Boz Scaggs to bring ‘Memphis’ sound to Centennial TerraceWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
There may not be an umbrella big enough in Sylvania if Boz Scaggs sings “Rainy Night in Georgia” at Centennial Terrace this week.
His stirring cover of Brook Benton’s 1970 hit drips with emotion, pain and longing pouring down.
“ ‘Rainy Night’ came about because I was doing a memorial concert for a philanthropist, a great man, in San Francisco,” the singer-songwriter said. “I was asked to do some music at an outdoor concert [for F. Warren Hellman]. I was trying to find something that would address the mood… I did attach to it that feeling of melancholy and loss or yearning that the song conveys.”
The song struck Scaggs, who recorded it for his 2013 disc “Memphis.”
“It was about three o’clock in the morning when we decided to record it. We were tired and it was really time to go home, but I said, ‘Let’s try that “Rainy Night.” ’ There was something about the time of night and the stillness of it that really opened that song up.”
Recording at Royal Studios in Memphis, Tenn., was special.
“It’s just a lovely, lovely family that runs and owns that studio. And they welcomed us, and they cooked for us; they just gave us so much of their spirit,” he said during a call from the road en route to Utah.
Willie Mitchell produced iconic records by Al Green, Chuck Berry, Ike and Tina Turner, Buddy Guy and others at the studio, which is still operated by his family.
“We ended up finishing the record in three days because everything felt right,” Scaggs said. “It was just magic.”
That ease is heard listening to the 10 covers and two originals on “Memphis.”
Touring with Donald Fagen and Michael McDonald as the Dukes of September, who played Toledo in 2012, inspired the guitarist.
“The Dukes of September was a chance for us to go out and play the stuff we love. Michael, Donald and I have mutual admiration for great rhythm and blues,” he said. “We went through hundreds of titles and in the course of doing that, it kind of led to this record.
“I went back over the list that I had made, and some of the songs I thought about made the list for the ‘Memphis’ project.”
Scaggs’ flair for wrapping his soulful, smooth voice around tracks gained attention with the 1976 album, “Silk Degrees,” which featured “Lowdown,” “Lido Shuffle” and “We’re All Alone.”
The stylish gentleman continued to be on the radio with “Breakdown Dead Ahead,” “Jojo,” “Look What You’ve Down to Me” and “Miss Sun.”
“I am first and foremost, in terms of what I try to do, a vocalist. So I’ve listened to everybody, and I think I borrowed so many pieces of different vocal styles of men and women in all fields that I love,” he said.
“I love guitar; I love all kinds of styles of guitar — Spanish guitar and Chet Atkins guitar, blues and rock ‘n’ roll, and white music and black music. I love rhythm and blues.”
Scaggs will bring his cool R&B to Centennial Terrace at 7:30 p.m. July 23. Dave Mason will open. General admission tickets are $27.50 in advance and $32.50 day of the show.