Guitarist/singer/songwriter Scott Law, perhaps best-known for his stint with Darol Anger, has built a solid and growing reputation among listeners and among a circle of talented acoustic musicians. It’s not surprising then, for his debut, he’s joined by many of those players, including fiddlers Tashina and Tristan Clarridge, bassist Samson Grisman, mandolinist Dominick Leslie, banjoist Greg Liszt, and vocalist Aoife O’Donovan. Together they’ve produced an album featuring nine Law originals and two covers that run a range from straight bluegrass to folk, reels and jigs, blues, and Americana.
As a singer, Law has his moments. In the right setting, his voice and delivery can and do succeed quite well. The funky and bluesy “Get It While You Can” is one such setting. So too is his Johnny and Jack-like version of Flatt’s “I’ll Stay Around.” Best is his slow and pensive five-minute opus “Big Lightning Over Kansas.” On all of those, his voice thickens and flows and fills the aural spaces nicely. When he sings a bluegrass-type tune, which he does on three or four tracks here, he’s more average. On those tracks, his voice sounds thinner and his delivery is more clipped and less convincing.
If his singing fluctuates from average to very good, his instrumental work, indeed the instrumental work of all involved, never wavers. It is all good. Law is a very talented guitarist with a good ear for melodic invention and arranging. That’s particularly apparent on his four instrumentals: the fiddle tune “Five Pines,” “Melinda’s Reel,” the Irish jig “Bells Of Unity,” and his fingerpicked and bluesy solo guitar piece “I Remember Silas.” Those, plus the atmospheric “Big Lightning Over Kansas,” the most complete and complex tune here, make a solid foundation for this enjoyable solo debut. (www.scottlawmusic.com.)BW