But Beautiful

For the first release on his new independent Grey Cat label, Scaggs puts his skilled tunesmithing aside in order to flex his interpretative vocal muscles on 10 pop standards.

For the first release on his new independent Grey Cat label, Scaggs puts his skilled tunesmithing aside in order to flex his interpretative vocal muscles on 10 pop standards. Although it would be easy to shrug this set off as the effort of yet another pop star who has outlived his top 40 viability, it would be wholly unfair. Scaggs has never really been a slave to the charts. Rather, his hits have often come despite trends. In many ways, But Beautiful is a logical progression for an artist who has always worn his traditional jazz and classic-pop influences with pride. He dons material like the Duke Ellington title cut with remarkable comfort and confidence. As a result, this collection feels more like an intriguing new direction for Scaggs—and not merely a novel interlude. It will be interesting to see where this "beautiful" set will lead the enduring artist.—LF