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Ray Scott

Guitar for Sale – 2017 (Jethropolitan)

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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CDs by Ray Scott

If you thought you accidentally misfiled an old Toby Keith CD in the case of Ray Scott's fifth album "Guitar For Sale," after pressing play, it's understandable. Scott has a distinctive baritone and the drinking songs are at the top of the order with the autobiographical lead single "Livin' This Way," a melancholy tale of an addict aware of his failings and trying to dry out. "It's dark as hell and everything a record label probably want me to stay away from," Scott said. He has admittedly lived two lives; his label days 12 years ago with Warner Bros. where he scored a Top 40 song, "My Kind Of Music" and then the ensuing do it yourself route, releasing his music digitally and now with his own Jethropolitan label. A staunch traditionalist sonically and lyrically, Scott has a co-write credit on all but 1 of the 11 tracks.

The relationship songs forgo summer love and gentle ballads and instead feature gunplay going both ways. "Put Down That Gun" is a hokey romp where he stares down the barrel pointed by an angry woman while on "Worth Killin' For," he vows to protect his lady from an interested suitor with the very same weapon.

Levity is king on "Pray for the Fish," about a man, so wrought with sin that his baptism in the water, and the washing off of his sins, hardly leaves room for the fish to swim. Cut on Randy Travis' 2002 album "Rise And Shine," the song has an appropriate gospel choir feel.

Sonically, the album leans toward traditional with a stripped down acoustic feel. Thematically, it weaves its way through imperfection, addiction and lost love with a dash of humor. It is a steady as she goes effort and takes few chances. It has been Scott's M.O. his whole career.