Music > Scorpio and Me > Scorpio and Me Reviews > Fred Schmale, Real Roots Cafe, March 2011 (The Netherlands) Monday, 01. March 2021, 19:47

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Fred Schmale, Real Roots Cafe, March 2011 (The Netherlands)

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Fred Schmale, Real Roots, Cafe, March 2011 (The Netherlands)

Bennett Brier - Scorpio and Me

This CD is unique.  Bennett Brier, a songwriter from Austin, Texas (he was born in Beaumont, Texas and grew up in Houston), released it, but his contribution are the songs but not the performance. The performance is in the hands of Jay Sims (also a Texan by birth), who produced it and provides the vocals and guitar, along with the powerful Stephen Doster (lead guitar and backup vocals).  Occasionally we hear James Stevens (who recorded and mixed the CD in Austin) also sing.  Brier has been writing songs for over 30 years and has now more than 150 to his name, including 14 on this CD. Two songs are co-written, including 'Harijan' with Sims.

In 1999, Bennett released another CD of his songs called “Anthem”, on which he collaborated with twelve others. Do not think that Bennett is not a musician, he used to perform in Austin as a member of The Stragglers.  

Back to the new CD and, particularly, the songs. Brier writes songs that are folkish, but with a pop edge. He calls his own style "contemporary folk" and cites his main influences as Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Nanci Griffith, and Butch Hancock. After listening quite a few times, it is obvious that Bennett's songs are greatly influenced by Butch Hancock.  Sims' sometimes gritty and pleasant voice, a man who has a long musical history playing Texas music, and Doster's wonderful guitar playing are a delight for the ear. It takes some time for the songs to take root and but once they do, you will really enjoy them.

"Scorpio and me" is a true singer-songwriter product with the remarkable fact that the singer and songwriter are not a single person.  More than 60 minutes of unique and pleasant music occurs, starring a great voice and a first-rate guitar.  Too bad the lyrics are not included in the CD package, this would add to the pleasure. I've not found them on the Internet.*
(Fred Schmale)

 * Bennett's comment - Fred overlooked my website address when he wrote his review.