Scott Sharrard Stares Down Depression In 'Saving Grace': Video Premiere

Derek McCabe
Scott Sharrard 

Gregg Allman's longtime bandleader and guitarist Scott Sharrard weighs into the music industry's invigorated discussion about depression and suicide with his new video, premiering exclusively below, for "Saving Grace," the title track of his recently released solo album.

"Like others, I've struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life," Sharrard tells Billboard, "and I've struggled to do that while trying to be a fully functional husband and father. In the end, this song is about losing the plot and diving into despair full stop. I think it’s a song about suicide really, about feeling so hopeless that you're ready to slip and let go." Filled with psychedelic imagery, the animated clip for the soulful, Southern-flavored rock track -- directed by Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr. and animated by Ronlee Nemeth -- depicts depression as an out-of-body, out-of-control experience with seemingly no escape or relief.

"I've lost a lot of mentors, influences, and friends to this disease, succumbing to mental illness -- as they say, a permanent solution to a temporary problem," says Sharrard, who recorded "Saving Grace" with the Swampers house band at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and with Sharrard playing Duane Allman's 1957 Gibson Les Paul Gold Top, loaned to him by the estate, for the first time on record since his death. "I think this lyric walks us over the edge, hopefully, so we never have to take that step...It's a very hard song to sing. I was glad to get the chance to dial this one in."

Saving Grace is Sharrard's first recording since Allman's death in May of 2017. He co-wrote the Grammy Award-nominated "My One True Friend" for Gregg Allman's posthumous album Southern Blood, while Saving Grace features "Everything a Good Man Needs," a co-write that's considered Allman's last-known original composition (Taj Mahal guests on the track).

"Gregg was a big supporter of my writing and singing and playing," Sharrard says. "He came out to one of my shows in New York City and watched the whole show and sat in with us. Even when we were making (Southern Blood) and we knew what was ahead for him, he encouraged me to continue to play and make the best music I can. I see him as a constant spiritual inspiration for me, and I soaked up as much as I could during my time with him. I'm really driven to make him proud and honor him and the other legends we've been losing by taking what I learned from them and using that to make my music better."