Rising Canadian singer-songwriter Scotty James has built himself quite the following by harnessing the power of social media. Connecting directly with his fans through the medium, Scotty has found a hungry audience for his music. His song Toes spread like wildfire on Facebook with the video clocking up an enviable amount of views (it’s had over 169,000 to date) and his most recent single My Car has bested that with over 274,000 views. Recently Scotty unleashed his debut album Streets.
A few listens through Streets tells you exactly who Scotty’s influences are. His sound is modern country with more a pop leaning than traditional nods to the genre. He’s aiming to hit the same market that has turned Sam Hunt into a global superstar and one of the biggest breakout stars of the genre in years. Streets opens with My Car, quickly establishing the feel-good summery vibe that Scotty has running through the majority of his songs. He delivers a husky vocal that incorporates R&B rhythms into its delivery while a banjo riff lifts the country aspect of the song. The song is designed for radio and you can imagine a huge audience singing along at the top of their lungs to every word.
Across the album’s 10 tracks, Scotty really embraces modern country music fusing pop and R&B into each song. Back to Those Streets is one of the moments that really lets Scotty’s voice shine. He has a husky, almost whispery tone but one the verses you get to hear his vibrato, which is underused across the album. Nobody strips the production away a little more giving Scotty’s vocal the opportunity to drive the song, rather than the other way round.
Elsewhere on the record Scotty harmonises with a female vocalist on the highlight Cuckoo, incorporates a bouncy rhythm and dramatic violin on album closer Hard Goodbye and shows he’s capable of pulling off a ballad on That Girl Is a Mustang.
One criticism to be levelled at Streets is that there simply isn’t enough variety across the 10 tracks. There’s nothing wrong with any of the songs on here, they are all perfectly enjoyable, but the lack of variety does mean that one song can morph into another making them a little hard to tell apart.
For a debut Streets is a solid effort from Scotty. At times his voice gets a little lost in the production and I’d like to hear that sound a bit stronger on his future material. His tone brings to mind Mike Posner but there are moments on the record that suggest he could push his ability that little bit more to wring a little more honesty and vibrato out of it. Streets does enough to position Scotty as a rising star to keep an eye on and I’ll certainly be keeping track of him.
Track List: 1. My Car 2. Toes 3. Sugar Don’t 4. Back to Those Streets 5. Nobody 6. That Girl is a Mustang 7. Cancun 8. Still 9. Cuckoo 10. Hard Goodbye Record Label: Liberty Stone Records Release Date: 17th March 2017