Darrell Scott

Artist / Band / Musician
Folk Rock / Southern Rock / Jam Band
You need more than guts and good intentions to record a convincing

all-covers CD of songs by the modern-day pantheon of great

singer-songwriters, from Bob Dylan to Mickey Newbury to Joni Mitchell.

You have to add something special and personal to reignite oft-heard

standards – musical talent, sure, but also a depth of feeling,

experience and understanding. And Darrell Scott, from

his genes to his genius as a sensitive vocalist, an award-winning

songwriter of depth and perception, and a versatile instrumentalist,

has earned that right.

Born on a tobacco farm in London, Ky., in

1959, and raised in E. Gary, Indiana, Darrell was part of a musical

family. His father Wayne, a steelworker by trade but a songwriter in

his heart, moved his clan to Southern California when Darrell was 11.

Soon Darrell and brothers Denny, Dale, Don, and David were part of

their dad’s band, getting on-the-job training in country music as they

played its hits on the stages of roadhouses and taverns as far north as


Darrell eventually left the band and California, paying

some more musical dues in Toronto and in Boston and earning a degree in

poetry from nearby Tufts University, where he also studied literature.

With his lyric skills sharpened and his abilities on guitars, banjo and

other instruments already road-tested, Darrell followed his muse to

country music’s Ground Zero, Nashville. His key to entering Music Row’s

inner circles was, at first, his string-slinging skills – starting in

1992, he appeared on albums by alt.country mavericks Guy Clark (for whom he later produced two CDs) and Steve Earle, Randy Travis, Patty Loveless, and dozens more.

As his "day job" as a picker flourished, Darrell channeled his other

creative energies into his own songwriting and recordings. By the time

he had released his debut CD, Aloha from Nashville (1997), its follow-up Family Tree (1999), and Real Time (2000), a duo album with “newgrass” trailblazer Tim O’Brien, Darrell’s original songs were much in demand by singers looking for more than "big hat" bragging or slick country-pop. Suzy Bogguss

was the first of many to record a Scott song, taking his "No Way Out"

into the country singles charts in 1996. Darrell’s compositions became

highlights of albums by Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Kathy Mattea, Maura O’Connell and even his mentor, Guy Clark. The Dixie Chicks’ recording of “Long Time Gone” from Real Time was not only a hit for the Chicks but garnered a 2003 Grammy nomination for "Best Country Song"; "The Second Mouse," a Scott/O’Brien tune from Real Time, was a Grammy finalist as “Best Country Instrumental Performance” in 2001. That same year, Darrell was named Songwriter of the Year by the Nashville Songwriters Association International, an honor repeated by ASCAP in 2002.

Darrell’s solo CDs, session work, touring gigs with Steve Earle’s Bluegrass Dukes (of which he remains a member), Guy Clark, and Newgrass Revival founder Sam Bush, and his own live shows have steadily drawn reviews even payola can’t buy. USA Today praised his “brilliantly clever songs”; Entertainment Tonight raved about his “powerful songwriting, passionate vocals and masterful picking”; Rolling Stone listed his 2003 CD, Theatre of the Unheard, in their list of Critics’ Top Albums and compared him to Clark and Springsteen “at their best.” Performing Songwriter went all the way, dubbing him “the best of the best.”

Somehow, Darrell has continually found the time and energy to expand his musical

activities ever further. In 2003, he launched his own label, Full Light

Records, and his first move as owner was to produce a traditional,

mountain country album for his father, This Weary Way,

that finally showcased Wayne’s original songs. For the past two years,

Darrell has been the “artist in residence” with Orchestra Nashville

(members appear on Modern Hymn’s “Joan of

Arc”), creating what he calls “diverse musical happenings – the odder

the better,” mixing the string section with such guests as Sam Bush, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, and other musicians from many genres.

Darrell has also been stockpiling songs and ideas for his next few CDs,

including orchestral recordings, a “stone country” album, a duets

project, and a band record of roots, Americana and folk-rock songs. He

plays more than 50 shows a year, including prestigious US and UK

festivals, and conducts songwriting workshops around the country. He

recently had to turn down an invitation to lead a road band for Joan Baez due to logistics.

We should all have such problems; we should all have such skills. But Darrell does, and that’s what makes him such a distinctive and creative force in contemporary music.
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