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Music Producer Dennis Scott Honors Mister Rogers

With A Star-Studded Tribute Album

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Courtesy of Dennis Scott Productions

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

As a new generation is discovering Mister Rogers and his famed neighborhood, thanks largely in part to Tom Hanks' latest movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, there's a whole other generation celebrating his tremendous talent, career, and humanity in a new album, 'Thank You, Mister Rogers: Music & Memories.'

And producer, composer and lyricist Dennis Scott is the man behind it all. Dennis won a Grammy Award for his 2005 album, 'Songs from the Neighborhood: Music of Mister Rogers.' He says of making the album at the time, "I was in my kitchen watching TV and Mr. Rogers came on and he was singing “It's You I Like.” It immediately charmed me. As a composer, I wanted to know who wrote it. I did not know at the time that Fred Rogers was also a musician and composer and came to find out he wrote over 200 songs for his series.”

He was as compelled to take on that project then as he was to take on this latest one that was a year and a half in the making. "Crystal Gayle was the first artist to participate and one by one, each artist came on board. We recorded some songs here {in his Franklin studio}, some in Los Angeles, one in Oklahoma City, New York and Miami Beach." 

Twelve award-winning artists and TV personalities lend their vocals to the album - Kellie Pickler, Vanessa Williams, Rita Wilson, Jim Brickman, Jon Secada, Jaci Velasquez, Micky Dolenz, Tom Bergeron, Sandi Patty, The Cowsills, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Dennis adds, "I’ve always said a good song can be recorded by different people in all sorts of different styles. And that’s what we tried to do."

Actress and singer Rita Wilson says of her experience, "We were asked to choose songs we felt connected to. I loved 'Sometimes People Are Good.' Not everyone is their best at all times and I thought Mr. Rogers was letting kids know that they’re complex creatures and no one is perfect." 

Dennis continues, "Fred Rogers' writing is more sophisticated and intricate than you might think. A lot of his songs are very challenging musically. And lyrically he has a great command of words. I’m on a campaign now to have him nominated for the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His music belongs in the great American songbook."

For Dennis, the former child actor and huge Beatles fan (he performs in the band the WannaBeatles), what was it like to win a Grammy? "It’s not just the moment of getting the Grammy. It was the year and a half of hard work, and disappointments and rejections that happened prior to it. It’s amazing that either of these albums got done."

Dennis Scott Productions

DennisScott.net 

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