BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Waterboy Mike Scott defies the notion that musicians can’t be both intriguing and inspiring. On his last album, Appointment with Mr. Yeats, he confidentially name-dropped the iconic Irish poet of the same name. Its follow-up, Modern Blues, finds him taking an even broader sweep by seizing on any number of legendary individuals, from Miles Davis and Charlie Parker to Elvis, John Lennon and Marvin Gaye, tossing in Joan of Arc, Shakespeare and Dean Moriarty for good measure.
The music displays an unequaled eloquence to match, whether it’s the dramatic and determined “Destinies Entwined” or the loosely limbered rockers “Still a Freak” and “Beautiful Now.” Nevertheless, Scott’s poetic expression reaches its peak in “The Girl Who Slept For Scotland” (“I remember that night in a Dublin bed when she moaned like a woman and gave sweet head”), spinning a lyric that’s on a literary plain midway between Bob Dylan and Dylan Thomas.
A remarkable evocation of time and place, Modern Blues achieves a triumph which in many ways equates it to their Blood on the Tracks as far as its knowing, firsthand perspective. Or to borrow a verse from another Dylan classic, Scott can rightfully claim he’s painted his masterpiece.
DOWNLOAD: “The Girl Who Slept For Scotland,” “Beautiful Now,” “Destinies Entwined”