march 2011

mike scott

Mike Scott
Rural Rhythm Christian

Currently featured with Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition, guitarist/banjo man/vocalist Mike Scott offers a moving testimony of faith on his traditional gospel outing, Take Me Lord And Use Me. With the likes of Jason Carter (fiddle), Dennis Crouch (bass), Jesse Cobb (mandolin), Ferrell Stowe (dobro) and other top-flight players on hand, the music rootsy and energized (and impressively realized from cut to cut); and with Rhonda Vincent, Vince Gills, Sonya Isaacs, Claire Lynch and Ricky Skaggs helping out vocally, you know the singing is inspired and deeply committed. The material is mostly from contemporary writers, with some vintage tunes supplementing the newer fare, but all of it fitting together in a stirring whole.

Vince Gill lends a striking harmony vocal to the album opening title track, penned by Scott and his wife Brenda. Stately and direct, the song’s title is its message, with the lyrics conveying the sentiment of the believer’s conviction in his commitment to Christ. Paul Overstreet and Bruce Carroll collaborated on the sprightly “Cross Your Heart,” a forthright appeal directed at the lost sheep that haven’t yet found salvation “at the right of the throne.” Cobb, Carter, Stowe, Crouch and Ferrell fashion a lively, driving backdrop for Scott’s emotive tenor, which gets an extra boost from harmony vocals by Carl Jackson and Sonya Isaacs. In a couple of instances, the thought of being one with Christ is an occasion for celebratory vocalizing: Scott arranges the public domain tune “I Love to Praise Him” in a bouncy call-and-response style that leaves room for Jackson and Isaacs again to assert themselves with impassioned harmony vocals, as Carter and Stow put their marks on the endeavor with eager fiddle and dobro solos, respectively; and Hank Williams Sr.’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” anticipates a reunion with the Lord in glory, a sentiment given added oomph by the resonant presence of Rhonda Vincent’s voice, along with a rousing banjo solo from Scott himself. That same anticipation of meeting Jesus in Heaven fuels the sprightly take on Bill Monroe’s jubilant “When The Angels Carry Me Home,” which really gets going when Jason Carter steps in for a fiery fiddle solo early on, then soars vocally with Carl Jackson, Vincent and bass vocalist Shelton Feazell joining a powerful Scott lead by raising their own spirited voices in tandem on the title sentiment. As if acknowledging this album’s dominant theme, Scott offers a stately, humble reading of “Tis So Sweet To Trust Jesus,” sent up like a prayer with Claire Lynch’s sweet harmony buttressing Scott’s and a powerhouse mandolin trio of Buck White, Jesse McReynolds and John Maberry blending their instrumental voices to fashion a most evocative, worshipful atmosphere. As one man’s testimony of faith, Take Me Lord and Use Me succeeds on the strength of its dignified approach to getting its message across. No matter the high-powered guests on board, Scott’s approach is right down the middle, explaining without over-emoting what it is about his faith that inspires him and keeps him focused on the final reward. The music itself is so fine and so focused it could stand on its own as a spiritual statement. Any way you consider it, Mike Scott has produced the most persuasive sort of testimony.—David McGee

Mike Scott’s Take Me Lord and Use Me is available at

Founder/Publisher/Editor: David McGee
Contributing Editors: Billy Altman, Laura Fissinger, Christopher Hill, Derk Richardson
Logo Design: John Mendelsohn (
Website Design: Kieran McGee (
Staff Photographers: Audrey Harrod (Louisville, KY;, Alicia Zappier (New York)
Mailing Address: David McGee, 201 W. 85 St.—5B, New York, NY 10024