In an alternate reality, Scott Hongell might be called the reincarnation of the great Johnny Cash. Just hear me out… I’ve got a point I swear, don’t close the page just yet.
Hailing from rural Maryland, he has gone through a lot to be where he is now, he aims to spread a message of faith, hope, and patience to the downtrodden, the poor, and everyone in need, using his deep baritone and some very succulent Americana, and in all those ways, Scott Hongell and Johnny Cash are basically the same thing (minus the Maryland part, that was a trick. Johnny Cash was from Arkansas). But that’s not to say that there are no differences. Johnny Cash was and will always be a legend. A true visionary and a primary proponent of Rockabilly, Bluegrass, and all of what Country music now stands for. Scott follows in those footsteps, but based on Thank God for Today, his steps seem to falter just a little bit.
The song is almost entirely easy on the ears. A pleasant, simple composition, a slow, accommodating tempo, and a conventional, clutter-free (almost) arrangement. the instrumental tracks are all well mixed and performed and are only let down by a shaggy distorted guitar that took up a little more than enough of my aural attention capacity, thankfully, it’s volume in the mix is perfect. Some would say it is set too low for a lead guitar, but if it were not, this song would be entirely invaded by the feedback from the messy distortion. Perhaps the only things that would normally steal show in a song like this are the voice, singing, and the lyrics, and I’m happy to announce that there’s nothing to complain about in those departments. Perhaps the lyrics could have been a little more fleshed out and intricate, as they are just a tad too direct, a little too simplistic, and in a way, a little naïve. Scott’s deep, booming baritone, and his righteous, strong delivery more than makes up for that and makes the song as a whole, at worst, unoffensive, and at best, very enjoyable.
Scott Hongell’s latest offering is a very truthful homage to the man in black, even if he didn’t intend it. It’s a solid, simple tune that tells people to have faith and patience, and to extend a helping hand to whomever needs it. A beautiful message, well delivered.