By Trish Weatherall
Published in the North Island Eagle newspaper Sept. 22, 2017
Bringing the music of an icon, and a promise of an entertaining evening, award-winning Neil Diamond tribute artist Jason Scott brings his Diamond Forever performance to the Port Alice Royal Canadian Legion September 30.
“With a family military background – my Granddad was in four wars – I have a special place in my heart for Legion’s,” said Scott. “Legion’s have the best food, the best prices. They sustain a community.”
Scott has a music background that goes back to the Toronto Conservatory when he was five years old, touring as a professional singer with nightclub and concert bands for twenty years, and went on to be a Canadian record label recording artist, writer and performer. He says he was thinking about retiring in the late 90s, when he discovered he could sing like best-selling singer-songwriter-composer Neil Diamond, on a fluke.
“I never knew Neil was bottled up inside me. He was part of my music menu, but not my staple. But he just falls out of my face when I sing,” said Scott. “Singing my first Neil song, I had to drop down my range – I was used to doing more in my high range, like Journey, Zeppelin. The audience cheered like the Canucks just scored a goal! It just comes so naturally. I started doing cover songs, then whole albums.”
He won the “Be a legend” celebrity tribute artist competition in Las Vegas, the Best Platinum Showcase Award at the Sunburst Convention of Celebrity Tribute Artists, broke attendance records at The Fremont Street Experience in Las Vegas, and won the Reel Award (the Oscars of the tribute industry) in the Pop and Rock category for his part in the documentary film Diamond Mountain.
Scott now performs almost exclusively at Royal Canadian Legion branches across the country.
“It’s a lot of fun, but a learning experience for me too,” said Scott. “I run into military folks across the ages. I get to sit down and talk to them.”
The Diamond Forever show spans almost 60 years of hits like America, Sweet Caroline, Hello Again, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, while Scott delivers the look, sound, and moves of the music icon, with a mix of humour and stories behind the songs.
“I’m not a Neil Diamond impersonator,” said Scott. “It’s more of a tribute. A celebration of his music and history. You are going to have a good time. It’s a very audience-interactive performance. There’s a dance contest with prizes, a sing-a-long, and I’m in the audience as much as I’m on stage. And if some poor sap is on his phone, well, we are going to have our way with him!”
Scott has some past connection to the North Island. He came to Port Hardy two or three times in the mid-80s, and had a roommate with family there.
“I remember we were inundated with salmon from the family,” he jokes. “We were invited to a lot of barbeques. We carried a salmon under each arm.”
He won’t have time for visiting or fishing on this trip; an Alberta Legion awaits his next performance.
Diamond Forever show begins at 7:30 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25, available at RCL Branch #180, Marine Drive, Port Alice, 250-284-3256 or call Audrey at 250-284-3261.