Hudson Valley Musicians
From classic rockers to child prodigies, the Valley is home to a seemingly endless number of gifted musicians representing every genre and age group. This all-access pass introduces some of the area’s leading established artists, each paired with a promising local up-and-comer. Take a glimpse at some of the hottest talent north of NYC
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Pianists Alice Burla (left) and Bar Scott
Photograph by Michael Polito
Currently lives in: Woodstock Hometown: Wynnewood, PA.
Singer, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, author — is there anything the talented Bar Scott doesn’t do? Her soothing folk and jazz songs evoke a sense of calm, while her clever lyrics paint a portrait for the listener. And boy, can she nail a cover of “Dream a Little Dream of Me.”
How long have you been playing piano? I played on the sly whenever I could as a kid, but I didn’t do it publicly until 1995 when I did a piano track on my third album Confession. I never studied piano, or music for that matter. What did you play prior to that album? I was more known for my guitar playing and vocals before. How did you pick up acoustic guitar? I took some lessons because I realized that I needed some way to accompany myself. If I told someone I was a singer, they’d always ask me to sing for them, but I wasn’t brave enough to sing a capella back then. Musical influences? I loved Motown and funk growing up, but I also loved the Beatles, Carole King, the Carpenters — I know, I know — and anything in the top 40. These days, I listen to a lot of classical. Chamber music that involves a piano or a cello is my favorite. Current projects? I am always working on a new batch of songs. This one’s taking an exceptionally long time because I’m writing a book about songwriting right now, and it seems my brain can’t handle writing songs and writing prose at the same time. Previous accomplishments? I’ve recorded six full-length albums of original songs, one collection of hymns, a collection of standards, a Christmas record (not my favorite), and a collection of folk songs that I recorded with an old boyfriend in our living room. I’ve also produced a coloring book for little ones that has a music component so they can sing and draw at the same time. How did you come up with that? It was originally a friend’s idea. She lightheartedly suggested it, but I thought it was brilliant. It’s called Sing and Draw; it’s paired with my folk album and available online. Favorite thing about performing? The audience. I’m really surprised and honored that people show up when I perform. What a thrill! I feel like being onstage is the most comfortable place in the world. Best thing about living in the Valley? The mountains and the freedom. I’m a big hiker. Where do you go? I like checking out local spots. I hike daily by Overlook Mountain; there are several lesser-known paths there. Can you let us in on one? If I tell you, it won’t be a secret anymore. You also mentioned freedom; what do you mean exactly? It’s multilayered. I love how expressive people are here, with the ways they share their points of view and creative energy. But self-expression is much more acceptable here than many places. I sometimes forget that when I’m on the road.