Richard Scott – Keeper of My Heart
Richard Scott’s newest single, “Keeper of My Heart”, comes out as a duo – the straighter performance and an accompanying doo-wop version that demonstrates his artistic dexterity. It isn’t a surprising balance. Scott has been showing off the extent of his considerable talents since the last years of the 1970’s on both recordings and live, solo and within a band context. He’s received Grammy selections for both Best Country Song and Best Male Vocalist while also earning an 2003 award for Best Country Music Video for an Independent Recording Artist. Circumstance prompted him to step away from the studio and stage so that he might attend to family matters, but his return has been characterized by such an outpouring of energy it sounds like he never left. “Keeper of My Heart” bristles and bubbles over with creativity.
The doo-wop version of this song included with the release will be hard to resist. It’s short, to the point, and has a colorful R&B sheen that might surprise some new listeners. The horn section doesn’t have an omnipresent impact on the track but, rather, augments it with considerable flair. It has a wonderfully wide and hard-hitting swing that doesn’t affect the romantic content of the lyrics at all – instead, it seems to give Scott’s vocal added urgency and he throws himself wholeheartedly into his singing without ever rushing the content. This sort of exuberance is a perfect fit for the musical content and shows off just the right amount of tastefulness. The doo wop version has a percolating rhythm section that will charge listener’s energy level and get them moving without its commerciality ever undercutting its sincerity.
The “straighter” version of the song conjures up a credible blues feel without ever stressing it too much. It comes through in the tasty piano rolls, blazing electric guitar fills, and precise drumming that goes on feel above all else. Scott’s vocal is a little more relaxed here, naturally, than it is in the doo-wop version and delves deeper into getting over the song’s emotional content than the doo wop take on the song. There’s a little bit of keyboard work scattered throughout the song, but its presence isn’t over-extended and adds just the right amount of color to the performance without ever sounding too gaudy. It’s a longer performance than the doo wop version and, as such, gives up a little of the aforementioned urgency. However, the lost urgency is replaced by a deeper feel than the doo wop take and Scott’s vocals dig deep to realize the lyrical potential. The words never overreach and, instead, touch listeners with their universality and understated eloquence. Richard Scott’s talents are amply illustrated in both performances and the differences make for a well-rounded presentation of where his interests lie. This is a performer and composer who hasn’t lost any of his thirst for self expression despite advancing years and he gives himself over to the performance like a young performer might with all of the passion and skill listeners rightly expect.