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Scott Appel


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How many people do you know who made a record that drew three and a half stars from Rolling Stone and was touted by Billboard as one of the best albums of its year? Probably not many. That’s why it’s important to note the loss of Scott Appel, a quietly brilliant musician who died March 11 in New Jersey after a long battle with heart disease. He was 48.

Scott was a virtuoso guitarist and musicologist, a dedicated musician who followed no other career than the hard life of making music for small, independent labels. Although he used to joke that his musical legacy would be the oddity of having five records on five separate labels, the true significance of that was the brilliance and passion of his musicianship that caused all those different indies to put out his work.

In a world where most records get junked almost as soon as they are released, Scott’s “Nine of Swords” was released twice, by Kicking Mule Records in 1989 and Schoolkids Records in 1995. A third separate release, on One Man Clapping Records, was in the works for 2000 but ultimately didn’t happen.

It was “Swords” that brought Scott the most acclaim, from David Fricke’s three and a half stars review in Rolling Stone, to Dave DiMartino’s glowing “one of the best albums to be released this year” in Billboard, to Anthony deCurtis’ perceptive call of the record as “a moving example of an artist realizing his own vision by honoring the achievement of a master” in the Los Angeles Times.

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  • firefly2811

    the best of the tribute albums of nick drake without a doubt. nine of swords is great.

    13 Dec 2013 Reply
  • mirddin

    His album 'Nine of Swords' is majestic. What a pity that he is so obscure.

    7 Feb 2010 Reply