Playing Catch-Up: Boz Scaggs
(Photo: Danny Clinch)
This week in "Playing Catch-Up,'' USA TODAY's spotlight on veteran artists returning to the spotlight, Brian Mansfield talks to Boz Scaggs.
Lowdown on 'Care.' Boz Scaggs found stardom during the '60s and '70s, first as a member of theSteve Miller Band, then with solo hits such as Lowdown and Lido Shuffle. On Tuesday, he'll release Fool to Care, which features new songs mixed with covers of vintage R&B and rock tunes, from the likes of Al Green, Curtis Mayfield and The Band.
Music City. Recorded over four days in Nashville with producer/drummer Steve Jordan, Fool to Care boasts a band that includes bassist Willie Weeks and guitaristRay Parker Jr. (yes, the Ghostbusters guy). Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams join Scaggs for duets. Scaggs preferred deep-catalog cuts over obvious covers. "It's part of the fun, to find songs that are not completely unknown but maybe really hadn't been discovered or reworked by too many people," he says.
Part II. Fool to Care could become the second album of a trilogy that began with 2013's Memphis. "Essentially, it's the music that comes out of New Orleans and finds its own expression in Memphis, the Deep South, Texas, Oklahoma and Chicago," says the 70-year-old singer/guitarist. "A great deal of what we draw on, we've learned they came out of, or by way of, Chicago. But New Orleans is really the home of it all. That might be the third stop."
On the vine. Since 2000, Scaggs and wife Dominique have operated Scaggs Vineyard in California's Napa Valley, producing 300 to 400 cases of wine annually. "We're not really in the business big," he says. "We are getting the kind of wine that we like. We have plenty to share with family and friends and a small business that goes along with it."
Good vibrations. On Monday, Scaggs will take part in Brian Fest, celebrating the music of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson at Los Angeles' Fonda Theatre. Scaggs plans to perform Sail on Sailor at the concert, which also will feature performances by Norah Jones, Heart's Ann Wilson, the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne and others. Like many musicians of his era, Scaggs says, early Beach Boys hits drew him to Wilson's music, though he soon realized the depths of Wilson's talent: "Most serious musicians were quick to see the Brian Wilson that is the Brian Wilson we'll be celebrating, the genius that he became."
The set list. Scaggs will bring the hits on the tour that begins April 8 in Gainesville, Fla., though, he says, "they change according to the night and the way we want to play — we've got several ways to approach those songs." He finds the songs fromFool to Care and Memphis blend in seamlessly with the older material. "Somehow, they're a part of what I do. That is, they're a part of what I've been looking for since I started."