Scott Holt

Dark of the Night

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Give Scott Holt credit for trying to breathe life into the modern electric blues with his second album, Dark of the Night. He is clearly indebted to tradition -- he spent over a decade as a sideman for Buddy Guy, and he performs not only with his band but with Stevie Ray Vaughan's Double Trouble and the Jimi Hendrix Experience as backing bands -- but he never mimics his predecessors, even if he's covering "Crosstown Traffic." His guitar is lively and vibrant, projecting more of synthesis of various styles rather than duplication. Holt also chooses some unusual songs, opening the album with Prince's "Five Women" and the Clash's "Train in Vain (Stand By Me)." All of these departures from the norm are quite welcome, as is Holt's strong musicianship, but the record is occasionally bogged down by his strained, bluesy vocalizing, which unfortunately comes to the forefront on such interesting choices as "Train in Vain." Even with this weakness, however, the record has a considerable amount of life and style -- enough to make it a satisfying step forward from Holt.

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