MUSIC: Scot Sax returns to Philly to debut ‘Mr. Chocolate’ at Burlap and Bean

Photo by Stacie HuckebaScot Sax and Suzie Brown
Photo by Stacie HuckebaScot Sax and Suzie Brown

IF YOU GO

Scot Sax and Suzie Brown perform at the Burlap and Bean, Springton Pointe Venue, 204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073, on Saturday Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. For more information call

484-427-4547 or visit www.burlapandbean.com

To stay up to date with Scot Sax and Suzie Brown visit www.scottsaxandsuziebrown.com

“Mr. Chocolate” is the latest album release from multi-talented singer, songwriter and Philadelphia native Scot Sax. Offering a six song collection riddled with pop tendencies, Sax headed into the studio with the sole intention of writing great songs with no pressure and no expectations. Featured on the album are Wilco-drummer Ken Coomer, Bob Dylan’s longtime live guitarist John Jackson and Phil D’Agostino.

“Mr. Chocolate has a lot of energy,” says Sax, from his home in Nashville, Tennessee. “I really enjoyed this project. It was really exciting. I wrote a bunch of songs with the freedom of, ‘I’m just going to write songs like I did when I was 16.’ So that’s what I did, and it was just really fun to write stuff. I thought it would be fun to cut a record just like Wanderlust cut their record. Knock it out in two days and just have this amazing exciting and driven experience. So that’s how the album came about.”

Sax is taking a sentimental journey to the Philly area to perform live one of two shows featuring “Mr. Chocolate.” Joining him will be his wife Suzie Brown who will be performing songs from her latest album “Sometimes Your Dreams Find You.”

“ ‘The Mr. Chocolate’ show is only a one-time thing,” says Sax. “I will only be playing in Philly at the Burlap and Bean and in Nashville at a place called Radio Café. This show is not a touring band; it’s more about the record. It’s kind of a theatrical David Bowie experience. It’s not me doing what I usually do. It’s something very different. You have to be at the show to experience it. We have a Mr. Chocolate life-like figure on stage that is the actual front man, he doesn’t move or anything. I’m almost a sideman to Mr. Chocolate. Its really cool because it makes me a little bit more of a musician. Sometimes my musicality falls off to the wayside because I’m busy doing the front man thing. When I get to really play guitar it feels great, so that’s what these shows really are.”

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“As great as life is here in Nashville,” adds Sax “the people back in Philadelphia is where I got love from whether it was family, friends or fans, and that’s always going to mean the most to me. The fans there always get it and that has been pretty awesome. I just wanted to see the fans again.”

Sax rose to prominence in the mid ‘90s as the founder and principal songwriter for the band Wanderlust. Signed to RCA Records, they released their debut album “Prize” featuring the hit single “I Walked.” Sax would chart again with his band Feel and the singles “Got Your Name on It” and “Won’t Stand In Your Way.”

“There’s a lot about the music business that doesn’t totally fit with my personality,” says Sax. “You really have to beat the hell out of yourself to get anywhere in the music business.”

Influenced by the works of Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles, Sax exhibited a passion for songwriting dating back to his early teens.

“Everything else was difficult but that was easy,” recalls Sax. “I picked up a guitar and I don’t even remember learning more than two chords before I was putting songs together. I didn’t realize how kind of atypical that was until much later.”

Following his days in Wanderlust and Feel, Sax focused his attention on a solo career as well as songwriting for such high-profile artists as Jason Mraz, Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block and Jennifer Love-Hewitt. Sax received international prominence as the co-writer for the Grammy Award winning Faith Hill and Tim McGraw hit “Like We Never Loved At All.” He has also penned songs prominently featured in the film “American Pie” and the TV shows “Ghost Whisperer,” “NCIS,” “CSI: NY” and “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”

No stranger to sharing the concert stage with high profile artists such, Sax served as the opening act for Robert Plant and Allison Krauss on the duo’s 2008 “Raising Sand” tour.

“There is so much great talent there, and there are so many people doing the songwriter thing that I decided I wasn’t really cut out for sitting in a room and writing songs for people I don’t know,” adds Sax. “It’s just really not my thing, even though I have had the most success doing that. It’s not something I loved to do. So, I’m done co-writing.”

“I play out quite a bit in Nashville, but for the most part with a soul review band,” adds Sax. “I do songs that are almost like Philly soul, they are all new songs that are mine. I do tour when it’s a family affair with my wife Suzie Brown, who is a very gifted singer songwriter. I always felt a little bit lonely and I realized I never had the connection to people that I longed for and never totally knew why. Being with Suzy and our kids has been a really good thing for me.”

As if Sax isn’t busy enough, he is opening The Kitchen at Atomic Nashville- what he calls “a haven for connection” — a WIFI free listening performance and events room, in January 2018. His passion for filmmaking is giving his fellow artists an outlet to tell their story and share their work.

“I’ve never had this much creative output since I was a kid in my bedroom,” says Sax. “It’s been really great. I make documentary videos for people, for bands and artists. I have a podcast called “One Hit Neighbors.”

I had my hit and the guy that moved in next to me named Steve Poltz had a hit, “You Were Meant For Me and I was Meant For You” with Jewel. So, we call ourselves “One Hit Neighbors.” We interview people each week. I am writing and recording probably more songs than ever. I’ve been doing more drawing. When I want a booking in Nashville, I call my soul band up and we play a show. So, I’m actually more of an artist now [than] when I was at my peak with Wanderlust and it feels great! The rest of my time is being a happily married man and having loving, warm, sweet daughters. I’ve never been better. It’s a gift and a really good time for me.”

IF YOU GO

Scot Sax and Suzie Brown perform at the Burlap and Bean, Springton Pointe Venue, 204 South Newtown Street Road, Newtown Square, PA 19073, on Saturday Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. For more information call

484-427-4547 or visit www.burlapandbean.com

To stay up to date with Scot Sax and Suzie Brown visit www.scottsaxandsuziebrown.com