Thursday, January 26, 2017

Scott Urgola of Somers Follows in the Footsteps of Peter Seeger and Woody Guthrie

Somers musician Scott Urgola isn’t shy about pledging his allegiance and influence to the Woody Guthrie’s and Pete Seeger’s of the world - and the manner in which they defined themselves “as commercial, noncommercial artists.” Playing at the side of the road for whatever causes that came along, he says of Seeger, “at 90 years old, he’s still out there doing it.”  But for now, the 26 year old singer/songwriter is going to keep it indoors, and in the Hootenanny sing along spirit of Woody Guthrie, he’s holding a February 20th CD release party at The Elephant Hotel in Somers.

Already with an affiliation to the Somers Historical Society, he came across the place that the Somers Town Hall once held as a center of social occasions and community events.  “I thought, wouldn’t it be great to bring it back to that,” he says.

Accompanying him, he hopes as many of the 13 local musicians who had a hand in putting together, “The Time is Now,” will be on hand. Of course, his father and sister should be slated in as certainties, as they lent their vocals to his second CD of original Americana music.

Despite her silence, Urgola’s mother will quietly be in attendance too.  “I couldn’t get Mom to sing on the album,” he says, but Urgola isn’t just going on the unconditional approval of those closest to him.

On the strength of his first CD, “Restoration Lullaby,” and before starting work on this album, Urgola had the opportunity to record with a producer in Nashville two summers ago. Not willing to compromise his vision to what most would consider a good career move, he deferred in the spirit of the giants mentioned above.  “The main thing that I am interested in is putting something out that I am proud of,” he says.”

As such, he’s then relegated to full time work at the Salem Hills Nursing Home in Purdy’s, but the work still returns a reward that a true musician should be happy with, he believes. Bringing his guitar to work, he understands that music is a universal language that can break down a nearly impenetrable barrier like Alzheimer’s or just a simple generation gap. “You’re still working with people and using music as a positive tool, and that’s the most important thing,” he says.

Otherwise and after 5 O’clock, people obviously populate the final product of his work, while requiring them to adhere strictly to his vision is not on the playbill. Rather than simply following something written on a piece of paper, he says, “I’m not just telling the person what to do so you’ll be more likely to get the full extent of what the person is capable of.”

Along the way, though, as his ideas initially emerge, the most important collaboration comes from Rachel Sukert – his girlfriend of eight years (and now fiancé.) Off his lyrics, her keen ear can create harmony on the spot or develop with him over the long term. “It’s a great situation to have someone who’s so close to you who can do that for you,” he says.

Unfortunately, the one family connection that is now lacking came out of the tragic death of his Uncle Scott three years ago. Dedicating the album to his uncle and immortalizing him in, “Since You Went Away,” he says, “It’s therapeutic in a way to sing the song and capture his essence.”

Nonetheless, he envisions that the event at the Elephant Hotel will connect people to the historical past of Somers and give people the chance to support local artists. In the Hootenanny mentality, he concludes, “It should be different and it should be interesting.”

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