Most country front men and women can play rhythm guitar as well as sing, but that’s usually about as far as it goes. There are exceptions, like Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Lindsay Ell and a few others who can tear off a mean guitar solo.
But then there’s Scotty Alexander, who has made a name for himself since he was a child not only as a country singer, but also as a multi-instrumentalist, playing fiddle and basically anything else with strings. His resume includes an eight-year stint as musical director with Wayne Newton in Las Vegas, a gig as musical director for Disney actress and singer Lucy Hale, and working as a digital editor in Nashville on albums by numerous platinum artists. But Alexander never leaves his roots which hearken back to the earlier days of country music, and is currently going full-tilt as a solo country artist, with steady roadwork and a new single, “One More Reason,” from his upcoming album, Road We’re On. Now based in Texas, Alexander talked about what he’s been up to during a road trip to Vegas to play at Gilley’s nightclub on the Strip.
“For me, the center of my music and my community is based out of South Texas,” he said. “I’ve intentionally never updated my style and what I do, and being a fiddle player it just made sense that I became part of the community down there, since Nashville has gone so askew with its version of country music. And as far as the West Coast goes, there’s nothing left in [Las Vegas] except the occasional Gilley’s date, and in California, it’s kind of gone the same route as Nashville, kind of a pop country thing. And that’s fine. Time marches on. But for me, trying to find my audience, Texas was the place for me to go.”
Like so many, Alexander made the pilgrimage to Nashville about a decade ago in search of a record deal, and landed a deal with Merf Music Group as an artist/writer, while also spending several years working as a digital editor during the recording process of some major albums. “The records I worked on [as an editor] were very high-level, like Taylor Swift’s Red album. I did the Brad Paisley records from ’12-’16, Josh Turner, Carly Pearce … as a digital editor, when the tracks come out of the studio, there’s lots of noise and the vocals aren’t tuned and the drums aren’t pocketed. It’s very delicate work, very time-consuming, and you really have to be a musician to do it right to make it sound natural.”
“But my entire intention with moving to Nashville was to get a record deal and to write my own songs,” he continued. “And we took every meeting in that town, produced several projects and played for people, the whole thing, and just got turned down, right, left and center. Our sound was considered dated because everybody was doing bro-country and pop country and I wouldn’t do it.”
Alexander said “One More Reason” is just the first single leading up to the release of Road We’re On. “There will be a series of singles throughout the holidays before the album comes out,” he said. “We’re three vocals away from having the entire album finished, and we’ve started working on a new project for ’22.”
“I had an offer to stay with Disney when I was working with Lucy Hale,” he said. “I was with Lucy for a little over a year and I really enjoyed that job. But I never wanted to be the general in someone else’s war, I wanted to do it myself. And I’m really glad that I struck out on my own. I love what I’m doing right now, because I get to do all of that for myself. I produce my own records, and I make sure I get what I want from my guys on my records. Win or lose, it’s on my shoulders, and I enjoy that responsibility.”
Alexander is on the road in support of his new music for the rest of the year in Texas, in addition to monthly appearances at Gilley’s in his old stomping grounds on the Las Vegas Strip. Follow him at scottyalexander.com.