Scott Garred continued his refreshingly intimate Super XX Man project with the release of Vol. VI, Collecting Rocks in 2003 on Lelp Recordings. The warm, acoustic folk sound has served Garred well, after having earned his indie rock stripes as the leader of Silver Scooter. The album chronicles the story of his grandfather's journey on a boxcar, from Minnesota to Oregon, ending on a beach, collecting rocks with Garred's grandmother. "I'm Alive Again" opens the disc on a brief, optimistic tone, while "Coulee City" combines hand claps, a subtle guitar solo, and surprisingly morbid lyrical imagery. "Casper Nights" includes guitar and piano, which add up to create a slow richness to the lyrics of mediation-by-driving. While Garred's vocal limitations might prevent him from gaining worldwide acclaim, his striking lyrics set him apart from many of his peers. In the end, his casual vocal approach might be best for these simple and modest mini-epics. "New Memories" features Garred the storyteller, complete with harmonica, which adds a unique richness to the brief track. "Deep Aquatic Me" features lyrics of self-doubt mixed with oddly light instrumentation, and "Pilot Rock" tells the tale of Garred's grandfather's chance meeting with his soon-to-be bride, resulting in quite possibly the best track of the collection, both musically and lyrically. The disc ends with "Collecting Rocks," a sincere extended epic narrating Garred's grandparents' tradition of collecting rocks on the ocean beach. The disc as a whole is remarkably personal and warm, resulting in some of Garred's best work to date.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cramer