THEATER OF THE UNHEARD (Full Light) Darrell Scott
This is an epic work of an American master a long, long time in the making. A decade and more before he became a prominent songwriter, performer, and session musician, Darrell Scott landed a major record deal and recorded a big budget record with a lot of heavyweight musicians. It represented all the best songs he'd written in his life. After the long journey was done, all the work completed and the dream realized, the company decided not to put it out.
Shot right off his horse, Darrell and his family still decided to come to Nashville. Even though the future was uncertain and the bridge to the past was on fire, it was cheaper to go to Nashville than to stay in Boston. (For a time Darrell was pursuing literature at Tufts. From the bowels of a thousand honky tonks to the hallowed halls of academia, that's a road less traveled.) Some lean years followed. The studio work trickled in, and there were writing deals. Thanks to friends like Blake Chancey (whom he credits in our interview), he started to land a few songs.
The rest is a history still in the making for a man with over 70 cuts, including huge hits for the likes of Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, and Sara Evans. Darrell was the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year in 2001, and earned Grammy nominations in 2001 and 2003. He's been a part of well over a hundred records as a session musician, and can play any damn thing you put in front of him.
All his hits have only been songs that he wanted to write, never attempts to "get cut." He is a true artist, and so it makes sense that after he's hit it big, his reaction is to record "the freakiest album I've made so far." And the songs turn out to be the ones from his never released first record, re-cut.
His hand-picked band of creative geniuses tells a story all its own. England's Danny Thompson plays double bass. Many acoustic fans know from his stellar work with the legendary Pentagle, John Martyn, Richard Thompson, Sandy Denny, and a long list of largely English legends from folk, rock, and jazz. Darrell's close and long time friend he calls the guru, Kenny Malone, plays drums and percussion. His level of creativity has been a source of inspiration to many, and I'm told he was the first drummer ever on a bluegrass record. Dan Dugmore plays steel and guitar, and he's as California as Nashville gets. Emmy Lou, Linda Ronstadt, Warren Zevon, and the Eagles, that's just a few of the acts with whom Dan has played or recorded. Suzi Ragsdale, Jonell Mosser and John Cowan sing like the band plays, and that's saying a lot.
There I go again, talking about the man, and the band, instead of the record. Why listen to words about the record, listen to the record, here. And buy Theater of the Unheard, here. These are the songs that enabled one of the finest songwriters of our time to first find his voice. He's definitely one of our favorite artists of any time. FG