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It’s takes a unique skill set to work as a music therapist at The Oregon State Hospital maximum security wing (If you’ve seen One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, you’ve seen that very place). It takes Scott Garred, Super XX Man. For starters, There doesn’t seem to be a condescending bone in his body. His sincerity is utterly disarming. Then, there is his confidence and appealing sense of purpose; the same confidence that set the mild-mannered film-lab clerk to dawn the name Super XX Man–after the Kodak film’and begin a musical journey that would last a decade (with a little encouragement from former Silver Scooter band mate Tom Hudson.)
So by day, Garred works with the castoffs of society in drum circles, sing-alings, and rock bands. By night he is Super XX Man, bolstered by the spirit of camaraderie in his gentle band consisting of wife, Michelle ‘Polka Queen of NE Portland’ Garred sprinkling salt an pepper on accordion, Zach ‘fingers’ Boyle casting a waterfall of sound on guitar, and Ali ‘little sister’ Wesly lending backup vocals, flute, and brushed drum.
‘X’ is so named for the Roman numeral designations given to each of Garred’s recordings to date. The tenth recording is a milepost for Super XX Man—an album which takes stock in a decade-long legacy of documenting songs—and breathes new life into their arrangements with the polishing strength of his band.
Built on simple melodies, these songs have classic appeal recalling Buddy Holly or early Willie Nelson. Couched in major chord harmonies, the lyrics have an optimistic halo, beckoning the listener to sing along. In so doing, one will sing narratives of life and love that, while not shying away of spirituality, illuminate the dilemma of being human: ‘I don’t want to go to bed mad / And I don’t want to see the world mad /And it’s up up up to the world /and it’s down down down to the world.’ Garred balances lines like ‘I don’t want to be married’ with ‘But I can see the light on’ or ‘Don’t doubt my faith / Don’t doubt my Savior, my Grace’ with ‘I can’t figure out these bottle caps’, intoning them with the same earnestness, ultimately rounding out a world view that is anything but dogmatic. In the world of Super XX Man we are encouraged to find someone to call ‘darlin’, we’re inspired to ‘stroll on through’, and we’re reminded that amazing grace’is’a sweet sound.
Up Up Up
I Can’t Figure Out These Bottle Caps
Hearts And Stars
Stroll On Through New Orleans
See You In The Evening