In this LoveGood exclusive interview, Jimmy sits down with long-time friend of the movement, Nashville-based musician Scott Mulvahill. After touring with the “father of bluegrass”, Ricky Skaggs, for over three years, Scott began the journey toward his own solo career last year: he and Jimmy discuss the joys and challenges of the transition, and the necessary maturation it has inspired. Scott shares about the importance of learning how to receive critique, rewrite, and put forth the best you can do, and gives a fascinating explanation on how he merges the polyrhythms that characterize his songs.
Jimmy opens the discussion by asking Scott about his time on the road with Ricky Skaggs. Scott shares about how formative the experience was, both personally and professionally, and describes how a cover the band did of the classic tune “20-20 Vision” ended up being the “thing” that opened his eyes to his ability to merge his bass playing with his singing.
“When did you realize you had something special going for you?” Jimmy asks. Scott says that honest feedback from trusted veteran musicians is what’s gradually convicted him of his place in the musical landscape: one friend told him, upon hearing a handful of his earliest songs, that what he had written was “Good: but not great. You have so much musicality that you’re not using here.” That critique challenged Scott to rise to his own potential and push the bar further when tapping into his creative gifts.
Following this, Jimmy comments on how Scott has many fans who have been along for his journey over the past few years, and have seen him evolve. “People have been following you and catching these key moments in your career,” he says. “What goes into the timing of this album [Himalayas]? What are your hopes?”
“It’s been a long and winding road,” Scott says. While the album was finished last year, he postponed releasing it because at the time he was still touring with Ricky – “I wanted to give it my full attention and effort – maximum potential.” The circumstances surrounding the album’s release this September are ideal, too: immediately following its release, Scott will be going on tour with Lauren Daigle through the Fall and into the Spring, playing in over 40 cities. Along the way he and his management team will try to set up radio appearances in the cities they’re gigging in.
“It’s good for us to hear the process,” Jimmy says. “Nobody really understands just HOW MUCH comes together before an album really pops. It’s neat to see a lot of moving pieces that are coming together beautifully. A lot of exciting and magical things happening all at once. Tell us a bit about the creative process for you. I know you think deeply about things – it would be interesting to hear what goes on. How do you stretch yourself creatively and emotionally?”
“It’s an ongoing process. You learn how to write as a craft – distill what you want to say. With arranging songs on the bass I have to start in slowmo, because there’s a coordination aspect that’s pretty challenging. Melodies and riff interact in ways that take patience. I have to notice which words line up with the instrument, which words fall between the voice of the instrument…you have to zoom way in on each measure. Once I do that, it starts to gel and click,” Scott explains. He goes on, describing the rigorous preparation and approach he was exposed to during University, where he studied jazz and classical bass. “To perform a piece of music in the classical world, they’ll practice it for years often times before they perform it. By then it’s epically flawless. Why wouldn’t I put the same rigor into my own songs? You need to practice your own music – to not do so would be ridiculous.”
In closing, Jimmy asks Scott about the theme of his album: why Himalayas as the title track?
“Himalayas sums up what the music is about,” Scott says. “Pushing boundaries. Facing the fear, facing the world – and seeing the positive exploration in that. There’s an intensity to the need [to know] – the longing to either see things, or express things – to know yourself, to know others in an intimate way. It’s part of our human nature. It’s a longing thing.”
WATCH THE EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW HERE