If you have happened to see a Buddy Guy show over the last ten years, you have more than likely left the show asking, "Who is Buddy's sideman?" Well his name is Scott Holt and he has just released his solo debut titled "Dark of the Night." And it is obvious why Guy has kept Holt at stage left for the past decade.
Scott Holt can play and it is evident with one listen. Holt's live trademark is his take on the rockin' blues tune "Come On." A song often done by the late Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And while "Dark of the Night" has plenty of blistering fretwork, Holt plays more by playing less.
This is apparent from the first track "Five Women." A Prince cover song that Holt turns inside out into a smoldering blues tune. One of the benefits of playing along side of Guy is having someone who has established an easily identifiable tone. Not to say that Holt's tone and touch are near one-note recognition, but his sound is shaped. The album is not straight-ahead 12 bar blues, but has more of a blues rock kind of feel.
While "Dark of the Night" only contains one original track penned by Holt, the album still has an original feel to it. The covers, that Holt chooses, fit. By no coincidence, "Breakin' Up Somebody's Home," which features Guy, all out smokes. It is obvious that both Holt and Guy are comfortable with each other. Other covers range from Bob Dylan's "You Gotta Serve Somebody" to John Lee Hooker's "Dimples" to Ray Charles' "I believe to My Soul." Holt does them all justice by throwing in a touch here and there that catches the ear by surprise.
The overall sound and playing on "Dark of the Night" is rock solid. The Scott Holt band includes Derek Wiseman on drums, Drew Wiseman on keyboards, and Chris Kent on bass. The album is completely bolstered by the presence of Double Trouble, which consists of Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon, and Reese Wynans. Also sitting in on three tracks are Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell from Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys. The list of guest musicians is a testament to Holt's ability.
So if you dig great blues music with a sensational backing band, check out Scott Holt's new one and realize why Guy has kept him to himself for the past decade.
Record company webpage: www.mysticmusic.com
This review is copyright © 1999 by Jeff Fields, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.