I've been writing music reviews for some time now and one thing is certain. You write long enough, people find you and send music unsolicited. Some are revelation, some are bust, but most are shades of gray, running on one cylinder to seven. Finding the ones which run on all eight is hard work and they are rare, but once in awhile... just once in awhile... you find one and, man, it's a rush.
Case in point. A compact disc by Bill Scorzari titled Through These Waves. Nice package, a few names I recognize playing on it but not much else to recommend it. Hadn't heard of the guy though I see in retrospect that he has had at least one previous album. The picture on the back jacket shows a dude with crumpled hat and scruffy black and white beard. Printed in shades of gray.
I'm thinking, okay, I'll listen (which costs me a lot of time because I have this spring inside me set for a minimum of ten listens if I listen at all), and I do, and all of a sudden the grays explode into full-on color. Eight cylinders and the motor is as smooth as it could possibly be. A smooth fade-in on the first track, “A Dream of You,” a gravelly voice but pea-gravel, you know? Textured rather than raspy. I think I was convinced right then and there, which does not happen all that often, but I am also leery. One track an album do not make. The second track threw me a little, a nice upbeat acoustic number titled “A Brand New Deal.” It is good enough but leaning toward the heard-it-before variety. Track three, though, picked up where Track One left off and I was in pig heaven. “Shelter From the Wind” is a breeze, a fresh one, and it gets better from there. First time through, I'm thinking that maybe my attitude regarding Track Two needs adjustment because I have heard songs before sandwiched between two exceptional ones which were plenty good but didn't quite compare, if you know what I mean.
I looped it and let it free-flow through my head. By the fourth listen, I was convinced. Bill Scorzari is a force. His songwriting is stellar, his picking above par and his voice fits his songs perfectly.
The album itself is a knockout. Producer/sideman (and notable singer/songwriter in his own right) Jonah Tolchin handled the sessions extremely well, judging by the outcome, and performances are topnotch all-around. In fact, the performances were what clicked it up to eight-cylinders. Put the headphones on and listen closely. On certain songs, there seems to be an acoustic orchestra beneath the singing and solos, each instrument needed to take the sound over the top.
I give this a solid A, top to bottom. I give “Hound Dog Diggin'” an A+ for the groove alone.
I suggest checking out his website at https://www.billscorzari.com/home.