Leaving Hyannis…a twelve song, thirteen track disc from Scott Damgaard, formerly of psychedelic band the Wayoutz, is almost as stylistically adventurous as Santana’s huge Supernatural cd and outside of singles – where the focus is on one composition – the abrupt shifts can be jarring for the first few spins. Damgaard is a craftsman who rolls out the melodies and the stories with a free spirit abandon.
“Alligator” goes deep into the Cajun wilderness, the bluesy, slinky opening track would make Rusty and Doug Kershaw both proud. In a sudden turnabout an uptempo Jim Gambino accordion (he of Swinging Steaks) on an Irish jig (hit the link on Irish Jig if you’ve got the CD playing on your computer for a nice video) sends the mood into a different dimension on “Oh, Annie Murphy.” And if you think “Patrick Stands” keeps the Emerald isle a rolling, you’d be wrong. This is a Dr. John blues beat that might fit in New Orleans, but it’s not of the same wavelength as “Alligator” which starts the show off. There’s literally the cast of thousands at this party, different flavors from many musicians, co-songwriters and a variety of grooves. “I’ve Always Been Lonely” is in the Damgaard pop craftsmanship pocket while “Alden” opens up like John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero,” evolving into a superb folk/pop/blues song with staying power and heartfelt singing and playing.
“Darwin’s Uncle” opens up with Scott’s acoustic guitars very reminiscent of Ray Jackson of Lindisfarne’s Mandolin on Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” Damgaard keeps switching styles, “I found love that first night, her soft eyes looking at me” in the neo-skiffle “An Accidental Look (It was)” Then we swing back to New Orleans on “Nantucket Stroll,” the song that has most in common with the CD’s title, Leaving Hyannis. The musicianship is top notch throughout the twelve tracks plus bonus hidden adventure that is the unlisted #13. A baker’s dozen that are light years away from the pure pop/psychedelia of the singer’s Wayoutz band and their classic Something Now disc.
Four minutes and 21 seconds of “Frankie Got My Lighter” sound like an opening act for Ricky Riccardo of I Love Lucy going half-reggae while “Sandcastles” gets more serious. Saving the best for last, “Sandcastles,” “Bikini Island” and “You Were Here” close out the disc with some beautifully crafted pop. “Margaritaville” with a bit of Elton John’s “Island Girl” gloss. “Bikini Island” is a look at the devastation and radioactive fallout removing the beach music aspect of that area while “You Were Here” goes full-out reggae/pop, the full journey of Leaving Hyannis clocking in at fifty two minutes.
NOTE: CD Release Party for “Leaving Hyannis…” is Thursday, December 3rd at 8:00 PM at Grand Canal Boston (57 Canal Street, Boston, MA). Near the Boston Garden.Ben Knight on keyboards, Soul Sistah Mel Carney on backing vocals, Ken Hickey on drums, Scott Damgaard on vocals and guitar, Kelley B on trumpet, Rosemary Casey on saxophone and Dave Lieb on bass. Opening the show will be Fil Ramil
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.
Photo by Laura Lakeway