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April 2015 Release

Boz Scaggs: A Fool toCare 

Written by  for American Songwriter 

Boz Scaggs: A Fool to Care

(429)
4 out of 5 stars

It seems the less time that goes into producing a Boz Scaggs album lately, the better they are. His last, 2013’s wonderful Memphis, found him recording a predominately covers set in the titular southern musical landmark that wrapped his smooth soul vocals around the city’s greasy R&B. For this follow-up, he relocates to Nashville’s Bluebird Studio and lays down tracks in four days. It’s another batch of mostly obscure older songs written by others (there is one original) with the same core musicians as the previous release. They include Radio’s Ray Parker Jr. on guitar, bassist Willie Weeks and noted drummer/producer Steve Jordan. It’s a killer combo, expert at finding, and holding, an authentic and malleable soul groove.

Subtle horns and strings enhance but never overwhelm a vibe that shifts from the low key Latin shuffle of “I Want to See You” to the French cabaret of “Last Tango on 16th Street,”  both penned by Jack Walroth, a Scaggs friend and blues artist from San Francisco. The singer returns to the Al Green songbook and sound he embraced on Memphis for a funky “Full of Fire” and goes gospel on the great Curtis Mayfield/Impressions gem “I’m So Proud.”

Even when Scaggs reaches back into the slick, satiny soul that yielded his biggest commercial boost in the mid-70s on a heartfelt version of the Spinners’ “Love Don’t Love Nobody,” the relatively stripped down arrangement keeps the session grounded. The atmosphere really gets hot on Scaggs’ lone original “Hell to Pay” where Bonnie Raitt both trades lead vocals and supercharges the rockabilly/blues with her distinctive, cutting slide guitar.

Americana fans are also certain to embrace a warm, sumptuous and intensely emotional take on The Band’s classic ballad “Whispering Pines” where Lucinda Williams and Scaggs go toe-to-toe on a track sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck.

It caps an album that is arguably one of Scaggs’ finest and surely his most relaxed in a career dating back to Steve Miller’s shotgun riding band member in the 60s. His calm, ageless voice is perfect for this material and it’s clear he’s in his element on 13 songs that capture and condense the essence of his Americana blues, soul and country influences.

March 31, 2015


Boz Scaggs to Release First New Album in Five Years in March

Boz Scaggs will release MEMPHIS, his first album of new studio material in five years, on March 5th. Between touring and his work with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald in the Dukes Of September in recent years, Scaggs hasn’t had much time in the studio, hence the gap between albums. Thankfully, the multi-platinum singer-songwriter found his new album, MEMPHIS, to be perhaps the most natural collection of his four-decade plus career.

"It’s one of the easiest projects I’ve ever had. I sang songs that feel entirely comfortable to me," he told Rolling Stone. "We recorded the 13 tracks to this record in three days. It just sort of fell out easily in the nicest way."

Click here for the full article.


Excerpts and Illustrations from Patricia Curtan's MENUS FOR CHEZ PANISSE

"This weekend marked the fortieth anniversary of Alice Waters’s Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. I was swept into the adventure of the restaurant almost at its inception; though I had no restaurant experience, I was recruited to fill in for someone who didn’t show up for work. Alice is a dedicated Francophile, and early on she wrote out each nightly menu, in French, in her elegant calligraphy. Eventually, her devotion to France was replaced with the appreciation of California’s food and culture, and the names of growers, producers, and ingredients took prominence on the menus. Over the years, many Bay Area designers, poets, writers, calligraphers, and printers have placed their stamp on the Chez Panisse menus. I’m lucky to have been one of them." 

"The Grand Aïoli has become a tradition at Chez Panisse. It is a Provençal free-for-all feast of bowls of garlic mayonnaise with platters of summer vegetables, grilled bread, fish, and shellfish, and plenty of chilled rosé."

"I wanted this menu to look like a decorative plate. Ingredients of the spicy shrimp soup form the elements of the image"

Patricia Curtan is an artist, designer, and printmaker. Her book, Menus for Chez Panisse, collects four decades of menus printed for the restaurant.


Celebrating 40 years of Chez Panisse


On August 27, 2011,  we poured our 2007 Montage and co-hosted a wild boar roast with Angelo Garro at his San Francisco forge. The dinner at The Forge was one of fourteen being held that night throughout the Bay Area to celebrate the fortieth birthday of Chez Panisse and benefit it's foundation, The Edible Schoolyard Project. (http://www.edibleschoolyard.org). All photos copyright Mark Gordon Photography.


Outstanding In The Field

McEvoy Ranch Petaluma, CA Sunday, May 8, 2011


Host Farmers: Nan & Nion McEvoy, McEvoy RanchGuest

Chefs: Beth Wells & Nathan Alderman, Chez Panisse Cafe

 Guest Wines: Scaggs Vineyard and Pey-Marin

 http://outstandinginthefield.com/