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Interview:
Boz Scaggs at the Flagstar Strand, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

It's been 52 years since Boz Scaggs released his first album and 50 since he was a short-term member of the Steve Miller Band, playing on the group's first two albums.

And neither his enthusiasm for music, nor interest in the music he makes, has ebbed.

Scaggs, 73, is of course best-known for his run of four-straight platinum or better albums between 1976-80, particularly 1976's five-millions selling "Silk Degrees" and its hits "Lowdown" and "Lido Shuffle." The singer, songwriter and guitarist has continued uninterrupted, however, both on the road -- where he's toured on his own and in collaboration with Michael McDonald and Steely Dan's Donald Fagen -- and in the studio, where he's finishing up the final album in a trilogy focused on his own musical roots.

As he makes a second visit to the metro area this weekend, we checked in with Scaggs to get the, er, lowdown on what he's up to right now...

Scaggs says by phone that he's enjoying touring now as much if no more than ever. "It kind of gets better in a way," he explains. "The audience seems to get what we're doing and word of mouth gets out and it's been a good progression. We're working a lot so musically it just gets tighter and tighter. I can work as much as I want to, and I like to work."

Scaggs is also seeing a development in his audience through this touring. "This is a generation -- mine, I'm talking about -- that likes live music," he says. "That's still how they connect, to a large degree. And then these millennials, 20s and 30s, sort of know a lot about that generation that I came up in, and they like vinyl records and cocktails. So the circle's completed in a way. It's a very healthy scene out here on the road."

Scaggs has been lumped in with a number of artists under the relatively recent genre moniker "Yacht Rock," a concept he has little use for. "I'm not quite sure what they mean to imply with that," he says. "Does it mean sort of cool or slick or sophisticated in some way? ‘Yacht' would imply something like that. I like most of the artists who are associated with it, but I think it's just a term that's being thrown around. It's just kind of useless. It doesn't interest me."

Following 2013's "Memphis" and 2015's "A Fool To Care," Scaggs is in the midst of recording his next album, which will dig into his musical roots from his native Texas, mixing originals with covers from some of his favorite artists. "It's more like Freddie King Texas; It's got a little more guitar and it's a lot more Texas shuffle and it draws from some of the things that I listened to growing up and learning to play guitar in the beginning," says Scaggs, who's joined by fellow guitarists Ray Parker Jr., Charlie Sexton and Doyle Bramhall II on the project. "I've done some Jimmy Reed songs and a couple Bobby Bland songs; I'm not sure which ones are gonna make it to the actual record, but we recorded several of them."

Like many musicians, Scaggs was shocked by the Sept. 3 death of Steely Dan's Walter Becker, who he toured with as part of the New York Rock and Soul Revue back in 1991. "I was deeply saddened by that," he says. "Walter was very, very important in my mind. Not only did I love his collaborations with Donald (Fagen), but his is a really unique voice. He really came from a different place than anyone I'd ever encountered -- so intelligent, so bright and so edgy and dynamic, brilliant and extremely funny. I really felt a great sense of personal loss in a way I hadn't really felt for anyone else."



If You Go:

Boz Scaggs

7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1

Flagstar Strand Theatre, 12 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac.

Tickets are $64.50-$104.50.

Call 248-309-6445 or visit flagstartheatrepontiac.com.

Web Site: www.flagstartheatrepontiac.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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