A veteran’s touch is always distinctive. There’s a certainty and understated swagger surrounding their songwriting that never beats its chest or ballyhoos its presence. Instead, the fundamentals just come through, confidence never wavers, and the artist’s command of their particular skill set is steady. Richard Scott has been involved with music throughout his adult life and only a break to attend to his family’s needs briefly short-circuited his career. He’s returned, however, with an album entitled Dreaming of You serving notice that his talents remain undimmed. His latest single, “Keeper of My Heart”, equally reminds music listeners that Scott’s songwriting and vocal talents are among the modern music world’s best kept secrets. This multi-instrumentalist has reached the full bloom of his creative powers. Anyone who enjoys skillful and deeply felt music will find favor with Richard Scott’s output.
The release comes in two versions. The first is a rollicking, surprisingly bluesy number replete with quasi-barrelhouse piano and an effortless swing. Keyboards drop in some key fills during the song but never over-extend their presence. The changes are relatively predictable, but in the best possible way. Sometimes laying a track out like this is a mistake – the turns, invariably, sound clichéd and lack any sort of verve. However, there’s a way to make these changes achieve a pleasing sort of inevitability and the key to this lies in presentation. Scott has covered all possible bases without ever unduly cluttering the arrangement. The keyboards and piano never vie for sonic supremacy but, instead, neatly dovetail into the song’s other elements and complement the vocal quite well. The arrangement, likewise, maintains a keen focus throughout and Scott’s songwriting resists any of the side shows and self-indulgence capable of sinking lesser creative minds.
His vocals and lyrics match up rather nicely as well. Scott wisely refrains from aiming for big vocal moments on the track and, as a result, it makes the song’s familiar sentiments ringing truer than they might otherwise. His phrasing, however, doesn’t lack emotion. Instead, Scott takes a studied, yet never over-wrought, approach and his patient development of the song rings even truer for the listener thanks to that decision. The doo-wop version of the song swings even harder than the first version and has a lively bounce that will hook listeners in from the first. The vocal is even a little livelier than the first version, but Scott continues to show just enough tastefulness to avoid histrionics. The arrangement dispenses with the guitar touches heard in the first in favor of some bright colorful flourishes from horns. These two performances will re-introduce Richard Scott to some listeners in the best possible way and, for novices, serve up a highly entertaining musical dish that’s likewise full of substance and unquestionable sincerity. The veteran’s touch mentioned in the first paragraph is stamped with tangible authority on this song and his audience will be in good hands from the first note onward.