July 01, 2004
BY JASON SONGE
At the apex of “Corkscrew,” R. Scully raised his arms to the sky in an energetic outburst and sang the silly, falsettoed, party theme one last time. It’s normal to see R. Scully’s other band, Morning 40 Federation, in a manic uproar about the wonders of alcohol, but the levity of “Corkscrew” was an anomaly Thursday night at d.b.a. Acoustic guitarist Scully was backed by electric guitarist Dave Duncan, drummer Mike Andrepont, bassist Steve Calandra, and organist Andy Severmo.
Scully preferred down-low, country/rock with a smidge of gospel. The plaintive lyrics dealt with the problems of love and everyday life. The songs were reminiscent of honky-tonk sounds Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy brought to the mainstream rock arena. In fact, Scully’s scarred, gravely voice reminded me of Tweedy and Dave Pirner. Pirner’s grammy-winning producer, Trina Shoemaker, watched Scully sing songs off his self-titled debut album, which she also produced.
Scully and his band started late, but they delivered a gripping performance. Scully didn’t talk to the crowd much. Duncan complemented Scully’s solemn mood, but he pulled out a rocking solo occasionally. Severmo added a spiritual feeling to the songs with his organ, and he also provided a dancehall vibe with an old-school Grand piano sound if the number called for it.
A crowd formed thirty minutes before Scully began. There was a lot of buzz surrounding R. Scully, and rightfully so. He put together a talented band to play his well-crafted songs. It was a great concert. Here’s to R. Scully becoming a sure bet.