"Dark Of The Night" is the debut solo recording by 33 year old Scott Holt on Mystic Music and the follow up to 1998's, "Messin' With The Kid," on EMC Records. While few people may be familiar with The Scott Holt Band, anyone who has seen Buddy Guy perform live over the past ten years will recognize Holt as the fiery second guitarist in Buddy Guy's road band.
Holt personally describes "Dark Of The Night" as a blues album. However, the songs on the album indicate that the recording offers a much broader range of music, including compositions by everyone from boogie master, John Lee Hooker ("Dimples') to the man with a symbol for a name ("Five Women"). Only the title track, "Dark Of The Night," was written by Holt.
One of the most notable things about the CD is that there are essentially three different bands backing Holt on the eleven songs. The CD's opening number, "Five Women," finds Holt backed by Mitch Mitchell (drums) and Billy Cox (bass), former sidemen for the late Jimi Hendrix. The CD ends with this combo as well on Bob Dylan's, "You Gotta Serve Somebody." In between, Holt's mentor and friend, Buddy Guy, joins the group for a nice rendition of "Breakin' Up Somebody's Home," a road staple from Buddy's show.
Four additional songs; "Train In Vain (Stand By Me)," Ray Charles', "I Believe In My Soul," "Dimples" from John Lee Hooker and the Otis Rush penned, "Right Place, Wrong Time," feature Holt backed by Reese Wynans (keyboards), Tommy Shannon (bass) and Chris Layton (drums); better known as Double Trouble. The late Stevie Ray Vaughan's backup band provides their trademark backbeat to compliment Scott's screaming guitar licks.
Finally, Scott Holt's regular band, comprised of Derek Wiseman (drums), Drew Wiseman (keyboards) and Chris Kent (bass), complete the musical package; backing Holt on the remaining songs, including the Holt composition, "Dark Of The Night" and the Hendrix classic, "Crosstown Traffic." It would be interesting to know why this song wasn't performed on the CD by the Holt and the Hendrix alumni band.
Holt's guitar shines throughout the CD and his vocals are strong as well. His style and sound is clearly reflective of his long standing relationship with Buddy Guy, as well as his influence based on the guitar work of Hendrix, Vaughan and Magic Sam, among others.
Assuming that "Dark Of The Night" is a reflection of Scott Holt's power as a solo performer, it is clear that he is coming ever closer to a point where he will be leaving the friendly confines of Buddy Guy's band and stepping out more on his own. "Dark Of The Night" is definitely a keeper and shows off Scott Holt's exceptional talent on guitar.
This review is copyright © 1999 by Dave "Doc" Piltz, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved.