Darrell Scott, Danny Thompson & Kenny Malone
Live In NC
Full Light Records
Oddly, Darrell Scott may be the lesser known of these three musicians, but he’s not a lesser force in music for it. Darrell and Tim O’Brien were the go-to guys for Steve Earle when Del McCoury and band dropped out of his The Mountain tour a few years ago. Darrell and Tim were suddenly anointed “The Bluegrass Dukes,” and the tour continued to provide a satisfying show despite the difference. His name may not yet be all that recognizable to the masses, but anyone who listens to country music has heard his songs covered by the likes of Patty Loveless and Garth Brooks.
I don’t have a Garth CD in my collection, but I’ve followed Darrell Scott for several years. He’s one of the most literate songwriters working. He’s also a helluva picker, as this CD shows.
Live In NC is made up of originals and covers, including a couple that Darrell’s dad, Wayne Scott, co-authored. The covers include songs by Johnny Cash (“I Still Miss Someone” and “Folsom Prison Blues”) and a tasty treatment of Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freightliner Blues.” However, it’s on his originals that Scott really stretches and has the most fun. This album is all that a live recording should be. The treatments are as good as any studio versions — but different. Casual Scott fans will recognize “Helen of Troy Pennsylvania,” a song about a trio of teenage boys who visit a prostitute for the first time. But even I was unprepared for what “River Take Me” turned into. They dig right down into a groove that is downright majestic. It reminds me of some of the Allman Brothers’ finest jams. Quite an accomplishment.
This is one fine piece of work, beginning to end, and I’d expect that after Merlefest 2005, Mr. Darrell Scott’s stock is going to rise even further.