Scott Sean White : Even Better On The Bad Days” Album Review

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I must admit to feeling just a little bit of trepidation (tempered with much anticipation and excitement) regarding the sophomore album “Even Better On The Bad Days”  from Texan native Scott Sean White, released independently on January 19th. When I tell you that his 2021 debut “Call It Even” topped my list of releases that year, I’m sure you’ll understand what I mean! 

Scott regularly makes trips to Nashville where he’s been a well respected member of the songwriting community for many years (he has had cuts by the likes of Cody Johnson) and he has an amazing way of sharing his observations and thoughts on life and the human condition via his music. The pandemic finally afforded him the time to record his own album, and he drew me in from the very first few lines of the opening (title) track. The album’s pared down production suited Scott’s poetic narrative so well and alongside his delicate, emotional vocals the all important lyrics were always to the fore. Hearing that the aim was for more uptempo and full band songs this time round, I secretly prayed that he didn’t  “overcook“ things on the follow up! 

Well, I am so happy to say that he found the perfect co-producer for this new project in Grammy nominated Dave Brainard, whose name I knew from his work alongside several of my favourite artists including Brandy Clark, Sunny Sweeney, Jamey Johnson and Jenny Tolman.  To quote Scott,  Dave is “an outside-themainstream guy. He produces left-of-center songwriter records”.  Yes,  “Even Better On The Bad Days” may well have the fuller sound that Scott was aiming for but it’s a far cry from the often generic, commercial albums coming out of Nashville that can sometimes make it hard for me to differentiate country artists from one another these days. Multi-instrumentalist Brainard also plays on all ten tracks I note, that atmospheric dobro in particular is so perfect, while his wife (the aforementioned Jenny Tolman ) adds backing vocals to many. And once again there’s substantial input from Scott’s good friend Helene Cronin, whose name appears as both co-writer and vocalist ( full credits on track listing below). Breathe a sigh of relief, Lesley! 

As on his debut, Scott’s deep thinking is evident in abundance throughout his sophomore release.  And his family and faith, both so obviously dear to his heart, are themes which continue to inspire much of his writing. Once again, though, he demonstrates his ability to connect with the listener despite the often very personal points of reference. Take just the first three tracks and I’m hopeful you’ll agree.

The opener, “Pulling Weeds”, is a song in which he tells about ridding his life of anything that’s getting in the way of what actually matters and is hampering self-improvement .… or as he says, “It’s time to make a little space and say hello to grace“ .… possibly a great New Year Resolution for many of us.  Numerous clever gardening analogies in the song’s lyrics too! I got some Brent Cobb vibes from this one which isn’t a bad thing. 

Next up is  “Hope You Never Do“,  immediately one of my album favourites.  The song was born out of a comment co-writer Rodney Foster said to his son and sees Scott bestowing his wishes for his own son’s future ….. specifically hoping he never takes the path of least resistance when faced with testing situations. But once again it’s a song whose sentiment can also be universally applicable, best summed up by a couple of my favourite lines on the entire album …. “Sometimes you make choices, boy, but sometimes they make you“. Yep, more deep thinking and as in so many instances while listening to the album my mind and thoughts started to race with the truth of those words! 

Talking of truth, apparently the one song on Scott’s first album which was 100% true and autobiographical was the title track (which I mentioned earlier as being so impactful) and on this project the same applies to “God Is Good ”. Scott and his family have faced situations which would test the most devout believer and make them ask questions of their God, the song being  born out of the passing of two of Scott’s three brothers in quick succession ( having already lost his other brother Joey who gets his own song in the incredible “Just Not Today”, incidentally). The chorus came to him in its entirety immediately afterwards, something he can only explain as being God-given. As someone who is not deeply devout I did have my reservations about this track based solely on the title, I’m still getting my head around a lot of it, but the narrative of his life it reveals is really hard hitting and I defy anyone to argue with that. I must make a special mention of the uplifting and inspirational gospel-style backing vocals. Incidentally it’s a line from this song that provides the album’s title, in case anyone was wondering. 

Standing by him throughout so many of these trials and tribulations has been Scott’s wife of 32 years, his teenage sweetheart Brenda, who gets referenced in the aforementioned song. And fittingly he has written a beautiful love song for her, “Keeper”. Complete with some clever word play throughout it’s a write which leaves you in no doubt how intertwined the pair are in so many ways. 

Not wanting to making this review overly long, I’ll just give two more tracks a mention (despite all deserving an essay!). “Not The Year” is possibly one of the most original song ideas I’ve ever encountered. “What if you were told on the day you were born the day you would die, just not the year?” Scott asks in this phenomenal track’s opening lines. And throughout the following 3 minutes he explores how that knowledge would possibly change how you think and behave. “Would you let yourself fall in love tonight if you knew you might have just three days to go?” is just one of the scenarios he ponders …. honestly, this song just blew my mind. Powerful thinking and writing at its very best, and the fact that “time keeps ticking” is emphasised very cleverly in the regular beat of the accompaniment. 

As some of you may well be aware, I always find album’s track order interesting and having already mentioned this one’s stunning opener it’s only right I finish with it’s equally impressive closer, “12 Notes and 26 Letters”, which very appropriately is an out and out celebration of songwriting. Yes, all the songs we hear are essentially a combination of the dozen notes of the chromatic scale and words formed from the letters of the alphabet. It’s just amazing that there’s so many different ways of putting them together, “to turn 3 minutes into something that’ll last forever” but thank goodness there is otherwise we would never have new music to listen to (and review!). And thank goodness that there are people as talented as Scott Sean White to do exactly that. 

Ok, 2024 may only be a few weeks old, but has Scott provided me with a contender for album of the year once more with “Even Better On The Bad Days”? You can bet your life he has! 

Download/Stream the album here

More artist information at

Track Listing/Credits 

1. Pulling Weeds


Dave Brainard – Acoustic guitars, Dobro, Bass, Keyboards, Percussion

Fred Eltringham – Drums

Justin Ostrander – Electric guitars

Andy Rogers – Banjo

Ben Roberts – Harmony vocal

Jenny Tolman  – Harmony vocal

2.Hope You Never Do


Dave Brainard – Acoustic guitars, Keyboards, Bass

Brian Douglas Phillips – Pedal Steel

Radney Foster – Harmony vocal

Victoria Rudd – Harmony vocal

 3. God is Good


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Keyboard Programming, Percussion, Harmony Vocal

Fred Eltringham – Drums

Justin Ostrander – Electric Guitars

Tina Wilkins – Harmony Vocal

Kendra Chantelle, Maureen Murphy, Hollie Hammel – Choir Vocals

Shelly Fairchild – additional vocals

4. People


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Dobro, Keys, Harmony Vocal

Helene Cronin – Harmony vocal

Ross Holmes – Fiddle

 5. Keeper


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Piano, Keyboards, Bass

Fred Eltringham – Drums, Percussion

Justin Ostrander – Electric Guitars

Victoria Rudd – Harmony Vocal

 6. Not The Year


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Piano

Fred Eltringham – Drums

Justin Ostrander – Electric Guitars

Victoria Rudd – Harmony Vocal

 7. Small World


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Piano, Keyboards

Carole Rabinowitz – Cello

Dani Flowers – Harmony Vocal

 8. Same Street


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Harmony Vocal

Fred Eltringham – Drums

Justin Ostrander – Electric Guitars

Dani Flowers – Harmony Vocal

9. Just Not Today


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Accordion

Ross Holmes – Mandolin

Helene Cronin – Harmony Vocal

10. 12 Notes and 26 Letters


Dave Brainard – Acoustic Guitars, Electric Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Djembe

Sweepy Walker – Harmonica

Susan Gibson – Harmony Vocal

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