Scott Gagner “Rise & Shine”

Scott Gagner follows up his acclaimed debut Rhapsody in Blonde LP with this love letter to balladeers of the ’70s. You’ll clearly hear the influences of Gordon Lightfoot and James Taylor in the opener “I’ve Taken a Shine to You.” The single “Waterloo” features keys by Ken Stringfellow (The Posies) is a warm sing along with its slow shimmering chorus. The easy listening instrumentation of “Take It Easy On Yourself” becomes a magical Mangione-like pep talk with Rob Dehlinger’s trumpet. Lots of vivid characters are here, from the romantic “Moonlight Dancing” to the lonely drunk on “I’ll Be Drinking This Christmas.”

My favorite track is “Catch My Breath” with its catchy chorus rich with layered harmonies. It also contains a cover of The Ink Spots 1941 classic “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire.” The albums last few tracks are sparse and sorrowful, finishing with “Sentimental Lullaby.” While not a happy album, it certainly is heartfelt. A beautifully appropriate soundtrack to a cold winters night.

Bandcamp | CD Baby