E.C. Scott | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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E.C. Scott


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California-based blues singer E.C. Scott knows as well as anyone how to milk every note for all the passion it's got. But at the emotional crossroads where many of her peers veer down the showy histrionic route, shrieking and wailing, Scott leans back on toughness of timbre and tonal intensity. On her third and latest CD, Hard Act to Follow (Blind Pig), she easily summons the strength to wrestle the grittiest roadhouse rockers into submission (notably "Steppin' Out on a Saturday Night" and the hard-driving blues-rock title tune); on deeper soul outings like "Tell Me About It" and "Another Night in Paradise," she digs down to her gospel roots and comes up with a tantalizing fusion of churchy uplift and fatback funk. The disc's centerpiece is "If You're a Good Woman," a ballad cast as an intimate conversation between girlfriends, one who suffers at the hands of her man and one who disapproves but knows better than to preach. Scott's alto croon rides an undercurrent of righteousness in a perfect blend of power and pathos. On the recorded version of the song she's accompanied only by elegant but understated guitar--insufficient, some have suggested, to really do the song justice. Live, however, inserted into the relentless parade of barn burners she usually performs, such a moment of intense intimacy should be nothing short of spellbinding. Thursday, June 4, 9:30 PM, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 312-427-0333. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Phill Bray.

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