemplation effortlessly beguiling.
Equally thoughtful and pensively mellow is Captured, a tale of dejection, determination and unstoppable romance. Though it maybe took a play or two more to tempt as those before it, the song emerges another ear and appetite ensnaring proposal persistently tempting with an almost gnarly throated sax, invigorating crescendos and Gray’s consistently potent and persuasive voice, the latter especially just as commanding and compelling within the following Someday, Gray’s latest single. Sharing a park bench with the listener watching life go by, it is a melodic musing easily embracing and sparking the imagination.
The lively infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Games You Play, a pop fuelled canter with a jazz rock bred personality and bounce that again needed little time to gain ears and participation, brings further variety to the EP before it closes up with bonus track, As If. An emotionally charged serenade of voice and sound with a fire in its heart, the song makes a fine end to a release which just grows and blossoms in ears and enjoyment play by play and is easy to see bringing a whole new audience the way of Scott Gray from this side of the big pond.
Raincoats and Other Short Stories is only available in the UK and Europe on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/raincoats-other-short-stories/1451747753
Pete RingMaster 24/03/2019
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