The Kennedy Center

Darrell Scott


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.

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 Scott