I like a band who can keep you interested. Especially when that band grabs your attention with “jam/ rock/ honky tonk,” musical collaboration that opens up the senses and leaves the mind feeling relaxed and the body ready to move.
That’s the feeling I got from Fayetteville-based band The Great Scotts’ newest album Rumble Fear! It’s an album unique for its musical energy.
The band explained that their free-flowing sound, the harmonization of the guitar riffs and the upbeat feeling comes from the bands’ trained, and natural, ability to feed off one another. They do exercises — one member plays a musical phrase that then each member makes their own — to perfect the free-styling techniques. This also allows them to experiment and never give their audiences the same show twice.
“We try to lock in together and really try and hear each other so we can let the music happen. That’s so hopefully we can find something we’ve never done before and we’re doing it in front of people,” said Tony Gray, guitarist and vocalist.
This practicing style came in handy when the band decided to record Rumble Fear! using analog recording equipment — the old style that requires reels, and the band playing songs straight through.
It can be an arduous task, they explained, but after about 10 hours of recording, they had filled 11 reels, each 30 minutes long. This not only means 16 tracks and over an hour of music enjoyment for the listener of Rumble Fear!, but also a deep, warm and hearty tone that analog recordings are known for. This album is a great example of how analog captures the intensity of each note as it rolls from the metal strings of the guitar, allowing the listener to simply follow where the strong tones carry them.
Their classic eccentric jam-band style and adventurous nature has grabbed many others’ attention as well. The band released the album Highnoon Saloon in 2010 that was distributed in hand-carved wooden cases that guitarist and vocalist Larry Carroll created. They sold out the 200 initial copies, and now have a second pressing of the album available online (thegreatscotts.net) and in Fayetteville at The Sound Warehouse on North Block Avenue.
The band also won a Northwest Arkansas Music Award in 2010, two years after all the current members joined musical talents, and earlier was nominated for another. They stay busy playing local shows, doing everything from AC/DC Halloween parties and Beastie Boy covers (with guest DJ’s) to whole sets of their own stuff, complete with unwritten tunes they discover as it comes pouring out on stage. And most impressively, The Great Scotts have become ingrained in the musical culture, identity and the minds of fans in Northwest Arkansas.
The album release party was held last weekend at The Stolen Glass on Center Street and College Avenue, where the band performed many of their new songs and highlighted some special guests like local band The Riflemen. Their next show will be Nov. 17 at the Smoke and Barrel Tavern on Dickson Street. That’s also where they’ll be on New Year’s Eve.
Rumble Fear! is something any music fan would want to have in their collection of albums that can unknowingly take you to a different place — or help you throw one hell of a party. Find it at The Sound Warehouse, Hastings or online.