Scott Sharrard – Player Spotlight

“One of the best guitarists in the country.” — Billboard Magazine

Michigan  “The Great Lakes State”, December 28, 1976 – was the day the iconic bluesman Freddie King died, a hero in the hearts of the many to this very day none more so than this editions featured player who was born on the very same day his hero passed over. 🎸 

This Grammy nominated musician has been called “one of the best Blues/R&B guitarists in the country” by Billboard Magazine. Longtime writing partner, musical director, and guitarist for Gregg Allman, let’s explore the masterful playing of Mr Scott Sharrard. 

The Evolution Of A Session Legend …

Like many before him and many to come Scott notes his earliest musical influence and Guitar related association with his father, also a guitarist singer songwriter.

Scott learned guitar via his Father’s aid, who taught him a Jimmy Reed 12-bar blues rhythm (in the key of A) so dad could solo over it.

“When I was able to hold that rhythm and Dad was able to play lead… that’s still my touchstone to the best feeling,” he said.”

Scott Sharrard – Vintage Guitar Magazine, by John Heidt

As with the best and most experienced players Scott started early and was well and truly amongst the active music scene well before he could take a drink … legally. 🍺 

“Sharrard was 15 when his father took him to a Brewtown blues joint called the Up and Under Pub. There he sat in with singer/guitarist (and local one-named legend) Stokes, who would become his mentor. Another was powerhouse “Chitlin’ Circuit” singer and guitarist Willie Higgins.”

Biography – https://www.scottsharrard.com/about

Scott began his music career in Wisconsin in the early ’90′s. He spent his teenage years attending Milwaukee’s prestigious High School of The Arts by day, while playing in clubs at night and continued to share the stage with local blues legends the Stokes, Willie Higgins, and Harvey Scales, as well as international blues and jazz luminaries as Buddy Miles, Melvin Rhyne, and Clyde Stubblefield.

“Milwaukee at that time was an oasis for a whole group of musical masters,” Sharrard recalls. “Mel Rhyne, Buddy Miles, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison, Clyde Stubblefield… They were our local bar bands! All those cats schooled me in different ways, backstage, on gigs and at jams.”

Biography – https://www.scottsharrard.com/about

Sharrard soon began to capture the eyes and ears of more and more prestigious established and long-standing musicians, he began to acquire occasional dates in Chicago, with privileged opportunities with jams alongside two fabled Muddy Waters sidemen, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins.

Scott’s progressive and exciting movement within the music scene was down to pure dedication and of course exposure to the right influences and mentors in his formulating use within education.

“We had incredible jazz teachers and instructors – players like Joshua Redman, Kenny Barron, and Mel Rhine, who played with Wes Montgomery. He was an adjunct professor, and I started gigging with him. At night, I’d go to incredible blues jams where area residents like Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Luther Allison, and Buddy Miles mentored young guys like me. Milwaukee in the ’90s was an incredible incubator.”

Scott Sharrard – Vintage Guitar Magazineby John Heidt

“It’s Rock N Roll Rooted in everything else.”

With such an early progression and development within the local and surrounding music scene Scott was now a very well sought after player and still a teenager🤘.

Through the eyes of a now recently turned 20 year old guitar player there was clearly only one thing to do to take it to the next level … Move to the city that never sleeps of course, “Big Apple, not Big Easy New York.

“I became a New York City resident for the first time. My next-door neighbour was Allen Ginsberg, who was already one of my literary heroes at that time. I used to eat at Mee’s Chinese restaurant sitting across from Allen. It was our corner restaurant with a cheap dinner special. He’d always order the ginger fish and write! … It was like a dream, really. All those giant buildings spreading into infinity. It was so overwhelming.”

Biography – https://www.scottsharrard.com/about


Photography courtesy of  Jim_Rice

Being a young guitar player in the big city has its pull and opportunity was around every corner.

Embarking on discovery with his band The Chesterfields things are going well and success was on the way.

Approximately a year into the Big Apple adventure a chance meeting with Atlantic records executive – Ahmet Ertegun presented some great advice and future developments.

“Ahmet told me that you must do it all – and well – if you want to survive as a musician,” Sharrard remembers. “He told me to get it all together: writing, singing, producing, playing, arranging. He convinced me to work twice as hard because around 2000 he saw the end of the music business as we knew it. He felt no one was around to support artists like back in the heyday of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies.”

Biography – https://www.scottsharrard.com/about

Three albums and several national tours Scott band but well on the way, of course being in the industry presents many opportunities to meet various people and move down different path’s.

In 2008 Sharrard joined the Gregg Allman Band as a touring guitarist and later became Musical Director.

This was all due to a chance meeting with another musician through another avenue, such things always develop on the roads in the studios and in the industry.

A childhood dream realised to play alongside such an iconic hero as Gregg Allman for almost a decade was a defining career highlight for Scott and will forever cement him in the land of guitar hero.

Credit: © Lou Montesano

Strings For Sharrard…

So this is why we’re all here the best part but we all look forward to🤘.

Scott is a very articulate player utilises many styles from jazz rock and particularly Country.

As we’ve seen in his slide technique is absolutely phenomenal, his general expression on the guitar is driven by emotionally felt vibrato and his old school approach to dynamics.

He is definitely one of those players that can get the guitar to sing and scream both at the same time.

As always the choice of Strings here is a fundamental part of the overall tone and fluidity of the player in hand.

Sharrard is no exception, he has expressed his great love of Labella strings and perfectly describes the attributes that the particular Strings had made in New York can really offer a player.

From my own personal experience I definitely agree with what Scott has to say here he has it absolutely right.

The HRS series really do offer a warmth and dynamic response perfect for Vintage style low output pick ups.

The strings offer a balance tension and flexibility that lets the player do the talking through the string. 🎸 

“La Bella has nailed it with their HRS Electric Nickel Plated Strings. The tone and feel of these strings has a warmth and dynamic response that is perfect for my vintage style pickups and amps. They have very accurate intonation all the way across the fretboard, and most importantly, they are very comfortable to bend and execute vibrato with. I have also noticed an overall improvement in the feel of my guitars string tension. If you are looking for an old school, nickel plated string that has consistent performance, look no further…”

Scott Sharrard – https://www.labella.com/

References 

https://www.scottsharrard.com/

https://www.labella.com/artists/scott-sharrard/

https://www.rollmagazine.com/in-the-spirit-of-classic-rock-and-roll-scott-sharrard-and-the-brickyard-band/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Sharrard

https://www.labella.com/

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