Photo courtesy of Matthew Scott.
Matt Scott’s music was largely inspired by his musical experiences growing up in Bluff Park.
Ancient lyrics receive a folk rock update
By REBECCA WALDEN
Imagine the folk rock trifecta of Ray LaMontagne, Stephen Stills and James Taylor singing excerpts from the Baptist hymnal, and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what the Poets and Saints album is like.
The recently released self-titled album is the brainchild of Bluff Park native Matt Scott, who credits a music-enriched upbringing as the driving force behind his pursuit to become an artist.
As early as age 5, Scott began playing piano. By the time he started at Simmons Middle School, Scott had also picked up guitar. A typical school day often ended with him swapping his backpack out for a guitar and amp before ambling down to a friend’s house for afternoon jam sessions.
In high school, Scott added theatre to his artistic repertoire. His combined skills made him a natural choice to lead a variety of conferences, camps and services through his church, Green Valley Baptist. Capitalizing on these strengths, he opted to double major in music performance and worship leadership when he enrolled as a freshman at The University of Mobile.
Upon graduation, Scott married Kristen Albert of West Palm Beach, and the two settled into their new life together in a small starter home in Mobile. Although they’ve since moved from that newlywed house, the street numbers – 2654 – inspired them to create The 2654 Project.
“The 2654 Project is an effort to merge and showcase our art,” said Scott, who added that the couple’s first home was where they began creating art, primarily using the mediums of music, photography and carpentry.
Scott said the creation of The 2654 Project was essentially a pact between husband and wife to purposefully live out their creative pursuits. For Kristen, that decision led to a fruitful career as a portrait, lifestyle and wedding photographer. For Matt, it meant putting pen to paper and honing the sound that would shape Poets and Saints.
The yearlong creative process included extensive research and song selection.
“Hymns seem to be underappreciated and unknown to many young people today,” Scott said, explaining his decision to create new music for the lyrics of old hymns. “In a way, I’m trying to preserve this important part of history.
“I have some 30 plus hymnals from the 18 and 1900s that I dug through for several months before I ever started writing. Then, I began writing a new melody to the ancient poetic lyric, often adding my own chorus or bridge.”
Scott is quick to admit none of it would have happened without the generosity of strangers – more than 150 of them donated $15,000 via Kickstarter to fund the effort.
“It was amazing having so many people join me and the other musicians in this,” he said. “And I think it really speaks to the power of community and how beautiful it is for people to join up and create something together.”
The endeavor is finding its audience. From teens to retirees, from the faithful to the faithless, fans are gravitating to what they hear.
“I’ve been surprised how many people have responded positively to the project who don’t align themselves with the Christian faith,” he said. “The music we were able to create is seemingly bridging a gap amongst different faith backgrounds, even though the lyrics are very focused.”
To learn more about Scott’s music, visit the 2654project.com.