Ernest Scott, “Bridging the Gap” (Breezy Hill Records)

reviews-ernestscottIt was nearly 26 years ago that songwriter Dan Tyler set in motion a course of action that would finally lead to the release of Bridging the Gap. Now, after what must have been an interminable delay for Ernest Scott, we hear firsthand that it was worth the wait.

The opening “Keep Your Dog Inside” sounds like Rockie Charles meets Joe Walsh. It’s a cautionary tale that sets the tone for Bridging the Gap and lets you know right away that you are in for a good time. Up next is “Breezy Hill,” the first of five songs written by the aforementioned Dan Tyler and a perfect song for kicking back in a front porch rocking chair. The laid back slide guitar and accompanying harmonica create a nice backdrop as Scott sings about the simple things in life. Anyone who has ever suffered from a broken heart will relate to “Lonely O’Clock,” but if the result is a song that feels this good then it just might be worth the pain. Throughout Bridging the Gap, Scott is joined by top-notch musicians, and on “Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu” he is joined by Slim Harpo alum James Johnson and Rudy Richard, the latter who actually played on the original version recorded by Slim Harpo. “Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu” sounds like something you would hear coming from Snooks Eaglin, and with its dance party groove, I’m sure it translates well in a live setting. “A Man & The Blues” finds Scott showing that he can handle a straight-up blues number, and with Henry Gray, James Johnson and Rudy Richard joining in you know it’s going to be good. Speaking of the blues, Scott gets another chance to belt it out on Elmore James’ “I Believe,” which features Brint Anderson on guitar, and Slim Harpo’s “Baby, Scratch My Back” with Raful Neal, James Johnson and Big Johnny Thomassie. Finally, one of the many highlights on Bridging the Gap is “Man Woman Thing,” a beautiful duet featuring Irene Sage that harkens back to classic Delaney & Bonnie.

It should be clear by this point that Scott is comfortable singing in any number of styles, but more importantly he does so convincingly and with authority. Bridging the Gap does a great job of showcasing Scott’s silky smooth vocals and is proof positive that good things come to those who wait, but hopefully we won’t have to wait two more decades for another recording from Ernest Scott.