Darrell Scott – Theatre Of The Unheard
As a musician, Darrell Scott is an A-list multi-instrumentalist who has performed on countless albums by the likes of Steve Earle, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Kate Rusby, and toured with Guy Clark, Tim O’Brien and Sam Bush. As a songwriter, he’s scored over 70 cuts (by the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Suzy Bogguss, Garth Brooks, et al.), been named Songwriter Of The Year by ASCAP (2002) and the National Songwriters Association (2001), and garnered two Grammy nominations.
He’s also released four splendid discs under his own name, and produced many more. But when he arrived in Nashville in 1990, he was just another guy with a carload of instruments and a bag full of songs. On Theatre Of The Unheard, Scott takes advantage of his hard-earned stature to step back in time and take a fresh crack at said sack o’ tunes, which he’d originally recorded for an unreleased disc in 1991.
Such a project could easily have qualified as an exercise in vanity, but Scott and his hand-picked core combo (drummer Kenny Malone, bassist Danny Thompson, multi-instrumentalist Dan Dugmore and organist Steve Nathan) breathe life and immediacy into a dozen tunes written in the mid-late ’80s.
Augmented by well-placed cameos from Stuart Duncan, Rodney Crowell, John Cowan and Jonelle Mosser, the disc strolls through an eclectic mix that variously dials up Band-esque Americana, muscular southern rock and country rock, hill-country breakdowns, and even mid-’70s Van Morrison.
Scott’s earthy, elastic vocals remain an underrated treat, and the playing by all hands is superb. The still-stale climate of NashVegas radio will, no doubt, effectively render this a glorified demo, but this boy sure can deliver the goods.