Thursday, February 14, 2013

Double Treat: Richard Moore & Cal Scott

Sorry for the long delay in posting. Last November on an impulse I joined NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words of a mystery novel. I’m up to about 67,000 now and just about to recruit some beta readers so I can find out if it makes any sense. It’s been siphoning off much of the attention I have available for blogging.

But here’s some new music! Once again I’m featuring works by Oregon musicians: Richard Moore and Cal Scott. This is partly regional favoritism, but I also have to say that the quality of product coming out of Oregon is very high compared to much of the over-the-transom material I receive. Also maturity is a factor; these people have been practicing the craft for a long time – yet I think, had there been a digital webbed world enabling universal accessibility back when we were playing coffeehouses, Portland musicians’ early work would still have stood out from the global crowd. Both Richard’s and Cal’s recent projects are available as downloads or CDs.

The Theatah, the Theatah

Richard’s “Rain” is an original musical. It involves the return of a one-hit rock musician to Portland as his career ebbs. He discovers it hasn’t rained for most of a year, and decides that a rain dance in the public square fueled by the reunion of his old Portland rock band would solve the problem. The usual enjoyable features of musical theater ensue – boy has already lost girl but now tries to get her back, supporting characters provide comic relief, and there’s plenty of energetic ensemble work. The story is highly parochial and full of in-jokes about Portland, but it is also universal enough that anybody can enjoy it, particularly the songs themselves. And frankly, it is a far better portrait of the city than what you’ll find on Portlandia. The “Rain” soundtrack is available at
  I think “My Blue Hour,” the female lead’s melancholy solo, is probably the best song Richard has ever written, and possibly the best song anyone I know has ever written. The melody and chords are the perfect setting – very torchy and atmospheric, reminiscent of Cole Porter at his best. I think Richard should issue a karaoke version. Please go to and scroll down to hear the song. Here are the full lyrics:

I know you’ve been around the world
And tempted with a tune
Debutantes from Singapore to France

I’ve been all the way to Hell and back
And never left this room
Odds are you and I don’t stand a chance

I know your aspirations
The knight in shining gear
And I know you need a maiden in distress

I could use a lifeline
When I’m lost inside my fear
But I doubt you’d ever find me in this mess

Leave the flowers on the doorstep
Clean and dress your wounded pride
I’ll stay safe and sad inside

My blue hour

You want to share your sunshine
Dry up all the tears I’ve cried
And turn what’s left of darkness into light

Well you’re in for wicked weather
Cause the truth is that I lied
It seems like it’s been raining all my life

It’s not up to you to save me
But I love you that you tried
I’m safe and sad inside

My blue hour

He left me once and I found my blue hour
Waiting to let me in
What kind of fool would open that door
Only to watch him walk away again

Talk about protection
A perfect place to hide
Surrounded by my creature comforts here

Piano and a barstool
Propping up my pride
And a place to set my Jaegermeister beer

Yes I got your invitation
But it’s cordially denied
I’ll stay safe and sad inside
My blue hour

©Tag Team Audio Music 2012/All Rights Reserved

Original Nostalgia 

Cal’s “Carved Wood Box” is a mostly acoustic collection featuring several story songs and many beautifully rendered arrangements featuring fiddle, mandolin, and pennywhistle. Cal started singer-songwritering in college, struck off into jazz (trumpet and guitar), which morphed into fusion, and then circled back around to the retro comfort of folk music. He records and performs with the popular Trail Band and the famed Irish musician Kevin Burke.

I think my favorite song here is actually the jazzy “Jimmy’s Waltz,” dressed up by the mandolin and accordion in European sidewalk cafĂ© attire. Jimmy was a real person who, like the numerous other Italian immigrants who came to Portland’s close-in southeast neighborhood early in the 20th century, raised a huge overflowing truck garden that had mostly gone to seed by the 1970s.  The same thing happened to Jimmy; he eventually developed dementia and it was very sad to watch. 

He passed through Ellis Island 16 years of age
The states seemed like heaven with Italy in rage
This lush river valley a truck gardener’s dream
He had a feel for the pushcart and a knack with string beans
Jimmy the old man got taken away
To a home he could rest in – well, that’s what they say
The love of his life had not lived quite so long
Jimmy kept singing ‘cause this was their song

La la la la [chorus]

©Cal Scott, Tamarack Recordings 2012/All Rights Reserved

Both of these song collections, each a variant on time-tested American styles, offer solid musical nutrition. So whether you go for porch pickin’ or Tin Pan Alley (or both), enjoy!!

1 comment:

  1. write real nice. Thanks for the nod. RM


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