Richard Scott’s professional musical career began in the late 1970’s and he quickly established himself as an in-demand live performer with appearances in New York and Las Vegas, among other important venues. He’s logged significant time both as a solo artist and band member in various outfits and later led to award winning work and Grammy nominations in the early years of the 21st century. Scott was forced, in those same early years of the new century, to take a number of years off so he could attend to family matters, but his return to active work as a singer and songwriter highlights this multi-instrumentalist’s talents for those who may not be familiar with him and will undoubtedly please those well versed with his work. The latest single penned by Scott, “Keeper of My Heart”, illustrates the unique synthesis of styles defining his work.
There’s an intimacy in the production that will engage listeners from the first. There’s some nervy, blues-soaked guitar fills that have great physicality while never threatening to overshadow other parts and the combination of keyboards and piano gives the songwriting a solid underpinning to carry off the track’s recognizable changes. The drumming gives the performance some great swing that contributes to the bluesy feel of the first version. There’s a doo-wop version of the track concurrently released with the single as a quasi “B side” that swings even wider, but switches out the aforementioned guitar work for some vivid horn playing. Both versions keep their eyes resolutely on the musical ball and never waste the listener’s time, but the true joy of both versions is hearing how tightly Scott’s voice integrates itself with the music. This is clearly a singer who pays close attention to the surrounding music and endeavors to sing with the musicians rather than playing his voice off against the playing.
The doo-wop version features a more emphatic vocal, but both vocal performances show off the right amount of fire at the right time and never crosses the boundaries of good taste and restraint. His voice has great warmth and sustains the right notes without ever placing a foot wrong. The chorus, in particular, is a high point for Scott’s singing. The lyrical content has impressive conversational eloquence without ever falling into obscurity – Scott’s lyrics will resonate with a wide base of listeners without ever seeming too personal, though there’s little doubt that the narrative of this track must surely come from his everyday life. There’s no doubting his sincerity and the ambition of the song, low key but present, aims to lay his heart bare for listeners and succeeds spectacularly well. “Keeper of My Heart” doesn’t seek to remake the musical wheel, but does resound with the confidence and skill listeners will associate with a performer who is working at a much higher level than most. The youthful exuberance of the lyrics and his mature presentation make for a very enjoyable listening experience.