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ISSUE 119 VOL 3 PUBLISHED 9/30/2005

Soulful slips forgiven

By Aidan Currie
Contributing Writer

Friday, September 30, 2005

Six steel strings, a tambourine and one Keith Scott, blues guitarist, later, we have the Delta Blues conveniently delivered to St. Olaf's newest venue.

Scott performed last Thursday to a crowd that spilled into the hallway in the Lion Lair's second feature performance. Intimately cast in the Pause's formerly neglected corner, the Lair upheld the reputation of manager Andrew Foxwell '08 for providing acoustic satisfaction.

Blues man Keith Scott lay four on the floor with an epic 23 song set that lasted over two hours. Launching off with Slim Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," Scott set the tone for a night of blues standards, blues originals and bluesy covers.

Blues rhythms come from two places, the steady heart and the shuffling locomotive. Scott employed both, while pausing occasionally to wag a telling finger at unsuspecting audience members, as in his original "Mean Mistreater."

It wasn't until one inspired onlooker joined Scott in a call-and-response chorus that the truly evening took off. With an invigorated crowd, liberated from their initial apathetic trance, an easy going ambiance prevailed.

Scott comfortably joked with the audience about the "mean streets" of Northfield, poking fun at Minnesota's controversial gun laws.

Scott's performance, however, was far from flawless. At moments sloppy guitar work and unstructured soloing hindered his set. But the blues isn't about perfect instrumental proficiency than on the soulful proclamation of a blue spirit.

With three chords, a growling voice and a wining slide guitar Scott drew in his listeners. That honesty made up for what Scott lacked in technical precision.

And Scott won't be called a liar any time soon. His quirky stage presence, one of a middle-aged, bald white man sporting skater shoes and the working man's sweat doesn't imply deceit.

Anyone who dedicates his life to playing the blues must certainly feel, if not love, the music.

While it's doubtful Scott's been dealing with the devil, who is rumored to own the late Robert Johnson's soul, he is familiar with the forlorn redemption carried in the blues.

Clearly, his 20-year stint on the Chicago music scene has not been one of meager commitment.

His repeated encores, including accommodating several requests, displayed a thorough knowledge of his genre.

Overall, Scott's enigmatic stage presence endeared him to the crowd. People came, they sang, they clapped and they left contented.

Oles will have to wait to see if the Lair's next act will continue the trend of musical satisfaction.

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