Out of 'XS: Scott skips reality for Bonnaro
Last year the Hackensaw Boys were Charlottesville's emissaries. This year it's the Dave Matthews Band. But another familiar name will also represent Hooktown next month at that 700-acre Tennessee musical camp-a-thon known as Bonnaroo: Alexandra Scott.
The fourth annual outdoor extravaganza, running June 10-12, will feature the singer-songwriter all three days under the tent for up-and-coming artists.
"Needless to say, I'm terribly excited about this," Scott tells the Hook from her home in New Orleans.
In the late 1990s, Scott varied the urban sound of her old band, the District Basement Collective, with solo work that culminated in the 1999 album Styrofoam, which WNRN mined for a track for on its Station Break album.
Accolades for Scott have amped up since she moved to the Crescent City shortly after the turn of the century. Her new solo album, the independently released Spyglass, was named to a New Orleans alternative newsweekly's "best of" list– just three notches below the latest from the Neville Brothers.
And despite Scott's indie status, Theresa Andersson covered "Good Girl" for her own album and for the soundtrack of Infidelity, a 2004 Lifetime Network movie.
"If Gillian Welch and Gwen Stefani had a cool Bronte-reading younger sister, she'd be Alexandra Scott" said a reviewer in the Manchester Union. Another reviewer calls her "subversive." They left out "potty-mouthed."
Although she takes the "f-bomb" out of the album's lone cover, Radiohead's "Creep," she peppers Spyglass with decidedly airwave-unfriendly language– even repeating an x-rated bit in the heart of a power-pop number called "I Want a Boy" that might otherwise receive radio airplay.
"You'll be gratified to know," Scott says, "that I have been working on a G-rated version."
Friends say Scott recently rebuffed an offer from Survivor producer Mark Burnett to appear in a new reality show to find a singer for INXS, whose lead singer Michael Hutchence hanged himself in 1997.
"She auditioned purely because someone thought it would be funny," explains her producer, Tim Sommer. "She said, 'This isn't the way I want to be known.'"
Sommer, credited with signing Hootie & the Blowfish to Atlantic Records, brought lush production values to Spyglass and now partners with Scott in a duo called Hi-Fi Sky. They just released a disc called Music for Synchronized Swimming in Space.
A 1995 Vassar graduate, Scott dodges an inquiry about her age.
"My whole life I've wanted to be 66 years old, so that I could dress like Shirley MacLaine in Steel Magnolias, drink bourbon during the day, and garden obsessively," she says.
Scott's last visit to town was a barely publicized and thinly attended affair at Gravity Lounge in August. More recently, she opened solo for Richard Thompson and even sang at JazzFest this year (with regional favorite John Boutte)– in front of 1,000 people.
"I do like playing for packed houses," Scott confesses. "Let's hope more of it happens."
FILE PHOTOS BY JEN FARIELLO