About Scott Detweiler
Scott Detweiler is an award winning American artist and actor, born and raised in New Orleans. Over the course of his 40 (forty) year career, his catalog of recordings has chronicled his evolution into a highly unique composer/performer, blending the styles of funk, jazz, gospel & soul, but always rooted in the blues.
His lyrics tell imaginatively woven stories that follow in the grand tradition of southern writers and classic lyricists. He is a true son of the rich musical climate and one-of-a-kind culture that is the Crescent City. It is these influences that are in the soul of his creations and evident in his live performances, whether solo or backed by his band.
He's a charismatic entertainer with a unique ability to touch his audience, whether it be in the intimate setting of a small jazz club, through the lens of a camera or on the concert stage of an arena. And he touches them not only with his sounds but also with the power of his stories built upon candid observations about life.
The strong influences of N.O. horn players, piano players and drummers are the essence of his unique style of guitar playing, from the horn/piano like phrasing of his solos to his syncopated rhythm guitar work. He attributes much of his solid sense of rhythm to watching marching bands in the dozens of parades, every Mardi Gras season for over 20 (twenty) years (about the first half of his life). This fusion of drum rhythm with rhythm guitar is the integral part of his style. "When I first started playing, I could not play well enough to integrate everything I was hearing in my head into my hands.....but I found that as my playing developed it allowed my vocal ability to grow along with it, enabling me to sing over more sophisticated grooves", explains Detweiler.
As for his singing, he is influenced by the multitude artists such as Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, Frogman Henry, Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Allan Toussaint, Ernie K. Doe, and many others, whose live performances he would experience live, in the informal environment of the weekly TGIF quad parties at Tulane University (behind Detweiler House). "When we would get home from school, we could hear the music coming from the quad, so we'd ride our bikes around the corner to watch whoever was playing and throw Frisbees with the Tulane students and their dogs", he recalls. In the clubs, throughout high school and college, he would find other influences, most notably, guitarists Jimmy Robinson (Woodenhead) and Leslie Martin (The Shieks).
Detweiler started playing guitar at age 17, studying in the studio of renowned New Orleans guitar instructor, Ellen Simon. It was at this time that he also started to sing. That summer he sang in the chorus of a Tulane University Junior Lyric Theatre production of "Little Mary Sunshine", under the direction of Anthony Laciura (a man who has had a profound impact on his career). A year later he enrolled in the jazz guitar program at Loyola, as a private student of Bill Huntington, who, at the time, was bassist for legendary New Orleans trumpeter, Al Hirt. He then studied music composition at the University of New Orleans. At UNO he was the only non-vocal-major member of the elite, 25 (twenty-five) member University Chorale. He also sang with the UNO University Opera Company. His first exposure to orchestration was at the piano in the Marsalis living room, during his time studying as a private pupil of Ellis Marsalis (father of jazz artists Wynton, Branford, Delfayo and Jason). Detweiler would continue his studies in Los Angeles, studying string arranging with Henry Mancini (Peter Gunn, Romeo and Juliet, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Moonriver), orchestration with Pulitzer Prize winning composer, Dr. Albert Harris (Barbara Streisand), and film scoring with Earl Hagen (Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle and I Spy). In Los Angeles he also studied lyric writing with lyricist, K.A. Parker and song writing with Harriet Schock.
Scott is a prolific writer and has many influences, but considers Bernstein, Gershwin, The Meters and The Neville Brothers to be his strongest. "...the American sound is rooted in the blues"...As for his lyrical influences, Detweiler says, "The lyricists would be Tim Rice and Bob Dylan. But writers like Dostoyevski, O. Henry, Tennessee Williams and Rod Serling are important, too".
His artistic evolution is chronicled in his complete discography.
Some of the artists with whom Detweiler has shared the bill include Gregg Allman, The Neville Brothers, Arlo Guthrie, David Bromberg, Woodenhead and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He has worked with members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, and recorded and written with Victor Vento, Orgone, Allen Toussaint and Joseph Parsons, to name a few. He has performed with James Andrews, Jackson Browne, Dr. John M. Kennedy and Satik Andriassian of Chamber Players of Los Angeles, Jake Carmona, Julio Andrade, Gino Gamboa, Gloria Quicano, Grammy Nominees Teresa James & Terry Wilson, Grammy Award Winner Bernie Dressel, California State University Classical Guitar Ensemble, California School of the Arts Guitar Ensemble, and with The Donny Most Big Band, among many others. His symphonic premiere as a composer was with New Orleans Symphony.
Scott's work has been honored by The Billboard Music Awards, Utah Symphony Guild, Nashville City Song Festival and the Los Angeles Song Writer's Showcase. A Congressional Certificate of Recognition was awarded to Mr. Detweiler by U.S. Congressman Brad Sherman for his contribution to the arts in California. In September 2022 he won the Santa Clarita Valley (CA) Blues Society battle of the bands, in the solo division, and will represent SCVBS at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2023.
Detweiler's music can be heard in both film and television soundtracks. His "Shrine" was integral part of the sound track for the short film, "Serving For 4", which was nominated for Best Audio/Music/Sound Track for Comedic Film at the 2020 Colorado International Cannabis and Hemp Film Festival. (His portrayal of Harry Bush in the film also helped garner a nomination for Best Actor Award for Comedic Short Film at the festival. It was his first cinematic acting role). Scott also appears with his wife, Elsa, and her mom, Maria Acosta, in the latest documentary, "It's Not A Burden", a feature-length documentary by Emmy nominated cinematographers, Michelle Boyaner and Barbara Green. The film provides an intimate, humorous and heartfelt journey into the challenges and joys of adult children caring for their aging parents. (now streaming: https://www.amazon.com/Its-Not-Burden-Heartache-Raising/dp/B09B8LZW8H)
He has worked as collaborating composer with Gabriel Masson Dance of New York, Shirley Martin Dancers (North Hollywood, CA) and Ballet Memphis.
In addition to performing throughout the U.S., Detweiler has performed in Europe, South America and Asia.
Scott served as a juror and board member for the annual Gohar and Ovanes Andriassian Classical Guitar Competition and Festival at California State University Los Angeles and was a Teaching Artist in the Los Angeles where he taught blues music to inner city students in The Los Angeles Unified School District System. He currently is a member of the music ministry at Our Lady of Grace Church in Encino, California and a regular performing artist in the California prison system with the Los Angeles Archdiocese Office of Administrative Justice.
Be sure to check out his latest albums, Memphis Bound and Seven Solo Songs, both released in celebration of his going to Memphis in January 2023 to participate in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge, and explore Detweiler's entire catalog of recorded music. (Don't forget to sign up for the Detweiler email list for news and updates, too).