Award-winning singer to play Roseville café
When: 7:30-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 4
Where: Acoustic Den Café, 10271 Fairway Drive, Suite 120, Roseville
While the name Hilary Scott might at first conjure images of the “other" Hillary Scott, lead singer of the band Lady Antebellum, the former is a rising country music star in her own right – a YouTube sensation and award-winning creator of the Rural Roots Music Commission’s Folk Album of the Year “Flowers from Mars.”
Scott has toured extensively across America, Europe and Asia promoting her most recent album, “Freight Train Love,” recorded with Johnny Lee Schell. Her song, “And Just,” took the award for best song at the Festival Degli Autori international division, in Sanremo, Italy.
The Press Tribune caught up with Scott from her home on an island in the Puget Sound, Washington, to discuss her Nov. 4 show at the Acoustic Den in Roseville.
Your voice reminds me of singers in the 70’s that sounded like women, like Rita Coolidge, and it’s so unlike the squeaky, screechy girls all over the radio now. Is it harder or easier to find an audience who appreciates that?
I feel like people want sound bites…not lyrics with meaning. It can be kind of tough to find the listeners that are willing to invest and give it a little more time and attention.
As a songwriter, who are the other songwriters that you really respect?
I actually really love Patty Griffin. For me, she sort of represents the ultimate in storytelling songwriting that always feels autobiographical, because she’s so personal. But you know, she’ll write from the male perspective, and she writes stories that are obviously not her personal life, but everything she does just feels so real and approachable and yet her writing is just astoundingly poetic. I really respect her, and she sort of has that classic country vibe. Definitely I’d call her Americana and more indie, but at the same time she sort of she captures what was really good about country music when it started, which is that it was the music of the people. It wasn't dumbed down, it was just real.
People get surprised when I say Peter Gabriel, but he is, in my mind, a composer, not just a songwriter, and he’s traveled the world and always chooses amazing musicians … and he’s really into rhythm. I find that really inspiring and I think he’s a great poet.
How do you think your writing has evolved in the last 15 years?
Well, I’ve become more confident as an artist in terms of my voice. So oddly enough that’s resulted in fewer songs that are purely autobiographical. It used to be like, ‘OK, write what you know,’ and what I knew were my stories. Now I’m kind of going back to more of my history, that I was a prose writer, and what I really loved doing was writing short stories – that was my favorite form … And also my compositional skills have changed, so I feel like the way I put together a song is just stronger. I think I’m more of a storyteller now than I used to be.
Is there a song that really changed your perception of what a song could be?
Yeah, actually that was Peter Gabriel. I was 14, and I bought (the album) “So” because of “In Your Eyes” … I’d seen (the film) “Say Anything” …and I finally got to the song “This is the Picture,” and all these other songs that were just so different. You know the back half of that record is so different than the front, and that kind of opened my eyes to how unusual and different the approach to music could be with a songwriter.
Are there singers are artists that you've admired and been fortunate enough to meet or perform with?
Yeah. Some of the artists that I really enjoyed and got to meet are Judy Collins. That was that was wonderful; she is still just as brilliant as ever. I opened for Beth Orton once. I love her and her songwriting, and that was very cool. I got to open for Chuck Berry and meet him – that was amazing.
What do you have planned for the Acoustic Den Café?
Well, we love intimate show settings, so I think where we connect the most with people is when I have the opportunity to tell a lot of stories and I love. That’s probably one of my favorite things to do, is to talk about the music, talk about the inspiration behind songs and hopefully make people laugh. They’re going to get probably the best of that sort of house-concert vibe, where we’re really getting a chance to connect with people. That’s probably what they’ll experience, and then musically, me on keyboard, guitar, violin, vocals; my husband on mandolin and percussion, small drum setup. So they’re going to get a pretty wide range of cool musical stuff.