Dirty Dozen: Al Scorch

Al Scorch, 2016From the town that gave the world characters like Studs Terkel, Upton Sinclair, and the anarchists in Bughouse Square, Scorch adds his voice to the choir with the enthusiasm and charisma of a Maxwell Street preacher. A punk rock banjo-wielding John Prine or Billy Bragg, Al Scorch writes for the everyperson.

Tell us about yourselves and what you do?

I was born in Chicago, dropped out of high school, and started playing music and travelling. Music opened the door to a life beside the one laid out before me. I felt disillusioned from a very young age and dissatisfied with the world. I always wanted something more and music helped me find that.

How did you start out?

I started playing shows when I was about 17 and started looking for different people to play with as I continued making music in the city. Jess and I started playing together in September of 2015 when she was looking for a new gig. I met all the other musicians I play with by just hanging out in the city and playing shows.

What is your current release/future release?

My current release is Circle Round the Signs, out on Bloodshot Records. I am currently working on songs for another album which will also be with Bloodshot.

What is the best part of being a singer/song writer?

I think the best part is being able to share music with people and see the work I do positively affect people’s lives for the better.

What is your most significant moment yet?

I’d have to say learning to play the banjo is right up there with learning to read and tie my shoes.

What are your biggest musical influences?

Pete Seeger, far and away. He stood by his beliefs his entire life and never compromised them even when he was blacklisted by the US government. He stood up to the red baiting bullies and went underground when he was banned from concert halls and television. He also had a voracious musical appetite and drew inspiration from all the folk music of the world and played it all on the banjo. He lived and breathed the belief that music can bring people of all backgrounds together in peace and harmony.

What venue/gig do you most want to play?

I most want to play the gig where people are engaged and listening and full of life. If all those elements come together it doesn’t matter the room or the size of the crowd. Oh and the sound must be good, but honestly if the audience is amazing then nothing else matters. Except if it’s too loud, sound engineers who mix too loud should be sent to a desert island.

What is your best/favourite song you have written?

My favorite song changes constantly depending on my mood, this morning happens to be a Lost at Sea kind of morning.

What is your favourite album of this year?

Erin Tobey’s Middlemaze

What does the next six months have in store for you?

Well, we’ll be touring in Scandinavia and the UK in August and September and then Ill be returning to the US and continuing to play some shows here while taking time to finish my next album. I also have plans to release some videos soon.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Older and wiser, hopefully.

What is the best thing about Americana-UK?

Your tireless dedication to discovering and spreading the word about new artists and music. Good work!!

Author: Rudie Humphrey

Rudie is the weekly host of the syndicated radio show - The Horseshoe Lounge Music Session - playing the best American Roots and hosting terrific live guests.

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