Scott McCord Blues for Sunshine

The Toronto Blues Summit scored a great discovery this past January: Scott McCord, who literally tore the roof off with a live performance that was nothing short of spellbinding. Think Southside Johnny on serious steroids: swing-cool, passionate and sitting atop a time bomb of R&B thunder. From soul-belter to crooning, passion-fired singer-songwriter, McCord is the real deal. His new release contains some surprises for those thinking this might be a variation of his live show on disc; in fact, it demonstrates another side to His Soul Revue Self, underlining the calibre of his voice. Part love paean to his wife, Blues for Sunshine begins with a page from the stage ("Emily"), all balls'n'brass, with a breathy, soulful tip of the hat to his musical heroes. However, sitting atop a smoothly crooning wall of backup singers (only one of which is credited), McCord reveals a gentler, caring self in "Let It Roll" and across a raft of original tunes. The closet crooner is exposed on "The Broken Wheel," while the energy is restated on "Same Man I Was Before," charged further by his marvellous horn section, and teased by Chris Miller's guitar. "Trouble!" underlines the band's ever-ready groove potential, yet it's the opening strains of Daniel Lanois's "As Tears Roll By" that demonstrate McCord's true strengths in taking ownership of a quality song. This is a thoroughly intoxicating example of his capabilities. (Independent)