New Album “Flown South” Released on Bandcamp

I just released my new album “Flown South” on Bandcamp.

https://scottnygaard.bandcamp.com/releases

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.

New Writing Pages

I’ve just updated this site with some of my writing, including some old interviews and reviews. I’ll be posting a lot more, including some poetry and fiction soon. Stay tuned.

NEW CD: The Harmonic Tone Revealers

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John Reischman, Sharon Gilchrist, and I have released our new recording: The Harmonic Tone Revealers. You can order downloads and CDs at CDBaby.com and downloads at Bandcamp, and it’s also available, on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc. This was a blast to make and I hope people enjoy our take on some of the gems of the traditional old-time and bluegrass canon. Here’s what I said about it in the liner notes, along with a tune list.

In our past recordings together, including each of our debut recordings, John and I have tended to focus on our own instrumental compositions, but with this trio recording with Sharon, we’ve chosen traditional and “sounds like traditional” tunes that sound at home on our instruments and under our fingers. That they also come from or are associated with many of our greatest musical heroes—Bill Monroe, Clarence and Roland White, Kenny Baker, Doc Watson, and a bevy of great fiddlers—is probably not accidental. We didn’t set out to record a tribute to all these fine folks, but it looks like we have, most likely because it’s impossible for us to escape their influence. The focus of this recording became clearer when we ventured into the wondrous Sage Arts studio in Arlington, Washington, thanks to the generosity of Ed Littlefield, Erick Jaskowiak, and Fred Forssell. The sound of us sitting in a circle around a small forest of mics and simply playing tunes in this wonderful sounding room, shepherded by Erick’s engineering genius, inspired us to keep it simple, an aural document of a fortuitous meeting: a couple of days in November 2015 and a couple more in April 2016. —Scott Nygaard

Half Past Four Traditional, from Ed Haley

Cousin Sally Brown Traditional, from Marcus Martin

Midnight on the Water Luke Thomasson

My Father’s Footsteps Bill Monroe

I Am a Pilgrim Traditional, with a nod to Clarence and Roland White

The Girl Who Broke My Heart Traditional Irish, from Kevin Burke

Little Sadie Traditional, thanks to Doc Watson

The Road to Malvern Jim Childress

Queen of the Earth, Child of the Stars Traditional, from Edden Hammonds

Sail Away Ladies Traditional, from Kenny Baker

Little Liza Jane Traditional, from JP Fraley

My True Love Away Traditional, from Eliza Carthy and Kate Rusby

Reischman, Nygaard, and Gilchrist live on the Roots Channel

On our last tour, John, Sharon, and I played at Empty Sea Studios in Seattle, and the Roots Channel just posted video of our performance. Check it out here.

Reischman, Nygaard, and Gilchrist Tour and Recording

I’m excited to be doing some gigs with the fabulous John Reischman and Sharon Gilchrist in October. We’ll be recording in the Pacific Northwest in early November and doing some warm-up gigs on the way North. Here’s the itinerary:

Tuesday Oct 28, House Concert, Berkeley, CA. Email info@sharongilchristmusic.com for reservations and information.

Wednesday Oct 28, The Headwaters Room of Geos Institute, 84 Fourth Street, Ashland, Oregon, 7 pm. Call 541-552-1665 for tickets.

Thursday Oct 29, Summit Community Center, Blodgett (near Corvallis), Oregon

Friday Oct 30, House Concert, Portland Oregon

Saturday Oct 31, Empty Sea Studios, Seattle, Washington

Sunday Nov 1, YWCA Grand Ballroom, Bellingham, Washington

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Ship in the Clouds Sets Sail

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Ship in the Clouds is a new trio with yours truly, Jake Schepps (banjo), and Alisa Rose (fiddle), playing an eclectic mix of string music, including Bartok, Brazilian choro, and original bluegrass-oriented instrumental tunes. We’ll set sail with a short Northern CA tour.

Nov 13: DuendeOakland, CA, 8 pm. Ship in the Clouds.

Nov 14: ViracochaSan Francisco, CA. Ship in the Clouds and the Rob Reich Trio.

Nov 15: Music Near the HearthSunnyvale, CA. 6:30 pm. Ship in the Clouds.

Nov 16: Arcata PlayhouseArcata, CA. 8 pm. Ship in the Clouds.

Peghead Nation Is Live!

Peghead Nation Is Live!

As many of you know, for the last 10 months or so, I, along with my partners Dan Gabel and Teja Gerken, have been hard at work on a new roots-music instruction, gear, and news site called Peghead Nation, which I am overjoyed to announce is now live!!

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We’ve got 15 courses in various styles of guitar, dobro, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and ukulele, with illustrious instructors like Bill Evans, Mike Witcher, Sharon Gilchrist, Teja Gerken, Stevie Coyle, Brittany Haas, Chad Manning, Orville Johnson, Marcy Marxer, Adrianne Serna, and yours truly.

I’m teaching two courses: Flatpicking Guitar and Weekly Guitar Workout, a series of weekly exercises designed to help guitarists learn the fingerboard. We’ll also have CD reviews, performance videos, instrument demos, and more. So please check it out, sign up for a course (or two), and let us know what you think of our new Peghead Nation.

Sleeping Lady (Fairfax, CA) with Teja Gerken and Mark Goldenberg, Sept. 10

Come on out to the Sleeping Lady in my hometown of Fairfax, CA, for a little guitar round-robin with fingerstylist supreme Teja Gerken and sideman-to-the-stars (and phenomenal solo guitarist) Mark Goldenberg.

Sept. 10, Sleeping Lady Cafe, 23 Broadway, Fairfax, CA. 9 – 11 pm. 

House Concert with David Grier, Santa Cruz, July 13

I’ll be doing a house (backyard) concert with the amazing David Grier at Steve Palazzo’s house in Santa Cruz, CA, on Sunday July 13. We’ll each do a short solo set and then a set together. Email spalazzo@cruzio.com for reservations.

Peghead Nation IndieGoGo Campaign

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As some of you know, I’m in the process of launching a new roots-music instruction, news, and gear site for players of guitar, mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle, bass, and ukulele. It’s called Peghead Nation and it will launch in May 2014.

Peghead Nation is the brainchild of three former Acoustic Guitar magazine editors: myself, Teja Gerken, Dan Gabel. With Peghead Nation’s subscription-based e-learning courses, musicians will learn to play their favorite instruments with some of the best teachers in the roots music community. They will also stay up-to-date with the latest happenings and news from the roots music world with our video demonstrations of new instruments and gear, reviews of great new albums and videos, backstage conversations with touring musicians, thought-provoking and humorous columnists, and much more.

Before we get started however, we need a little financial support, so we’ve launched an IndieGoGo fundraising campaign. Please check it out and help if you can: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/peghead-nation-launch/x/6506308

Thanks,

Scott