Tom Murray, Freelance
June 18, 2010
Tuesday at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $53.15 to $74.15, available from Ticketmaster, 780-451-8000
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It's been more than three decades since his biggest album and Boz Scaggs may still be the coolest man in rock. Not in terms of present-day notions of hipness -- oh no -- but in vocal delivery, laconic stage presence, attire, and a stubborn refusal to bend to any trend after Silk Degrees tore through the charts in 1976.
And really, why would you want to even consider changing it up after inventing the most utterly elegant black tie soul-funk, along with future members of the band Toto? Lowdown, Harbor Lights and We're All Alone are classics of their kind, Yacht Rock mainstays of such silky smooth sophistication that they remain high on the list of seduction anthems, ahead of even R Kelly or Johnny Mathis. For full effect, martinis must be sipped while listening to this music, sunglasses must be worn, and most importantly, they need to be played at 5 a.m., hopefully on a beach.
It's tough to beat an album like Silk Degrees, and while Scaggs gave it a try (two more hits a few years later with Jojo and Breakdown Straight Ahead), it was inevitable that he try his hand with R 'n' B and smooth jazz as the '90s came to a close. Blues is also still a big part of his show. Last year's Edmonton Folk Festival appearance had Scaggs tearing through a scorching solo on Loan Me a Dime, demonstrating his often-underrated abilities as a guitarist.
There's no need for ironic detachment to enjoy Boz Scaggs, just an appreciation for smooth music and a date on your arm.
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