Alison Scott: A Soulful Christmas is the biggest thing I've taken on

Alison Scott: A Soulful Christmas is the biggest thing I've taken on
Photo by George Roedler

One of the hardest working musicians in town has decided to take over Christmas this year. Alison Scott has been planning all year for this month of seven shows that take her and her band (Kevin Bowe, Steve Price, Peter Anderson) all over the state and invite integrate the community into her concerts. The evenings will lean heavily on holiday songs and warm the heart of anyone lucky enough to be in attendance.

Alison took the time to talk to Gimme Noise about what's she's been up to since the birth of her baby girl and how she's integrated motherhood into her career, along with the many details she has taken on in planning for her holiday tour.

Gimme Noise: How many shows are you doing for this mini holiday tour?

Alison Scott: Seven shows in six venues -- two are at the Chanhassen Dinner Theater.

Gimme Noise: Why are you doing so many shows?

Alison Scott: We're trying to launch an annual show, and I want to do it with venues closer to home -- venues where I've played and have a connection with the audience.

Gimme Noise: But you've done holiday shows before.

Alison Scott: Yeah, but the ones I did at the Dakota and the Varsity were essentially shows with my music and a handful of holiday songs. These upcoming shows will be mostly holiday songs with some of my originals.

Gimme Noise: You just had a baby earlier this year. Why did you decide to take on such high production shows at such a busy time in your life?

Alison Scott: That's a very good question. [laughs] It is a very big production and a big undertaking. It's been the biggest thing I've put together so far without being involved with another organization. However, it keeps me close to home since Gracie has been born. We're playing, but traveling as far away. It's one of those things we hope can become part of the Alison Scott brand and something that people think of when they hear my name. That will keep me off the road, so it is a lot, but it allows me to be with my family.

Gimme Noise: Did your priorities change when you had your baby?

Alison Scott: My priorities changed for sure, but not any more than I expected. I think a lot of people, when they found out I was pregnant, expected me to just give up music, which shocked me. This is 2013. I have no interest in being on the road ten months and not seeing my child, but I think it's definitely possible to have a successful musical career and be a mom.

I think this line of work is conducive to having a child, because I'm home with her all day, and she goes to bed around the time I have gigs, so I'm not missing much. It's actually worked out really well. The thing that's really changed is we aren't traveling as much.

Gimme Noise: Why did people expect you to give up music?

Alison Scott: I don't know, and it came from people who I was surprised to hear it from. I think there's a stereotype that women should be with their kids. I definitely am lucky that we don't have to have her in daycare and the couple of afternoons that I teach she can go to my mom's home, but I think that there'd be a pretty big hole if I stopped working -- especially after I spent seven to eight years building up my career. [My band] and I are finally at a place where the phone is ringing for us rather than us chasing and having to work so hard to get gigs.

Gimme Noise: You're reaping what you sowed.

Alison Scott: Exactly, and I want to be around.

Gimme Noise: Eight years is a lot of time to invest in anything, and a lot of musicians don't want to stick it out because "What if I never make it?"

Alison Scott: I can't imagine being onstage without all of the support of my fans. I want to continue to perform and get out new material. 

Gimme Noise: With these holiday shows, will they be big productions, or will they mainly be musically focused?

Alison Scott: It's not like we wrote a play or anything, but we definitely have a higher production than our others show normally are. This time, I will have a six-piece band over my usual four-piece band (Kevin Bowe, Steve Price, Peter Anderson), and there will be musicians that will be rotating guests. We also have a choir at every show, which is not something I always get to do. They are rotating, and they are all school-aged kids. That will be really fun. Then we're doing some storytelling and stuff like that.

Gimme Noise: How did you connect with these schools and the choirs?

Alison Scott: I worked with the Minnesota Boys Choir several years back, and my brother had sung with them. I did some arrangements and wrote some of their material; it was one of the coolest things I have done. It's so powerful to have a whole stage backing you up, and it was really fun for these kids to be in a music atmosphere.

So I really wanted to work with those kids, but we decided to expand and include other choirs and have as many youth involved as possible. We based it on what cities I booked the shows in, then I would contact the local schools.

Gimme Noise: Was it difficult working with so many kids?

Alison Scott: I haven't even seen any of them. The way it's worked out is my brother wrote the choral arrangements, and I brought the schools my recordings of what the songs sounds like live. They're practicing with the recordings.

Gimme Noise: What's your favorite holiday song?

Alison Scott: "O Holy Night." I included it in the program. I don't know what it is about that song, but it's always been my favorite to sing. I've always just accompanied myself before, but now I'm bringing in more qualified people.

Alison Scott's A Soulful Christmas Concert Series and Album Release

12/4/2013 - Rochester Civic Theater - Rochester, MN
12/6/2013 - Lakeville Area Arts Center - Lakeville, MN
12/7/2013 - Crossing at Carnegie - Zumbrota, MN
12/14/2013 - Maplewood Performing Arts Theatre - Maplewood, MN
12/27-28/2013 - Chanhassen Dinner Theater - Chanhassen, MN
12/29/2013 - Lyrics Arts Company - Anoka, MN

Click here for more details and tickets.

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