Once you've heard the comely, confident pop craft of this album, it becomes hard to believe that nearly 20 years have passed since Silk Degrees, the hit-laden high point of Scagg's career—or that the singer has spent much of the time since in self-imposed exile from the music business.
The Scaggs signature remains indelible. For all its homeliness, his drowsy, pinched voice is still oddly-appealing and expressive, shifting smoothly between the bangers and the ballads, from the rootsy bop of "You Got My Letter" to the lovely languor of "Sierra." He even takes a flyer into country territory on the Cajun-flavored "Fly Like a Bird." Scaggs's playing hasn't suffered either. He has clearly been honing his six-string chops, tearing off some gnarly guitar solos on the insidious Steely Dan-esque glide of the title track.
Obviously more pop artists should consider taking a decade or so off. Works for Boz. (Virgin)