Interview with Scotty Huff, October 2000
Q: You’ve been performing with the Mavericks since January 1998. Tell us how that came about.
A: When I moved to Nashville, one of the few contacts I had was a sax player by the name of Jeff Coffin (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones). I had met Jeff in Maine, and once I was here, he got a chance to hear me play and helped me get some work. That summer, 1997, Trampoline was recorded and Jeff played on the album. When The Mavericks decided to take a horn section on the road, Jeff was asked who he would recommend and he gave them my name. I, in the meantime, talked with Dick Foust and Tom McGinley and decided to approach The Mavericks as a section. We found Matt Nygren at the last minute. He was even newer in town than I was. Soon thereafter, we auditioned for the band. The rest, as they say, is history.
Q: What made you decide to move from Maine to Nashville? Is the music scene in Nashville very different?
A: It's certainly very different from Maine. There is a lot of good music and wonderful musicians in Maine, but it's pretty much a rural and remote part of the country. There's not a lot going on there in terms of the "Recording Industry". I knew I needed to be in a major music town but the thought of living in New York or Los Angeles scared the heck out of me. After all, I'm from a very small town. Besides, I really wanted to pursue my singing and songwriting. I just had a feeling that Nashville would give me as many opportunities as any of the big cities.
Q: How old were you when you played your first instrument? What was it?
A: Let me see... I was 6 years old when I told my dad I wanted to play the drums. He got me a pair of sticks and a practice pad and started teaching me. But I was really too young at that point. My father is a trumpet player, so when I turned 9, I decided wanted to play the trumpet like my dad. So I consider the trumpet my first instrument. I started playing the guitar when I was 11.
Q: How about your first songwriting attempt?
A: Once I started playing the guitar, the songwriting started almost immediately. I can still remember some of those first songs. Whew! Pretty silly. And no, I won't sing them for you. :-)
Q: So you're a trumpet player, guitar player, singer, songwriter, and an arranger. Which do you prefer?
A: That's a tough question. I mean, I call myself a musician. But I guess that's too broad for most people. I don't think of each thing separately. They all make up who I am as a musician. I've been focusing on the singing/songwriting lately because that feels to me, at least at this point in my career, to be my most creative activity. It's the one area of my life that I feel hasn't blossomed yet. I've done a lot as a trumpet player. I've done a lot as an arranger. It's time for the rest of me to accomplish something.
Q: You’ve performed on a few tracks for other artists: David Mead’s "World of a King", and K T Oslin’s "Mexico Road" come to mind…which others are there? Are there any future sessions in the pipeline that you can tell us about?
A: Well, there are a couple more K.T. Oslin tracks still to be recorded, and the SWAG guys kept me busy on their "Different Girls" EP and "Catchall" CD. Other than that, my recording credits are limited to various songwriting demos and independent artist projects. But, there will be a Scotty Huff project soon!
Q: You co-wrote and sang "Different Girl", which appears on SWAG's EP "Different Girls" (and which will shortly be released on "Catchall"). Three of the four songs on the EP are co-written by you - how was it decided who would sing lead vocal on which track?
A: SWAG is really a collaborative effort. It's even hard to track who's actually in the band or not in the band at any given time. I co-wrote "Different Girl", "Lone", and "Louise" with Robert and Jerry Dale while on tour with the Mavericks. When it came time to record them, I merely came to the sessions as an observer. But right away, the guys had me singing, playing guitar, trumpet, keyboards, and even the glockenspiel. And, since there were 4 songs and 4 singers, we all took a turn. I told them I wanted to take a shot at "Different Girl" and they liked the idea.
Q: What’s life like when you’re not touring with the Mavericks?A: Interesting question. Reading this question, I feel compelled to say that life is great for me on or off the road. I'm one of those "the glass is half full" guys. But I'm truly happy when I'm with my beautiful bride, Amanda. (I know, I'm such a schmaltz!) It would be easier to stay on the road longer if I could always take her with me. I certainly have more time to write when I'm off the road. Which is good. I also love to work around the house. I'm quite the handy man.
Q: Do you have any plans to record a CD of your own?
A: Absolutely!!! I am excited and eager to put something out. I basically need two things before I can start. I'm a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to choosing songs. I want to make sure I've got the best songs before I record them. I still have a few that are unfinished so I need to get those done. The second (which is really the first) is the financial part. (Send your charitable contribution to... ) But hopefully I'll be getting into the studio this fall if not the first of next year.
Q: The Havana Horns section now only consists of yourself and Doug Bernstein. Are there any plans for recruiting replacements for Dick and Matt?
A: That will all depend on what The Mavericks do. The shows we did with The Dave Matthews Band sounded great. It was a little strange not having Dick and Matt around, but truthfully, the music didn't suffer. I guess you could say it's another new era of The Mavericks. Raul, Robert and Paul all seemed to love the sound. It was refreshing to me too. It's really the best of both worlds. It keeps the punch and vibe of a horn section, without totally covering up the original sound of the band. I like that. I do want to say, on behalf of the Havana Horns, including all members past and present, that we have had a WONDERFUL time with the Mavericks and with all of the fans in all of the places we've played. The fans were so gracious to accept us the way they did. And because of that, these past 3 years will surely be some of the most unforgettable times in our careers. Thank you for that. And I'm looking forward what the future holds for the Mavericks. I think it'll be great no matter what they do.
Q: What would you like to be doing in ten years’ time?
A: I'd like to be doing just what I'm doing now... only maybe in a bigger house... on the lake... maybe travel more... and have a second home on the coast of Maine... a third in the UK... Seriously though, I love all of the different things I do. I, of course, can see myself having a career as an artist with my own band and my own tours, etc. But I'd still like to be involved with The Mavericks. I'd still want to be doing the children’s music with Robert. And I'd still want to be involved in the Nashville music scene as a writer and a musician. What makes this line of work less like work is its inherent variety. It's the nature of the business to be confronted with a multitude of opportunities that throw you into every direction creatively. I can't imagine doing anything else. But then again, 10 years ago I'm sure I couldn't have imagined doing half of the things I've done already. I guess I'll just take it as it comes. As Robert says, "It's ALL good."
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