Darrell Scott takes the 'Long Ride' to Charleston
WANT TO GO?
With Darrell Scott, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Solas, Rosi Golan and Jimmy LaFave
WHERE: Culture Center Theater
WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday
TICKETS: Advance tickets $15, at the door $25 INFO: 800-594-TIXX or www.mountainstage.org
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A few years have passed since the last time Darrell Scott played Charleston. The singer/songwriter, who appears Sunday on "Mountain Stage," was scheduled to appear last spring as part of the Woody Hawley series but had to cancel when bad weather prevented him from getting to Charleston.
The show was postponed, but then Robert Plant decided to take him on tour with his Band of Joy, which mixes folk, blues, rock, country and bluegrass. That kind of range requires the Led Zepplin frontman to play with musicians who have a wide variety of talents, which is how the multi-instrumentalist Scott ended up on the tour.
Scott met Plant through producer Buddy Miller. Miller toured with Plant and Alison Krauss during their "Raising Sand" tour.
"Robert and Buddy got along really well, musically," Scott said. "So when Robert said he wanted to make a record, he called on Buddy to produce it and Buddy called me."
Scott was brought in because, among other things, he plays guitar, mandolin, accordion, pedal steel guitar and banjo.
"Robert loved the album," Scott said. "He loved the band so much that he wanted to take us on tour."
It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and "a great time," but it took Scott out of circulation for more than a year. Still, somehow during that time, he managed to record his own record, "A Long Ride Home," available in stores this week.
The record could pass for an album of obscure classic country covers. It pays tribute to the country music Scott grew up listening to, including Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams.
"But I wouldn't say there's a Hank Williams or Johnny Cash song on the record," he said. "My influences are pretty broad. It's all there stylistically, I think."
Adding to the authenticity of the sound are appearances by classic country players like Hargus "Pig" Robbins on keyboards, upright bass player Dennis Crouch and West Virginia's Charlie McCoy on harmonica.
Robbins is practically an institution in Nashville. He's played keyboards for everyone from Merle Haggard to Bob Dylan. Crouch recorded with George Jones, and McCoy was the go-to harmonica man for just about everybody in Nashville in the 1960s and 1970s.
Each artist, Scott said, was handpicked for every song.
"There was no willy-nilly about it," he said. "I was very specific. Like with Charlie McCoy, the songs Charlie was on were absolutely Charlie McCoy songs."
"A Long Ride Home" is kind of a concept album based around a specific country sound. The songs were collected from things Scott has come up with over the course of his long career.
"Some of them go as far back as when I was 16," he said. "Others were songs I wrote in my 20s or maybe 30s. Everything is very country."
And all of it was stuff he kept in his head.
"Some people have photographic memories. I've got a memory for music. I'm sure I've lost a song or two over the decades, but most of it is still there."
Scott plans to spend a lot of time on the road playing the record, at least for the next several months. He hopes to eventually hear from Robert Plant again, though, inviting him back for a follow-up with Band of Joy.
"Robert is a moving creative force," Scott said. "He doesn't want to repeat 1972. He doesn't even want to repeat the last album."
Scott said he loved the direction Band of Joy was headed in during its time on tour.
"The record was made during the first two weeks that we knew each other," he said. "After 13 months of travel, we became a different band. We took more risks, retooled not just Led Zeppelin songs, but Band of Joy songs, too."
Scott said he'd love to see where it went from there. Twice in a lifetime wouldn't be too much.
Reach Bill Lynch at email@example.com or 304-348-5195.