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Singer-songwriter Alan works with all-star players

April 2, 2011
By RENEE PRUSI Journal Staff Writer , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - To say Scotty Alan has an all-star lineup of supporting musicians on his new CD would be an understatement.

The Upper Peninsula singer-songwriter has been working with top-notch folks in the studio, including a legendary producer with Yooper roots as well, as he puts together "Wreck and the Mess."

"When I was in L.A. recording, playing with the band was intense. Very professional," Alan said. "They were long days, 10 to 12 hours. It was hard to listen and play the same songs over and over and over. It made me dizzy."

Article Photos

Scotty Alan strums his way to the big time. (Photo by Christine Flavin)

The studio in Los Angeles belongs to Bernie Larsen, a well-known music producer from the U.P.'s Keweenaw Peninsula. Larsen - who is a composer and has scored music for movies and commercials - is releasing Alan's "Wreck and the Mess" on his Spinout Records label.

Larsen plays lap steel and does some backing vocals for Alan's CD of original music. Others pitching in are from Lucinda Williams' band: David Sutton, bass; Butch Norton, drums; and Kristin Mooney, back-up vocals.

Also, instrumentalist David Lindley, who was nominated for a Grammy in 2011, plays fiddle and dobro; and Ian "Mac" McLagan of The Faces and Small Faces plays piano and organ.

"Mac has toured and worked with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul Westerburg of The Replacements and many others," Alan said. "Amani Smith worked as sound engineer (on the CD) and has worked with Public Enemy and others and performs as a DJ."

Alan relates all of this not with bravado, but with wonderment. He's amazed and grateful his musical career has taken him to this point.

"The musicians who played on this were incredible," he said. "They were intense, professional people. They'd ask questions and take notes. They were very serious about what we were doing. It was intimidating working with such great people."

The growing-up years of Alan's life were spent split living with his Mom in Marquette and his Dad in Hancock.

"I started playing when I was in high school, probably when I was about 15," Alan said. "I started with the bass guitar. Somebody had a broken bass I put back together, so me starting with that was a random thing."

The first band Alan was in was a punk group, The Muldoons.

"We did that for quite a while and I had a great time," he said. "About 15 years ago, I picked up the acoustic guitar and that's what I am playing now. I have made the shift to acoustic singer-songwriter."

While Alan played some in the U.P., he also did some shows in Minneapolis... and Amsterdam.

"My cousin Carey Bohjanen and her husband, Andre Abadie, are the driving force behind this release," Alan said. "When I was staying with them in Amsterdam for three months playing music, they became big fans. They started pushing me to do more in a commercial manner with my music. Without me knowing it, they conspired with Bernie. End result, I got a small record deal and went to L.A. to record the album.

"They currently live in London, but flew with me out there and stayed for the first week watching us work in the studio," he said. "Carey sang on two of the songs as well. They will also be involved in marketing and promotion and legal aspects."

Alan has done other CDs, but if things work out, this one will be lead to a tour.

"This is the first one with intent to market," he said. "I hope to go out on a tour with this music."

The CD is "classified" as Americana-Alt Country.

"With a lot of my music, you can tell I am an outdoors guy," Alan said. And he lives the outdoors life, having resided in a remote homestead on Old Kiln Road just outside of Marquette for more than 17 years.

"I am a carpenter by trade and choose to live a remote life off the grid," he said. "I heat my log cabin with wood cut, split and stacked from my 10 acres. I love the long winters and snow.

"This reclusive aspect of my life is significant because lyrically and musically I am influenced more by my minimalist modern-day hermit lifestyle than by other musicians and musical styles. From my life lived and often times imagined, my songs range from the heartbreak to the muddled 'haha' sung among a backdrop of simple chords.

"I have written over 120 songs and collaborated on an additional 90, give or take a note," Alan said. "Over 80 have been recorded to albums and various compilations and am currently closing in on 25 years of original songwriting."

His life on his homestead has evolved.

"When I first moved out to my place there were no cell phones, no Internet and I had no mailbox," Alan said. "Now currently I have Internet and cell phone at my cabin and am able to continue contact with Bernie and others in L.A. as we continue to edit the album."

Alan will be headed back to the West Coast in mid-May to play some shows and to consult with Larsen about what's to come next.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is



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