Perhaps I have missed something but I don’t think of Oklahoma City, OK as being a melting pot for music of, well any kind. Not to be disrespectful to anyone living in Oklahoma but the only contribution to the musical landscape I can think of is Merle Haggard and in fact he was born in California. Oh, and of course the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Other than that… not so much. I received the new EP “Under Your Skin” from an artist who calls himself Scott AF and started at the beginning. What rushed at me was for lack of a better description was dance music. For those of you who have perhaps read my reviews in the past, you know dance music is not really my forte. I thought I might be in for a long night. Then imagine my surprise when I learned that Scott AF makes his home in Oklahoma City. Quite a juxtaposition for me to digest.
As I got further into the record I heard something that surprised even me. I must say I am glad I ventured further into it as I learned that this record has a lot going for it. It’s true the first track ‘One Step Away’ is a dance tune that would be right at home in any dance club anywhere. In addition, the track has more going for it under the surface. Lyrically it is more than I expect from dance tunes. As I continued on, it is hard for me to classify this release as a “dance record”. Many who listen to the EP might disagree with me but there are some really great elements here. It is very soulful and a very enjoyable listen, even for someone like me with two proverbial left feet. The one song that really jumps out at me is ‘Save a Little Place’ the fourth song on the EP. It’s reminiscent of some of the best R&B and Motown tracks from years past. “O” town; it has a ring to it.
Scott AF says in his bio that he has kept a purposefully low profile preferring to spend time “painstakingly crafting an inventive new sound that’s insanely infectious at every turn” and you know what, I concur. Scott goes on to say, “I’ve set out to write some killer pop songs with the lyrics of a singer/songwriter, basically something that you can’t not dance to, but crafted around an actual song with meaning.” He has succeeded most brilliantly. Reading further about Scott, I learned that he had an American Idol experience and made it past the first cut. He then states something that makes him my hero. “It was a positive experience for me, but I knew in my heart when I got there that the show would never know me as a true artist. I didn’t want to get famous off that story and stayed committed to making the music I wanted to make rather than having them mold me into what they wanted.” I have said for years now that AI represents everything that is wrong with the music business and I am glad to hear “artists” that agree. If this was the music Scott wanted to create, he surely does not need American Idol to succeed.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.