After decades in music business, Scott Anthony makes debut as singer-songwriter

scott anthony



With the recent release of his intimate and meditative single “I Don’t Like New Songs” (listen below), Scott Anthony — a veteran producer and engineer, and co-owner of the Storybook Sound studio in Maplewood — has found a new niche as a solo artist.

“I’ve been collecting a story to tell, waiting for a time to speak — with a shyness of not knowing if what I had to say had any space,” he said. “But I’ve become a bit louder, and a bit less nervous. At age 57 and after making hundreds and hundreds of albums, I sang in a studio for the first time, on a song I wrote with Bob Perry.

“I’ve been in studios all my life but I never had the guts to step up. I started to feel like an armchair quarterback. I’ve been an enabler of art, then suddenly that art tumbled out of me. It was like coughing up a cat that started walking around the room.”

Anthony wrote the lyrics; Perry, the music. “He guessed perfectly what key to use, based on knowing my speaking voice,” Anthony said.

The song also features Simeon Cain on drums and David Mansfield on pedal steel guitar. Anthony plans to release a full album next summer or early fall.

The song was inspired by a relationship long past its expiration date.

“Sometimes,” said Anthony, “it’s easier to keep something going than to end it, for many reasons (like) not wanting to lose a connection to the past or being keenly aware that you bring healing to the other person. But what you get back from them isn’t useful or could even be painful. It can be better to remain friends than to sever a connection.

“The title alludes to that. … it’s comforting to listen to music you know well, even if the meaning has diminished.” An old song also carries with it an emotional connection to a familiar time, place or person.

Anthony sings:

Waves split the rocks under dirty gray foam
The ride shut off with a knock
And the man sings alone
I don’t like new songs


From left, James Mastro, Steve Goulding, Megan Reilly and Scott Anthony perform at Arlene’s Grocery in New York.

The title of the song is “dripping with irony,” Anthony said. ” ‘I Don’t Like New Songs’ sounds like I’m trying to burn my own house down. I’ve been producing and engineering in recording studios and then mastering albums for over 40 years.”

He has worked with The Feelies, The Beastie Boys, Allen Ginsberg, Henry Rollins, The Cucumbers, his wife Rebecca Turner, Speed the Plough and others and has made “probably 600 or so albums and at least as many demos,” he said.

“I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for hundreds of songwriters trusting me to help them with their new song. I’ve been super lucky to be in the room with talented singers like Seal, who has a truly incredible instrument, or Lloyd Cole, who is hugely dedicated to crafting and delivering a sharp lyric.”

Why is he ready to tell his story in his late 50s?

“I was looking for a level of self-acceptance, an open heart for my own story,” he said. “I never believed I had anything worth adding to the conversation. I thought my value was in what I got done (for others).

“I arrived in this world with some pretty major vision problems. I felt like a burden to my young father and started working at his gas station before age 10. As a teen I played guitar and bass … since then, the physicality of sound has always been my true north.

“The writing is the easy bit. The singing is like being in a new body. Maybe it’s because my harsh dad died last year and I dropped some fear there. Or maybe it was 25 years of yoga and some excellent massage therapy — opening the throat chakra. Or getting old. Probably the sum, and more.”

About seven years ago he joined the band Fond Farewells as a bassist, and was asked to help write lyrics. “I was nervous, but recalled a conversation I (had) with Daniel Lanois where I told him I always heard sounds and tonality before lyrics.” (Anthony’s image of sound is so poetic: “I always thought of it as moving air.”)

Anthony said that Lanois explained that finding a connection to lyrics is the key to performing. “I tried (to write lyrics) and some words flowed,” Anthony said. “Fast forward to a few weeks ago when a whole song suddenly came tumbling out.”

He says songwriting is a way to “let go.”

“I suppose at 57, there was a block coming undone,” he said. “I knew it was there but not what was behind it. I had a sudden appreciation that writing and vocalizing are beautiful and effective forms of self-therapy.

“There are a bunch of ways to string together a lyric, like describing a feeling, or a need to love or dance or whatever. I’m trying to use each line as a Polaroid, a visual story that might be literal but also evokes a mood.”



When he wrote his new song, he “enjoyed obscuring the feeling in images of small moments,” he said, adding “I wanted to leave gaps between the still photographs … not really spelling out how many people are in the situation. Each life is a string of unique experiences. If you look at each line as a condensed capture of a moment, then string those images together, you have a unique story.”

Since early in high school, Anthony has pursued music. He had an epiphany about his life when his band won a day in a studio in a statewide battle of the bands.

“Five minutes into our recording date,” he said, “I told myself ‘This is what I will be doing for the rest of my life.’ I left college after a year, and within months I was on the road running sound and lights for a band.”

After a few years, he left his hometown in Maine to make records in New York.

What have you learned over the years that artists might lean on?

“I’ve learned that a heartfelt performance is the most important thing,” he said. “With a truthful and complete delivery, it doesn’t matter how something is recorded or how good it sounds. You just gotta reach deep and let it come out.”

Scott Anthony’s “I Don’t Like New Songs” is available at


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