Scott Holt Is A Disciple Of The Blues [VIDEO]
I got a chance to talk to Scott Holt last summer when he was going to co-headline HillBilly’s Blues Fest in Alcester, SD. I’m always fascinated to hear how artists got their start and who their inspirations were. I was surprised to learn that Holt didn’t come up through the Blues and was in high school before he even heard a Jimi Hendrix record. But after he heard it, he said he immediately went home and asked his parents for a guitar.
Holt said that listening to Jimi made him start to seek out Hendrix’ inspirations and it brought him to Buddy Guy. Holt was living in Tennessee with his mom, when Guy came to play the Florida city where his dad was living. His dad got tickets to the show and had Scott drive down. Little did he know that his dad had also made several calls to Guy’s management to arrange a meeting between his son and the legend. Scott got to play a few licks with Buddy backstage and they struck up a bit of a friendship. So much so, that every time Buddy would come back to Florida, he’d contact Scott to see if he wanted to drop by to jam. So Scott would jump into his car in Tennessee and drive down so he could ‘stop by’ to play with Buddy. As he told me “I’d drive ten hours so I could swing around the corner to play with Buddy.”
Not only was he learning from Guy and Buddy’s friend Junior Wells, but he started learning about Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, cognac and the use of the word mother f###er!
Holt continued to learn about the legends and practiced his guitar for hours on end, and ‘dropping in’ on Buddy, until in 1989, Guy asked him to join his band. Holt spent the next ten years to the left of Buddy as they toured the world. He got a chance to play with and learn from John Lee Hooker, Luther Allison, Albert Collins, Eric Clapton, Junior Wells, Koko Taylor and Willie Dixon.
When not touring, he’d be back home in Nashville working on early incarnations of the Scott Holt Band. He said any time he and Buddy would talk about that aspect of his career, it was ‘when’ not ‘if’ Holt says. “Buddy would always give me tips and say ‘when you have your own band, make sure you do this, and don’t do that’”. From day one, Guy was passing along his knowledge to Holt, knowing that he’d start his own band one day and go off on his own. Scott says when the decision was made to leave Buddy’s band, it wasn’t a big goodbye, it was just sort of “well, see ya around”.
When the Scott Holt Band comes to town, it’s the Blues, it’s real music, not music made by machines or computers. Its music played from the heart every time. It’s what Scott refers to as “A supreme form of prayer.” Scott takes his musical lineage very seriously. As a disciple of Buddy Guy, his roots go directly back to Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Guitar Slim in a way that most of this generation of blues artists can’t claim.
Holt will play at Old Skoolz here in Sioux Falls this Friday and Saturday night at 921 E. 8th Street. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 the day of the show. Get all the details by clicking here.
Here’s Holt covering his mentor Buddy Guy’s Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues