"It's that thing that lit the fire when I was a kid, that passion and sense of discovery that came with listening to the radio." - Boz Scaggs
Through a 55-year career, meteoric success and 19 albums, Boz Scaggs has always shown a reverence for music history. Often mistaken for a Bay Area native, he actually grew up in Texas, where he learned to play guitar with his childhood friend Steve Miller. It was an intensely formative time - fueled by the early days of rock 'n' roll and the heady combination of blues, country and R&B music that he tuned in on his bedroom radio. Ray Charles, Jimmy Reed, Bobby "Blue" Bland - these were his teachers.
His newest work, "Out of the Blues," is the third album of a back-to-the-roots journey through the touchstones of his life. While the other two albums swung southern and soulful, this one hits closest to home - a recognition that everything Scaggs has done in some way comes out of the blues. And he's backed by a gang of ace musicians including Ray Parker Jr. and Charlie Sexton on guitar, Jim Keltner on drums and Willie Weeks on bass. Along with some necessary Jimmy Reed and Bobby Bland classics, high points on the album include the roadhouse rocker "Little Miss Night and Day," the soul-tinged "Radiator 110," and a poignant cover of Neil Young's "On The Beach" - a meditation on despair and resilience made more profound with the knowledge that Scaggs lost his Napa home in the California wildfires a few years ago.
"It's only later in my life that I've rediscovered why I started this in the first place," he says, "why at 13 years old I sat on the bed playing guitar and had this insatiable appetite for music. Tremendous energy goes into starting these things. Depending on how much energy you have determines if you're still around."