One More Time
THE GIRL & THE MUSIC By: Martha Galep It was midnight at the Winter Weekend in 1999 the first time that I heard Sandi Scott Sing. I had wandered into the mega jam just in time to see this gal hand a baby over so that she could sing. What came from those pipes was pure Bluegrass Heaven. I knew then that I'd heard something special. This little blonde gal was singing her heart out. I knew that I'd have to find out who she was. This was worth hearing again and again. Little did I know that I would be getting to hear that voice a lot! Now many folks have tuned into Sandi and her music. Her first solo CD project is fresh off the press and it's getting great reviews. It didn't happen overnight. Like most singers, Sandi began singing the stuff she knew best, for her it was Rock-and-Roll. A trip to the 1991 Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association's Festival in Zimmerman changed all of that. Sandi discovered a love she didn't know she had: Singing and playing bluegrass music. Sandi was hooked. Soon, Art and Sandi's Pretty Good Bluegrass Band was born. Sandi Scott's recording with Art Blackburn in 1996 featured their fine duet singing and gave Sandi a chance to work with some superb local musicians like Barry St. Mane, Mark Kreitzer, Mark Anderson, and Chris Silver. 'The Flame in My Heart' won local acclaim and served to debut Sandi into the Minnesota bluegrass community. 'After I left, it took me a few years to really find the sound that I wanted and now that I have, it seems like everything is starting to fall into place' Sandi reflects. When asked about that early exposure, Sandi laughs in retrospect. 'I didn't even know how to sing harmony until I met Art Blackburn. I was pretty young at the time and just figuring out how I wanted to sing'. Sandi left the band in 1998 but by then she certainly was well on her way to 'figuring it out' and the next few years were spent working on collecting songs that suited her sound. This time was very well spent. THE CD & THE BAND Enter the inspiration for 'One More Time', Chuck Millar. Sandi met Chuck in 2002 and the two have been an item, musically and, well, you know, ever since. 'Chuck is the best musician I have ever played with, and I've been fortunate to play with some of the best. He has been one of the main driving forces behind 'One More Time'. One needs only to listen to the CD to understand fully the talent and quality that Chuck brings to Sandi's Music. No wonder these two get along so well!!! Recording 'One More Time' was the result of hard work and devotion to her music. When asked how she felt about recording again, she said, 'I just felt like I was on top of the world! That had a lot to do with my confidence to try these new sounds.' And new sounds they are! When asked to describe the music, Sandi laughs. 'Jim Whitney described our set at Winter Weekend as 'folkgrass' and I guess that's accurate.' The new CD has something for everyone. The project took about a year and a half from start to finish, partly because of the desire on Sandi's part to have it 'just right' and partly due to Chuck's illness that slowed things down for a good six months. But it was sure worth the wait as those who have listened will tell you. The variety of song selections allows Sandi to sing different 'grooves' while still sounding earthy. The songs come from many sources, but two in particular stand out simply because of the local connection. 'I'd Sooner Be Crazy' came from the pen of Duluth based singer and songwriter Kim Curtis-Monson, and the title cut, 'One More Time' was written by Steve Schley of Free Range Pickin'. 'The first time I heard 'One More Time' I loved it' Sandi remembers. 'I knew immediately that I wanted to record it. It is a song that everyone can relate to at some point in their lives. I'm glad Steve gave me the chance to put my own arrangement on the song.' All the songs collected here benefit from Sandi's interpretation and if you ask her which her favorite she'll admit, 'that's a really hard decision but if I had to pick one, I'd have to say that 'If I Were You' is my favorite song. It is a fun song and everyone can sing along with it. 'If I Were You' is getting the most reviews which is really exciting for me!' The flavors of the songs go together well, from the dreamy, swing toned 'I Wonder' to the heart rendering touch given to 'God Rest My Momma's Heart'. I asked Sandi about that song and her choice to have Becky Schlegel sing the harmony (which is perhaps one of the finest vocal blends since Linda and Emmylou recorded 'I Can't Help It'). 'I'm so glad Becky came into the studio to sing with me, and I was really pleased with the end result.' she said. When asked if she realizes how phenomenal the track sounds, she smiles. 'I think it was a beautiful addition to the song.' The tune that pushes boundaries on the CD is Sandi's version of the old R&B sounding 'Mr. Big Stuff'. Chuck Millar's defiant fiddle and the hefty funk of Brian Barnes' guitar do a call and response break that is pure arrangement genius and I asked Sandi whose idea that was. She smiled and said with guilty pleasure, 'Well, it was my idea. It just seemed like a good fit.' The entire CD is studded with talent from the Twin Cities and beyond. Sandi explained her choice of recording musicians: A well known instructor in the twin cities, Chuck Millar is featured on mandolin, fiddle, and fuitar, Marc Anderson who toured with the marketing phenomenon, Lorie Line for six years. Gordy Johnson is a stellar Jazz bassist and popular studio musician. Gordy has won the Minnesota Music Awards 'Bassist of the Year' among many other awards. He is currently working with Becky Schlegel. Brian Barnes, former member of the nationally known band 'Stoney Lonesome', he is currently working with Café Accordion. One of the most talented flat pickers, Geoff Shannon has won guitar and mandolin contests in Texas, New Mexico, California and Colorado. Becky Schlegel, who really needs no introduction, is a premier vocalist and is Minnesota's 'Bluegrass Artist of the Year'. John Wheat, he is a world-renowned banjo legend 9-time Kentucky State and 7-time Indiana State Banjo Champion who studied under Bela Fleck. Clay Hess won a Grammy Award when he toured with Ricky Skaggs for 'Instrumental Band of the Year' and studied under Tony Rice. Sandi Notes: 'I actually got the chance to perform with Clay. He is a remarkable player and has a stunning voice. It was amazing working with such extraordinary musicians.' Jim Tierney, engineer from Long Lake Sound, had the hardest job of all and his professionalism can be heard throughout the project. 'One More Time' features songs that folks will often hear during a 'Chuck and Sandi' (the duet) or 'Acoustic Obsession' (the band) performances. The musicians in the band include Chuck Millar on fiddle, mandolin, guitar and vocals, Bruce Johnson on banjo, Nick Larson on bass and vocals and Jim Tierney on guitar. Sandi sings and plays both guitar and mandolin. As I write this 'One More Time' is getting airplay across the US and in Australia, Ireland and Canada. Phil Nussbaum and Pam K have both been playing it on their local shows at KBEM and KFAI respectively. It has been a fixture in my kitchen CD player for 2 weeks now. Congratulations Sandi! The Minnesota music scene just added a gem to it's crown.