me show my hand early. I’m a big Scott Hisey fan. It started
in 2002 with the release of his debut album What Will The
Good Times Do. My fan following continued with his
stellar follow-up album, the industry underrated Dead Man
Walkin’. At the time, while writing for another
publication, I placed that album in my Top 10 for 2005. I
remember hearing the voice, a rich and primed-for-heartache
tone, and I keenly recall his writing and the song choices.
This guy is pure country was my thought at the time. Now
with his third album, Half Empty & Seeing Double, I
have no reason to shift.
But I’m still
wondering why this Ohio native has taken so long to break
through to wider appeal.
As we know, the path
to fame and recognition, especially in country music, is a
hard road to hoe. Hisey, who’s had independent success with
his first two albums – believed to have collectively sold
over 100,000 copies – is still grinding away at his chosen
passion, namely solid traditional sounding county. But, and
for reasons lost on me, because he is talented and as good
as anything doing the rounds, he is still waiting in the
That deserves to
Hisey has packed
this latest release with fare sure to please the most ardent
country fan. Moving to home base Nashville in 2006 to
further his possibilities, Hisey is primed, after the fairs,
lounges and a host of celebrated openings for bigger acts,
to claim his own place in the neon.
This album may just
overdrive from the opening cut, the energetic “Live Myself
to Death” Hisey highlights a country delivery that can rock,
all with an edge best described as soulful. On the rockier
cuts, “Live Myself…”, the ode to fast-living “Budweiser
Wagon”, “Last Call For A Southern Drawl” and the “You
Brought My Wife To Life”, Hisey has no lack of grits or
confidence. But while his style will suit those with a need
to scuff their boots on a Saturday night sawdust floor, it’s
in the calmer, mellow and reflective offerings he claims his
I mean this guy can
sing. Listen out for the ballads, the pain, the hurt, the
disappointment and the shattered pieces of the examined life
all come with a voice made for country heartache.
Don’t Wanna Be Me Anymore” has this daytime demo singer
reaching deep, telling of long sheltered emotions. When he
sings “I do not like the man I’ve become, a self-made
desperado quick to turn and run…when you’re runnin’ for the
devil he’s the one who’s keepin’ score…I don’t wanna live
each day like I’m gonna die…it’s so hard for me to face the
truth I’ve been lookin’ for…” you have a sense of a singer
with more, much more than many of today’s hat and buckle
wannabes cutting music.
That song, along
with the moody “Snowbound” – a co-write with long-term
collaborator Ron Vincent – sits well against the liner and
album photos of Hisey sitting alone and looking lonely in a
bar with his thoughts and memories. Again, when Hisey sings
his emotive lyrics, cased in a voice inspired by his
favorites – Haggard, Jones, Gosdin and Williams – you sense
this is a guy who lives what he feels and sings what he
For all my praise
for this album, the defining song comes with the last track.
It’s in the self-penned “Like My Memories Know Him” that
Hisey shines bright. Hisey aches his way through the song.
His voice comes wrapped in hurt. Lost and distanced dads
everywhere know the story. The lyrics tell of a son, the
child of a mother who denies the presence of his father,
Dad’s only consultation is a wallet photo and the heartfelt
memories of a young voice seldom heard. Not only is the tune
well crafted, well played by the band (liner absences make
naming them impossible), but Hisey’s take and feel make the
song a standout.
The album is out now
on Luculent Music.