[Interview] Darrell Scott

He simplifies life to make masterful music

For a songwriter with seven albums of mostly original music, Darrell Scott is best known as a musician, producer and collaborator with everyone from Texas troubadour Guy Clark to Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.

That covers a lot of territory for the Kentucky-born, roots-music virtuoso.

“To me, my own records sit right there like sitting next to Robert Plant or Guy Clark. They’re not two different worlds,” says Scott, who toured in Plant’s Band of Joy with Buddy Miller and Patty Griffin for more than a year. “I’ve been doing this all along and that’s probably the part of me that people know the least.

“I won’t have Robert coming out to sing a duet with me; it will just be me and that’s kind of what it’s been with some brief jump outs with Guy or Steve Earle or whoever.”

The list of people who want to hang (and work) with Scott is impressive, but sometimes a person just needs to unplug. And since he is not the “that’s good enough” type, he did it in true Darrell Scott fashion — moving two hours from his longtime home in Nashville to a solar-powered house in the country a mile off of a gravel road.

“I did want a simpler lifestyle. Where I’ve been is busy, very involved in the recording industry, that kind of stuff,” Scott says. “(This) is more about how I want to live my life from this point on. (The move) allowed me to finish this new record (‘Couchville Sessions’).”

Scott has lived many lifestyles since his family left Eastern Kentucky for East Gary, Indiana, then to Southern California as youngsters because his father refused to pick coal in Appalachia. Instead of spending his life underground, Wayne Scott worked hard building chain fences and instilling the love of country music in his five sons.

“My dad always maintained he raised a band in me and my brothers. That’s the good news and the bad news,” Scott laughs. “It’s great that we had that commonality, but the downside is you almost feel you don’t have a choice.

“I fought that as any 16-year-old would … I quit. When I was 23, I went to college in Boston (Tufts), as far away from music and country music and Kentucky as I could. The irony is that I studied poetry, got an English degree and brought it all back to music, the thing that I was supposedly destined for.”

Scott’s fans appreciate both that rebellious stage, which sharpened his skills as a songwriter (the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and others have covered his tunes); and his family’s influence, which nurtured his talent as a musician (he plays guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, weissenborn and vibes on the new album).

Scott’s father, who died in an automobile accident in 2011, schooled his son in the masters of country music.

“My dad had impeccable taste in great songs; he was a Hank Williams and Johnny Cash fanatic,” Scott says. “There’s a Hank and a Johnny (song) on the new record, but I do them my own way.”

The way that was his destiny.

Darrell Scott sings “A Crooked Road”.


Originally published in 2016.

Each week, Bob Hust and Bill Thompson feature the best songs – old and new – from artists they have loved for many years and others they have just discovered. The best songs transport people to a time and place. That’s the foundation of BS&B.

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