Darrell Scott is one of Nashville’s premiere session musicians and has lived there since 1995. Not only does he sing and write songs, he’s also a multi-instrumentalist that plays guitar, mandolin, pedal, lap steel, banjo and accordion.
During his career, Darrell has collaborated with the likes of Steve Earle, Sam Bush, Emmylou Harris, Tim O’Brien and others. Among his many accolades is winning the 2007 Song of the Year award from the Americana Music Association for his song "Hank William's Ghost” which appears on his album The Invisible Man released in 2006. In 2010, he was part of the Band of Joy, alongside Led Zeppelin frontman, Robert Plant. And his songs have been covered by musicians, such as: The Dixie Chicks, Beyoncé, Faith Hill, Travis Tritt, Brad Paisley – and have been featured on the TV show “Justified”.
It All Began at Home
“I thought instead of just doing a show there, we could record an album with no PA system. PAs are not meant to sound great - they’re meant to make the folks onstage louder. For a little adobe church in Jaroso, Colorado, we didn’t need that. We recorded simply and it was very intimate. There were about fifty folks at our concert and they were quiet, but you can hear people moving about. It makes the recording more charming and makes you feel like you’re there, which is what we were looking for.”
In essence, they were making an old folk record. “Early folk music had a tradition of having field recordings, where you take equipment out to wherever the person making the music is - the front porch, a jail, a hotel room - and you just record them wherever they are.”
Darrell’s songwriting is spontaneous. “I like writing songs when the inspiration is there. It’s a high moment. It happens mostly when I’m moved to stop whatever I’m doing and pay attention. The only problem with that is I have to be prepared to not write for as long as it takes to be inspired. I’ve written two songs in a day and have also gone a year or two without writing one.”
When he’s not writing or performing, Darrell listens to a wide variety of music. He has “a bunch of 78s (probably 800+) and my tastes can run from folk to bluegrass to early blues, early rockabilly, stuff like that. I like to listen to things that aren’t in the world I work in - maybe classical, jazz, world music, instrumental music, and different songs pop through. I have Apple music with thousands of albums. I sometimes get random suggestions, so I’ve got diverse radio stations.”
On the Road Again
And touring is a family affair for Darrell. “We travel in a truck with a camper in the bed. I travel with my wife, Angela, and our dog, Miller. We stay at national and state parks, Walmart parking lots, rivers, lakes. We’re kind of working tourists.”
When you see him on tour, don’t expect to hear the same songs every night. “I don’t have a set list. I go out and make it up every night. The audience, how I feel, what went on in the world that day and the PA have something to do with song choices. I’m kind of an improvisational guy.”
Darrell has even played our local Swallow Hill (around 15 years ago) and says he’s “aware of what the Denver Folklore Center has meant to Denver, through Harry and all the great music that has happened – folk-centric, blues, bluegrass. There’s nothing like it.”
When he’s not on the road, Darrell enjoys being at his farm. “It’s nice to walk around the land and dream about what we’re going to do there, like building a shack or a fence for the animals. And I like to cook. I wouldn’t say I’m a chef, but I’m very much a cook.”
See Darrell Scott Live!