Today, ARIA and three-time Golden Guitar nominee Angus Gill has released The Scrapbook, an 11-song treasure trove of heartfelt bluegrass recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic. The album, out via Rivershack Records/MGM, features Gill backed by a stellar lineup of Grammy-winning musicians and affords him the chance to show a different side to his well-honed songwriting and musicianship.
The Scrapbook, co-produced by Gill and Tim Crouch, features “Whittling Away,” a duet written and performed with the legendary Jim Lauderdale. “Angus is one of the most creative and talented people I’ve ever worked with,” said Lauderdale of the collaboration. “It was an honor to get to write with and sing with him. I hope we can do much more down the road!”
The album opens with a rollicking homage to hard-working women, “Always on the Run,” co-written with 2021 Grammy nominee Thomm Jutz, while the narrative-based “Samson” is a masterclass in character development. “Whittling Away,” his duet with Lauderdale, highlights the resilience and strength that people are displaying during these trying times. Gill’s signature wit comes to the forefront in the swing-grass romp “Caught Between A Rock And A Heartache.”
The challenges of a paternal bond are explored in the heartfelt “Feet of Clay,” his co-write with Nashville star Charles Esten, which he Gill performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 2019. “Let’s Have a Drink (To Not Drinking Again),” the ultimate high-spirited bluegrass drinking song, features Music Row veteran tunesmith Jerry Salley. Gill sings of his grandmother’s affection in the autobiographical title track, and after a near 300 bpm sprint in “Heartquake,” the album closes with the exquisite epitaph “Forget Me Not, as Gill sings. “Our heartstrings will be tied up in a never forget me not,” a cappella in perfect four-part harmony.
“Despite growing up far from bluegrass music’s native home, he says that the sound has called to him since he was a child,” said Bluegrass Today of Gill, who hails from New South Wales, Australia. “I have always wanted to record a bluegrass album with players that are incredibly passionate about the genre, and know it like the bow of their fiddle or the metal picks on the tops of their fingers…people that have bluegrass in their blood,” Gill told Bluegrass Today.
“I had half a dozen bluegrass songs that I had written from several years ago that I restructured or altered for this project. I wrote a few new ones and then we had all of the songs for a new record,” he added. “I called up Tim (Crouch) and asked him if he would play and co-produce the album with me, and we brought Randy (Kohrs), Clay (Hess), and Tony (Wray) onto the project and recorded it all remotely at the start of 2021. It’s pretty cool because it sounds like we were all playing in the same room, despite being over 15,000 kms away.”
Previously, Gill has supported country music superstar Kris Kristofferson and collaborated with music legends including Steve Earle, Adam Harvey, James Blundell, Gina Jeffreys, Diesel, and many more.