Striking all sorts of delightfully engaging poses as a romantic, fun-loving and defiantly optimistic retro rocker on his whimsically titled debut album Peace Signs & Dragonflies, emerging Connecticut based singer songwriter, Scott Waters doesn’t give us too much background info on himself on his website. We learn that when he was growing up, music was a refuge; he played on other artists’ albums over the years; he chose the album’s 12 songs out of over 100 home demos; and he sees his youth in New England as “growing up on a blank canvas.”
On the other hand, the 60’sesque photo of Waters next to the mini-bio – with him in the Strawberry Fields part of Central Park, donning John Lennon shades, a Beatles T-shirt and making a peace sign – speaks volumes about his musical and cultural sensibilities, not the mention the sparkling, trippy, vocal harmony rich and gleefully jangling multi-faceted 60’s-early 70’s vibes he brings to this collection of gems. Before shining his melodic light on us, he boldly launches the opening track “Only What I Want” with a spoken word sunny vision of humanity that essentially calls us to imagine “a world without war. . .where we are all on the same side.
This is the soul transporting realm of Peace Signs & Dragonflies. A minute in, he’s a rockin’ harmonic philosopher, reminding us playfully that the best things in life are free and that we need to come together. Putting his own spin on a true channeling of Lennon, he prompts us to ask ourselves what we could accomplish without greed and “imagine all the hunger we could feed.” Then comes the romance with lush vocal harmonies on the easy pop/rock swing of “Always Love” and the atmospheric lovelorn sweetness of “Save My Life (Like Poetry). Just as we’re settling into the mid-tempo coolness, he rocks us with the bluesy piano pounding rave-up “County Line,” and he keeps the blues element simmering on the jingle-jangle joys of “Love Story.”
Throughout the album, Waters proves to be a master of moods, drawing us into an acoustic dreamscape on “Paint By Numbers,” piercing us with the power ballad “Hey, Rock and Roll, amping up with bounce and brass on the buoyant whimsy of “Shoelaces” and loving us (and his lover) tender on the sweetly infectious song of contentment “You Are My Home.” As long as we’re connecting Waters to the spirit of Lennon, it’s easy to see “Zarah’s Lullaby,” a gorgeous song for his young daughter, as a gender-shifting rejoinder to his muse’s iconic “Beautiful Boy.” Here’s hoping there are more peace signs, dragonflies and stunning instrumentation and vocal harmonies on the next batch of demos Waters digs up.