Grayson Capps is relaxed. You can hear it in the tone of his voice when he speaks, in the thoughtful, laconic way he reflects on the sometimes-tumultuous course of his life and work. It’s not the sound of complacency or comfort, but rather of personal growth and understanding. Capps is not without worry or darkness in his life, but he’s reached a kind of peace with it, an unhurried acceptance that enables him to write with unflinching honesty and remarkable humanity. His long-awaited new solo album, ‘Scarlett Roses,’ is his first in six years, and it showcases the kind of understated brilliance that can blossom when creativity is detached from expectation, when songs are truly given the space and time to find their writer.
If there’s anything Capps has learned from this process, it’s to slow down and simplify, to eliminate the pressure of expectation and the fear of loss in order to truly connect with yourself in a deep and meaningful way. As a result, ‘Scarlett Roses’ is the most sophisticated, mature, and resonant collection of music he’s ever recorded. It’s a rock and roll album the Buddhists might call Zen. Grayson Capps, however, just calls it relaxed.