Scott Evan Davis
June 7, 2016
Reviewed by John Hoglund for Cabaret Scenes
In his liner notes on his latest CD of original songs, Next, Scott Evan Davis notes, “…not until we stop and live in the moment, realize the present… do we truly know what next step to take.”
Those profound words sum up a lot of what his songs are about on this special disc. With sumptuous orchestral arrangements by David Snyder, along with some terrific singers, this album is a special entry in today’s market of too often lackluster songs with minimal depth. Here, each cut tells a story or makes a simple statement worthy of attention. The songs have been artfully interpreted by singers and an impressive ensemble.
Aside from his innate intelligence, Davis writes with emotional insight and a sensitivity that sets him apart. One of the best examples of this is “Save Me the Rose,” a beauty, performed here by Karen Mason (produced by Paul Rolnick), “… I see you in every thing/The winters are much too cold… I’ll make new friends/maybe live near the sea.” Such aching heartbreak offers a hopeful message of moving on. This is typical of Davis’ natural passion for the emotion that comes with loss. The same goes for “Someone Else’s Eyes” sung by Robert Cuccioli. Again, a lost love is explored with a positive awareness that is palpable. This is Davis’ calling card in nuanced matters of the heart.
Showing a frolicsome, lighter side, “Everyone Has a Vice” is a silly ditty about assorted transgressions and coping devices used against life’s stresses, such as a bong, drinking, using a husband’s credit card and anonymous sex, “… habit’s an addiction … something to feed the soul.” It’s timely, fun and makes a valid point with a wink. “Sail On” is an enlightening, longing ballad sung with great feeling by Jamie Hartmann about coming to America “… Away, away, I’ll not be afraid… Let me taste the freedom/Be a part of it all.” It also shows Davis’ versatility and the promise of what lies ahead for this exceptional composer. Closing the disc, the title cut is sung by Joshua Lance Dixon in an emotional reading that is perfectly stated. His interpretation and the song itself suggest the vocal equivalent of a slowly unfolding flower that opens in splendor, “… what happens next – is now!” Other cuts are diverse and filled with emotions and ragged truths that echo the age we live in by a truth-teller who’s not afraid to open his heart in song.
In a league with John Bucchino, Julie Gold and David Friedman, who have made impressive marks, the future of Scott Evan Davis is looking brighter than ever. Artists searching for rock-solid material for their next show would be wise to check out this man’s growing canon of greatness. He is one of a handful of new songwriters who makes sense.