Alison Scott collaborates with local musicians on new covers album

The soulful singer Alison Scott is about to release her latest studio album, Hiding Under the Covers, Volume II, a collection of covers that includes pieces by Elliott Smith, Radiohead, and Elton John to name a few.

Deciding to intersperse her original releases with cover albums came as a natural decision to Scott. Her last covers EP, Hiding Under the Covers, was dedicated to Minnesota artists like Prince, Bob Dylan, and Paul Westerberg. This time around, the singer wanted to do some stuff she grew up with, including "Trust Yourself" written by her producer/manager Kevin Bowe for Etta James.

Making each song her own was not a difficult process for Scott, who says, "I make it a point to not learn the original very well, and then it just kind of happens. I had only heard 'Trampled Underfoot' twice before we decided how the arrangement would go. We tended to pick a lot of guy songs -- that makes it easier to reinterpret it."

When asked if she thought doing a covers album was more difficult than writing an album of original songs, Alison concedes, "That's a difficult question to answer. I'm a songwriter, but this is my chance to be a vocalist. You have to be very careful when you put out a covers album. You want to reinterpret it to a point without being offensive to the original, but you also don't want people to tell you that you're just copying the original. It's a fine line."

Scott looked to local musicians for help on the new album. "We loved Chris Koza, so we knew we wanted to do something with him. As soon as we brought Elliott Smith's "Waltz #2" into the mix, it seemed to suit him." "Tomorrow Never Knows" was a piece initially recorded for the MN Beatles Project, and Alison decided to include it on the new album with Desdamona contributing a rap on the song.

Underneath her type A personality lies the soulful heart of a rock star, evidenced by the wrist tattoo peeking out from her jacket -- which is a bit of an analogy to her music career that started out when she entered a contest for songwriting. "I was so shy and had such stage fright when I started out, but I loved to write music," Alison says. It was at this contest held by Women in Music Minnesota that Alison met her future producer, and later manager, Kevin Bowe. "After I won, I sat down with Kevin and one of the other judges, and we hashed out what  I was looking for direction-wise. The other guy was not on the same page. I was so young and couldn't articulate what I wanted, but I knew what I wanted. Kevin also knew what I was going for, and he wasn't going to turn me into a pop star -- which was not something I was interested in."

Trends are what a pop stars base their careers on, but not so Alison. "I'd like to get to the point where my music reached a lot more people that it does now. It may be true that fame equals success, and it's something I think about, but I think I'm different from a lot of musicians. I just love music, and I don't need to be onstage having people adore me. The band and I just make the music we love, and we hope everybody loves it too."

Alison Scott will release Hiding Under the Covers, Volume II at the Varsity Theater along with Kevin Bowe and the Okemah Prophets on Friday, June 8, 2012.
18+, $12 with student ID, $15, 7 pm

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