I just released my new album “Flown South” on Bandcamp.
It will be released on Spotify, Apple Music, etc. on August 19, 2022.
Here are the liner notes, which will tell you a bit about it:
In October 2018, at the age of 63, I decided to stop performing. There are too many reasons for this momentous decision to get into in detail, but one of them was that I felt that if I was going to justify enduring the difficulties I had with performing and touring, I needed to decide what kind of music I really wanted to play. After a year of relative inactivity on the guitar, I started to think about the jazz (for lack of a better word) I had played in the late 1980s, in an electric guitar power trio with bass and drums and as a member of the acoustic string jazz band Wide Awake, before I joined Laurie Lewis’s band and essentially became a bluegrass guitarist, at least to the outside world. I had never intended to abandon jazz, but, the music world being what it is, opportunities to play anything resembling that music rarely presented themselves. I was lucky to have a rewarding, creative career in the bluegrass/folk/acoustic music world for 30 years, but I had always kept composing and playing jazz during my practice time at home. When the pandemic hit in March 2020, I was left with the time and solitude to try to imagine how all the music I had played during my musical life could be integrated.
In February 2021, I recorded eight improvised solo acoustic guitar pieces sitting at my kitchen table when the house was quiet. I didn’t know if I would do anything with them, but they were my first attempts at playing something like the music I had been imagining and working on for the previous year, an attempt to approach improvising the way I usually approach composing, with no preconceptions, no particular structure, just following my ears where they wanted me to go. Four of these pieces are included here.
On March 31, 2021, I suffered a syncope (lost consciousness) while riding my bike and fractured my left clavicle, broke two ribs, and sustained a serious laceration to the index finger of my left hand. But I felt lucky to be alive and determined to find a way to express the music that had been brewing in my mind, which seemed even more important to express. I couldn’t use my injured finger for another three months, but that summer I started practicing diligently to try to regain my dexterity, or at least find out what my fingers were willing to do.
My wife, Claudia, and I spent the fall of 2021 in Santiago, Chile, and I started thinking that if I was going to perform this new music, I would need to record demos of the tunes I was playing, as the music, with a few exceptions, didn’t sound much like the music I had played during the previous thirty years. Recording those demos turned into this project, the working title of which was, for a long time, Quarantine Demos.
Though it started as a collection of demos, Flown South feels like a record: a “record” of my music at this point in time, when my music and life are changing. The new title, Flown South, reflects the fact that Claudia and I are moving to Chile in the fall of 2022, but it also reflects an attempt to reverse the feeling that my musical life had “gone south.” The album cover photo was taken by me during our stay in Chile in 2021, one twilit night when a zorzal alighted on a nearby house.
All songs composed, arranged, performed (except as noted), programmed, produced, and recorded by Scott Nygaard, 2021–2022. © Fret Soup Music (BMI)
Alisa Rose: violin (3, 6, 7)
Joe K. Walsh: mandolin (1, 7)
Mixed by Joey Nygaard (Joe Nora)
Mastered by David Glasser, Airshow Mastering
Guitars: 1948 Gibson J-45, 2017 custom Creston Electric
Cover Photo by Scott Nygaard, Santiago de Chile, 2021
Cover Design by Claudia Campazzo
Special thanks to Claudia, Joey, Joe, Alisa, Jim Nunally, Creston Lea, David Glasser, Phyllis Daniel, and Bruno Campazzo.
Flown South consists of four tunes written in the 1980s (“Itutu,” “What Your Eyes Have Done,” “Gondwandaland,” “Off Track”), three pieces written in 2021 (“Halloween Quarantine,” “Or Not,” “Blues for Señor Pato”), three tunes written between 1989 and 2021 (“Tall Roger,” “Flown South,” “Princely”), and four improvised solo acoustic guitar pieces recorded in February 2021 (“Understanding Makes the Brain Lazy,” “Chamomilia,” “What’s It Like to Know What It’s Like to Know,” “Interruption”).
Direct and indirect musical influences on Flown South include but are not limited to Clarence White, Lester Young, Bill Frisell, Henry Threadgill, Billie Holiday, Robbie Robertson, Ornette Coleman, Roger Tallroth, John Scofield, Geri Allen, Darol Anger, Diblo Dibala, Paul Bley, John Miller, Duke Ellington, Amos Garrett, Wayne Shorter, Linda Waterfall, James Blood Ulmer, Jim Hall, Prince, Eric Dolphy, and Charlie Christian.