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  • Ian Mattey

Spotlight on Scott Nolan - Renaissance Man

Say what?

 

Definition: Ren·ais·sance man /ˈˌrenəˈˌsäns man/

noun

  1. a person with many talents or areas of knowledge.

 

Given the ragamuffin childhood and hard playin', hard livin' of Scott's early music career with Leaderhouse and Motel 75, you might be surprised by my use of this description but, my friends, I assure you it fully fits.

Sure, in a city chock-a-block full of gifted singer-songwriters, Scott Nolan stands among the very best, but did you know that Scott is also a poet, visual artist, record producer, proud pug-parent, banh-mi connoisseur, and quiet supporter of multiple good causes. And, that beard!


We've seen Scott many times. His pandemic livestreams from his kitchen table with his pug Bijou patiently waiting for a treat were food for the soul. We've seen him make musical magic with Joanna Miller and with full band,


There was a fledgling William Prince opening for Scott, then, later on, Scott playing in William's band at Festival. We've often seen Scott perform with childhood friend Cory Wolchuk - their show in Scott's mother's little church one of the most intimate and memorable of the last decade.


Then there's Scott and Glen Buhr's collaborative arrangements of Scott's songs (note: Album release for The Suburb Beautiful on June 12 at WECC)


Scott enthralled audiences in our backyard in 2020 and somehow wove a sun shower and his mother's advice on which shirt to wear into the show.


The point is that no two Scott Nolan performances are the same. Each one is a nuanced experience different than the others, even if some of the songs are ones heard before. It has been spellbinding to watch the evolution of Scott Nolan and he's a long way from being done.

 

Nolan has always penned beautiful shorthand sketches, but he reaches new heights here, creating fully realized paintings, both on his own and with writing partners such as Hayes Carll, Mary Gauthier, and Jaida Dreyer.


- John Kendle review of Silverhill album, Winnipeg Free Press

 

I've always been impressed by Scott's less-is-more approach. Bad Liver and a Broken Heart and No Bourbon and Bad Radio were the first Scott songs that caught my ear. The stripped down guitar and bluesy feel of these and other songs from that time were a welcome relief from the over-produced music that saturated the airwaves. Simple is good; simple is elegant; simple is hard because it takes real skill to make simple seem fulfilling.


Scott's music has continued to evolve incorporating his life experiences and learnings along the way on songs like Candy, Fire Up, and Bella Vista. Even more recently, songs like Arlington Street, Manitoba Skyline, The Yellow Lights of Moray, reflect the poetic, storytelling nature of Scott's music.

 

His warm, honest approach to roots rock music might make it seem like he's simply pulling out songs from a hat, and maybe he is, but I'd be willing to bet that Nolan labours over his his well-wrought tunes. Well-recorded without being over-polished, rough and ragged yet easy on the ears, Nolan has pulled off a magic trick all of his own.

- Scruffy the Yak-a Music Blog

 

Perhaps the best references you can have are those of the albums / artists he has produced in the past few years. Here's some of them:

Of these, Ben De La Cour's Shadow Land is a favourite albums of the past few years.


I could go on and on about things like his poetry (we own and recommend his book of poems Moon was a Feather), his collages (we own a few of those too), but the point is, you have to be there to 'get' the simple beauty of Scott's music.


Scott is performing along with Belle Plaine and Orit Shimoni on Wednesday, May 25th at The Park Theater in a songwriters circle called Storytellers. Tickets are just $25 and are available through Eventbrite (fees) or by RSVP & etransfer to ian.mattey@gmail.com .


Won't you join us for what promises to be a magical evening?








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