Scott adds soul to Christmas

Published 7:01pm Saturday, November 30, 2013
Austin Daily Herald

Alison Scott is ringing in the Christmas holiday and she’s taking two roads to a final destination that will have you tapping your foot to a truly unique Christmas musical experience.

Scott and her six-piece band recently dropped their first-ever Christmas album “A Soulful Christmas,” which is also the name of the accompanying concert series that will make stops in seven different venues throughout Minnesota, including stops in Rochester and Zumbrota.

The effort has been helped with a Kickstarter campaign to help pay the special guests that will be popping up throughout the tour. The campaign, as of Tuesday, was almost 50 percent of the way to the goal.

A Christmas album has been something Scott and the band have toyed with for awhile, both from their own stand-points and from an interest coming from their audience and so far, the response has been positive.

“There’s been tons of people that have emailed and said, ‘This is my fourth go-around and I love it,’” Scott said. “You have it in your gut when you put out a record when it’s great, but it’s nice to hear someone.”

The album is a mix between traditional and tunes the band has put their own twist on. With a bluesy and funky theme throughout, some of the tracks stand out more than others including a lively twist on “The Little Drummer Boy,” called “Funky Little Drummer Boy (Little Drummer Boy),” that among other standout elements features Scott rapping.

“I want to say that on four of the tunes we kept them fairly traditional,” Scott said. “Others we really reinvented like “Funky Little Drummer Boy.” I know it’s a lot of people’s favorite holiday tune and we were really nervous about that.”

Sometimes, releasing a Christmas album can be a challenge, just because so many songs have been done many different times. Scott is no different, and she understood that challenge when working on their take of Christmas.

“Expectations are high with Christmas stuff,” she said. “People are attached to the music they’re used to. You’re taking a risk by stepping outside of the box. Some of those (past) albums you can’t beat, so why bother.”

 Christmas on the road

If people like the album, the live performance should be something to behold.

At each of the seven stops, Scott’s show will feature special guests including four shows with the Honors Choirs of Southeast Minnesota and school choirs on the other three stops. It’s a chance to add a special element to each show.

“We’ve collaborated with the Honors Choir of Southeast Minnesota in the past and it was one of the coolest things the band has ever done,” Scott said. “I think about that performance often and we’ve been looking for an excuse to team up with choirs again.”

It’s also a chance to take part in working with something Scott has great interest in.

“I have a passion for public school music programs,” Scott said. “It’s kind of my goal to get the community excited and to get those music departments involved in something more modern and contemporary, and inspire those kids to think they can have a career in music.”

Also included as special guests will be Tommy Barbarella, who played with Prince, Lisi Wright of the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra, Charlie Peterson, Steve Kung, Andy Dee and Doug Rohde.

Each show will be 45 minutes and will feature the entire holiday album along with past songs.

Two of the stops bring Scott through southeast Minnesota, including stops at the Rochester Civic Theater and The Crossing at Carnegie in Zumbrota. While the Rochester Civic Theatre offers a larger setting, The Crossings at Carnegie offers a more intimate performance given the smaller venue.

Scott said coming to places like Rochester offers an opportunity for a vibrant show. A good start to a tour that will take the band through the month of December.

“I’m expecting the nerves to be a little high for everybody,” Scott said. “But we always play better when we’re nervous. It’s going to be a really amazing show, I’m just hoping for a full house. Rochester people will hoot and holler in the most amazing way. It really inspires us to reciprocate and give it back.”

Scott will be in Rochester on Dec. 4 and Zumbrota on Dec. 7. Both shows are at 7:30 p.m.


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