It is important to understand another person’s perspective, and today more than ever this is true. My work has helped me do this with a considerable amount of empathy. But what is it like to be a mass shooter, a person living with dementia? What plea might a person deeply addicted to opioids make?
My name is Scott Garred. I’ve been a board certified music therapist working in mental health for over 15 years. I have served in state psychiatric facilities, private hospitals, memory care, and prison. Through music therapy sessions I have worked with a variety of criminals and people with severe mental health issues.
It was no longer enough to sing about a thought or feeling related to my work or personal life; something I’ve done for nearly 30 years and for as many albums as leader of Super XX Man (1995-2015) and Silver Scooter (1995-2001). I flipped the script completely for this new album.
The first song I came up with was “Now Do You Believe.” I was commuting by bike one day and found myself singing “Up, up, up I climb with a sack full of bullets and a head full of blood.” I found a way to place this lyric over finger-picked guitar, climbing bass, and glockenspiel. I sat with it for a while. I wasn’t sure it was a good idea to be writing from this perspective.
So I tried another song, this one from a priest’s perspective. The song is a letter, maybe to the Archbishop, saying “I don’t want to be ordained anymore.” I tried to capture the troubled thoughts a priest might have after discovering a colleague’s sins.
My first recording of this particular song, “Spying On Your Lies,” sounded almost note for note like Willie Nelson’s version of “Always On My Mind.” So I still wasn’t sure but I kept writing more songs; some were about artificial intelligence, climate change, and dementia. I needed more perspective. That’s when I shared the song demos with Kelly.
Kelly Atkins is a multi-talented singer with Kitka and 20 Minute Loop. She makes her voice sound theremin-like, insect-like, and just plain gorgeous-like. She also produces and directs video content for all her projects, including for my song “Dementia/Blue.”
Kelly and I spoke by phone and she said, “This creative deep dive into empathy is especially touching to me right now.” And just like that, I had the confidence to continue writing and recording.
As I completed mixes and sent them to Kelly, she layered vocals on top and offered ideas. It was her suggestion to musically create what a mass shooter might be thinking. So I added layers of messy distorted guitars that swarm the listener’s head as I sing “Now do you believe?” just in time for the final downbeat of the song. It was as if I was asking people in my life, “Now do you believe what I can do?”
If you would like to learn more about this album, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly to me. I would love to tell you more about it.
supported by 4 fans who also own “Scott Songs Vol. II”
been listening to Scott's stuff since seeing Silver Scooter for the first time at a coffee house in Austin, TX..outstanding artist...looking forward to more he records...like having connects with him on facebook, and now Bandcamp! Oliver Vanderlip