The Basement is not easy to find. Walking from my car up a dark, residential side street and back down the alley to the gravel lot, there are often patrons confusedly searching for the graffiti and sticker-laden porch entrance. The heavy drone of the cozy, underground, kind-of-dank venue eventually attracts the stragglers.
Tonight, the Basement is teaming with industry professionals, just descended from the party upstairs at the Madison House agency. There are also die-hard attendees of New Faces Night, lucky to be here for a free performance by the Taylor Scott Band. They have just signed to Madison House, and the small Nashville office is rallying behind them.
Scott fronts the band with a subdued gusto. Nothing flashy, but that man can play. They start with three songs off “All We Have,” their summer release. Scott’s soulful voice and strong jazz stylings of the driving bass of Patrick McDevitt and drums of Larry Thompson; Scott’s longtime organist, John Wirtz, plays voluminous riffs. Scott stops the performance and chats with the intimate crowd, “Here’s one off the new album,” it’s called “Leaning Tree.” Applause floods the cinder block-walled basement as they finish the show with another three off “All We Have.”
Speaking with Scott after the performance, I learn that his next project is still a long ways off, but signing to Madison House has transformed his writing process. “It used to be all on me,” he says, “I was hustling every day: writing, practicing, booking gigs.”
Having an agency has allowed him to focus on the art of storytelling and introspection. When asked if listeners will hear similar themes as “All We Have,” Scott says, “I will definitely still make comments on our societal quirks, but I’m learning how to open up.”
“Stress limits my artistic time,” says Scott. “Having the Nashville team behind us allows more time to become better writers, singers, and players. Madison House is a perfect match.”
Any project from Scott and his band, however, will feature some of the same: The music will bend definitions of genre, and it will be played very well. “My guys all have deep wells of influence,” Scott says, and having worked with some of them since he was a teenager. Their styles mingle, creating a unique “brand of Americana.”
When Scott first started performing in his mid-teens it was all about the Blues: Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Eric Clapton. He soon realized that the stories they were telling weren’t his own, and he began to form his own style, though never letting go of the powerful emotion of the Blues. His performances and recordings flow through Blues, Jazz, Country, Folk, and Rock, but always center around the soul of Scott’s guitar.
This particular night in Nashville, the heart of Country music, the Colorado Natives’ Southern roots show – Scott’s vocals seem to have an extra twang. “It is important to really perform in Nashville,” he says. “People here really care about the music they are seeing.” Not only do they care about the quality of music, but how well the songs are written. “It’s not like playing Cerventes or Be on Key in Denver.” He laughs. “The focus out there is on the jam. Here, you need the whole package.” But he doesn’t favor one over the other. The bottom line for Scott is sharing his music, no matter where or how.
After impressing the local crowd at the Basement, Scott spent a few days in meetings before playing again at Nashville’s legendary 3rd & Lindsley. There, he did a set and sat down for an interview with WMOT, Roots Radio’s Whit Hubbard. The band left early the next day to continue their United States tour to their native Denver, through the first blizzard of the season.