Kudzu. If you have spent any time in the glorious southern United States, you’ve seen this stuff. It’s also referred to as “the vine that ate the south” and “foot-a-night vine”. This stuff will take over and cover anything that is maintained. I’ve watched it climb hills and mountains, turning bare rock and terrain into a heavily-vined jungle.
It was the perpetual growing attribute of this aggressive greenery that inspired the name of Scott Holt’s latest album, Kudzu. As Scott says in his liner notes on the album, “These songs are stories and our stories are everywhere. Like kudzu, from birth to death our stories never stop growing.”
If Holt is a new name to you, you’re not alone. I only recently became aware of him myself thanks to his PR guru, Steve Karas (a million eternal thanks to him for turning me on to Scott). The reader’s digest version of the history of Scott Holt is: a) he’s a Tennessean (which, as far as I’m concerned, automatically makes him a very cool guy); b) was turned on to playing the guitar in his teens after hearing Jimi Hendrix music; c) his dad took him to see a Buddy Guy show where he was fortunate to meet the blues legend and strike up a friendship with him (again, like being a Tennessean, makes him a pretty cool guy in my book); d) at the tender age of 18, Holt is invited to play in Buddy Guy’s band (again, like being a Tennessean – ah, you get the point); e) that gig lasted ten years before he branched out on his own.
Now that I’ve brought you up to speed on Holt, here’s the deal on Kudzu: All but one (That Girl) of the eleven tracks on Kudzu is written or co-written by Scott. Expertly produced, the album showcases Holt’s triple-threat talents perfectly, displaying his versatility in playing and genre. Case in point: Tunes like, Living In Fear, could lend itself to a country interpretation, not surprising me one bit if someone on Nashville’s Music Row encourages one of their clients to cover this tune. It has all the makings of a country hit.
Each of the other cuts on Kudzu are gems as well. Some of my personal favorites are:
Outlines is a musical feast that, in my mind, drips with subtle flavors of Hendrix. It opens with a If Six Were Nine kind of vibe with the chorus reminding me a bit of Crosstown Traffic with the foundational guitar work being pure Holt.
The Fool is one of those mellow blues tunes that begs to have the repeat button of your player taped down so that you can listen to it a good fifteen or twenty times. You can definitely feel that influences of Buddy Guy and B.B. King on this track. If it were possible to wear out digital music like one used to be able to do with vinyl records, this cut would no longer exist on my player from all the play I’ve given it. Yeah, I kinda like that tune – a lot.
S&M is a low down and gritty rocker that, I’m pretty darn sure, has to be a real crowd-pleaser in Holt’s shows. If the live version of his blistering, white-hot guitar licks on this tune are anywhere near this good, it would have to leave the crowd exhausted.
Scott Holt is definitely someone you’ll want to follow as he’s a remarkable talent who will be around for a very long time. You can check out his latest news and tour dates by visiting www.scottholt.com. While you’re at it, check out some of the video on YouTube of his performances. This guy is great and worth following.