I love Darrell Scott for the same reason I love the genres of Roots and Americana music… brilliant songwriting, vivid imagery, and heartfelt emotions. Real stories we can all relate to. And he is not only an accomplished player (with a collection of over 80 instruments), and a great vocalist… but an excellent writer. He is perhaps most well-known for penning such hits as “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” (a personal favorite of mine) and the Dixie Chicks’ hit “Long Time Gone.” He explores the darker issues of life sensitively and honestly, without shirking his responsibility as a songwriter to tell it like it is, and he tackles these issues upfront without preaching; we feel all the emotional impact, and yet positively, in the universal spirit of acceptance.
He is an accomplished sideman and session musician. He was playing professionally by his teens in Southern California. Later, Darrell moved to Toronto then Boston. He attended Tufts University, where he studied poetry and literature. His list of collaborators includes Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, John Cowan, Verlon Thompson, Robert Plant, Guy Clark, Tim O’Brien, Kate Rusby, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Mary Gauthier, and many others. These days, many of those artists are lined up to write and play with him.
DNA is a powerful thing… Darrell is the son of noted musician Wayne Scott and father of budding musician Musical talent is readily apparent and prevalent in his gene pool.
Darrell Scott is one of those Nashville-based singer-songwriters who out-of-towners hear in some of the city’s smaller venues and wonder: “Why isn’t he more famous?”
“I look like an insider because of everything I’ve done but I always felt like an outsider.”
After 23 years in Nashville, he has now moved out to the Cumberland Plateau, between Knoxville and Nashville, to take that outsider role more seriously. Much of the attraction of this new locale is that Darrell is able to work outside the concerns and constraints of Nashville and the industry, so he can take his time and work to his own rules and be completely self-sufficient.
His latest release is Couchville Sessions.
The video below is of You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive, recorded (with Karen Mattheson) as part of the BBC program Transatlantic Sessions.