Posted: Oct 06, 2012, 12:01 am By Adam Pulchinski The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
Minneapolis musician Alison Scott played at the Paramount Theatre in Austin on Friday night, but a smaller audience was treated to an intimate and revealing look at her music earlier in the evening.
Scott, with guitarist and producer Kevin Bowe, talked about their careers and the process of songwriting during a free workshop at Riverland Community College.
“It was very interesting,” said student Andrew Torkelson. “I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know you could teach songwriting.”
Scott’s professional story began with Bowe, who has worked with Etta James, Paul Westerberg, Jonny Lang, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Bowe called his musical coming of age 70’s rock. He moved to Minneapolis in the early 1980s.
“Minneapolis was the musical center of the universe for about five years,” said Bowe. “I didn’t make any money, but I had a lot of fun.”
Bowe explained how his career changed with the music business, as he reinvented himself as an engineer and producer in addition to musician. He chronicled his lucky breaks in the industry, one being his discovery of a young female songwriter — Scott.
“I get a lot of calls,” Bowe said. “It’s very rare you find an artist.”
Scott and Bowe found each other when Scott entered a contest as she was graduating from McNally Smith College of Music in 2005. Bowe was a judge in the contest, and the one Scott gelled with the most.
“Something about his vision of music spoke to me,” said Scott, adding Bowe gave her a way to articulate what was in her head.
The story of Bowe hearing one of Scott’s songs became the first lesson for workshop attendees as the two played her song and followed it by asking what the audience thought Bowe had seen in it.
“Nobody gives a damn what your favorite song is,” Bowe said. “The real question is why. It’s not what you say in a song, it’s how you say it.”
This was XTC's breakthrough single. It was written by bassist Colin Moulding, who shared vocal and songwriting duties with guitarist Andy Partridge.
Moulding: "Partly biographical, this one. My dad prompted me to write it. He wanted a university future for me and was very overpowering in trying to persuade me to get my hair cut and stay on at school. It got to the point where he almost tried to drag me down the barber's shop by my hair. I know the song tells of a slightly different situation, but it all boils down to the same thing - parental domination."
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