THE SELDOM SCENE
Released in June 2019, this is the latest project from the current members of this stellar, awarding-winning ensemble. Founded in 1971, the band included the late Mike Auldridge, John Duffey, and John Starling, as well as Ben Eldridge (retired) and Tom Gray (still active). Since the late 1990s, the band has included much of the current lineup with Dudley Connell (guitar), Fred Travers (resonator guitar), Lou Reid (mandolin, guitar), and Ronnie Simpkins (bass). Ron Stewart (banjo, fiddle) joined the band when Eldridge retired.
The Seldom Scene has always been known for taking tunes from a variety of sources and making them their own, whether from folk, country, and even rock. This new project is no different. The band has chosen 12 mostly familiar songs from John Prine, Paul Siebel, Steve Young, Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, Gordon Lightfoot, and Phil Ochs. Ochs penned the title-cut “Changes.” Other selections include Siebel’s “Louise,” Young’s “Seven Bridges Road,” Fogelberg’s “Morning Sky,” Gillette’s “Darcy Farrow,” Lightfoot’s “Steel Rail Blues,” Prine’s “A Good Time,” and Taylor’s “Sweet Baby James.” One cut getting a lot of air play is their version of the Fred Neil/Harry Nilsson hit “Everybody’s Talkin’.” The band is at its usual best with ’grassy acoustic arrangements that still stick close to the sound and feel of the originals. Lead vocals are shared between Reid, Connell, and Travers with some really nice performances from Travers on “Darcy Farrow” and “Changes.” Connell takes control on “I’ll Be Here In The Morning” and Reid shines on “Seven Bridges Road” and “Sweet Baby James,” which many Scene fans will recall was first recorded on the Act I album in 1972.
As usual, the band’s approach with instrumentation and harmony blends adheres closely to the Seldom Scene sound that has been the mainstay of this group for many years. (www.rounder.com)BF