Scott, Bowe come to Ulen
About a year and a half ago ago, in September 2011, Minneapolis musician Alison Scott and her four-piece band made their Detroit Lakes debut in a performance with the traveling showcase of Minnesota musicians known as the Caravan du Nord.
This Saturday, Feb. 2, they will be swinging through town again, en route to a 7:30 p.m. show at Ulen's Top Hat Theatre (located inside the Ulen-Hitterdal School).
In the Caravan du Nord, Scott's band shared the stage of the Historic Holmes Theatre with such area standouts as Nicholas Mrozinski & The Feelin' Band and DL's own Hardwood Groove.
On Saturday, she will share the Top Hat stage with someone she's a little more familiar with -- her lead guitarist, Kevin Bowe.
Though Scott writes the majority of the band's music herself, Bowe has shared songwriting credit on several of their numbers as well -- and this past year, he put out his first CD of his own music "in a long time," Scott said.
"We released new albums on the same day, actually," she said in a telephone interview. "He hadn't been gigging too much as a solo artist, mostly just playing in my band, and producing and writing.
"But his album has gotten some really amazing reviews, it's getting both national and international radio play, so he's recently started gigging a lot more with his band. Since June we've been doing a lot of co-headlining shows."
Scott and Bowe will each play a full set of their own music Saturday, taking turns at center stage and even singing together on a few songs. They will be backed by the same musicians for both sets, including bass player Steve Price, drummer Peter Anderson and keyboard player Charlie Peterson, who will be making his performance debut as a member of the group.
Scott herself has been touring and performing professionally for a little over half a decade now.
"I quit my day job five years ago," she said. "Though I was certainly gigging before that, that was when I went full time."
Though she had been performing in musical theater and vocal choirs since she was a child, taking the stage as a solo artist was a little bit more nerve-wracking.
"I'm not a natural-born performer," Scott said. "I think it took me about three years of gigging all the time to learn to be myself on stage... but now, I love it."
In fact, when she's away from performing for too long, "I get really crabby," Scott said. She starts going to shows and "wishing I was that person up on stage."
In the coming months, however, she will be slowing down quite a bit -- by choice. Scott and her husband will be welcoming a baby girl in March.
"I have about five gigs left before the baby comes, then I'm going to take a couple of months off," she said. "It's our first one -- we're pretty excited.
"Her name is hanging up on the wall in the nursery. We're all set."
Scott got married about four and a half years ago.
"For a long time, I just wanted to focus on my music -- now I'm going to see if I can manage both (career and family)," she said.
In the earlier years of her career, Scott said, her songs tended to be much more introspective and personal.
"I was a late bloomer (as a songwriter)," she said. "I was probably 20 when I wrote my first song.
"I did musical theater and classical music until about halfway through college," said Scott, who has a degree in vocal performance from the McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.
Though she had taken piano lessons as a child, it wasn't until she got into college that she took it up again, as a means of accompanying herself during rehearsals.
"When I started singing and playing at the same time, it just kind of morphed into me wanting to write my own stuff," Scott said.
"When I was getting started, I would write a lot of very personal things," she continued. "A lot of inexperienced songwriters, including myself, do that... I wrote a lot of stuff that you would read about if you read my journals.
"But I learned that, for me at least, that's not necessarily the most effective way. It's so personal that it's hard for a lot of people to relate to (the lyrics)."
Today, she takes the approach of writing about things in her own life, and friends' lives, "that large groups of people can relate to," she said.
It must be working. Scott has now recorded four albums of original material, as well as a live concert DVD of a performance at the Dakota Jazz Club in downtown Minneapolis, where she has had sold out shows on a fairly regular basis.
"I love being in the studio just as much (as performing live)," she said. "It's instant gratification -- after a day in the studio, you've created something that's going to be around forever."
As for performing live, Scott said, she's come to think of it as "really good therapy. It's such a good creative outlet. There are definitely days when I don't feel in the mood to go out and play a show, to put on a happy face for people, but as soon as I get out there and play the first few songs, I feel better. Then I'm happy to be there."
Though Scott said that the band's music "crosses into a lot of different genres, we label it as soul music. That's a common thread through everything we play."
Tickets for Saturday's show are $15 for adults, $10 for students, and can be purchased at the Ulen-Hitterdal School Office or by phone at 218-596-8853. Seats can also be reserved by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.