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Published: 2012/02/08
by Brian Robbins

Darrell Scott
Long Ride Home

Full Light Records

“Give ‘em flowers while they can still smell ‘em.”

I apologize if the delivery sounds irreverent, but the statement is one that’s stuck with me ever since an older guy shared it a long time ago. The point is simple: don’t wait for the eulogy to tell somebody how much you think of them.

There’s no way on God’s green earth that Darrell Scott could’ve known that his latest album, Long Ride Home would end up being a tribute to his father Wayne, as the album was recorded long before Wayne’s death this past November. Actually, Long Ride Home was dedicated to Darrell’s mother, who died earlier in 2011; the cover art features words from Darrell about his mom, along with a great photo of Wayne, who co-wrote two songs and contributed guitar and vocals, as well.

It was a fine thing: fine music by family and friends (a list of friends that included folks such as Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Guy Clark, Dennis Crouch, Kenny Malone, Lloyd Green, Tim O’Brien, Rodney Crowell, and Patty Griffin); made with big grins, love, and respect.

And then Wayne Scott was killed in a horrific auto accident.

Son Darrell wrote the following poem in the hours after receiving the news of his father’s death.

this morning

my father died this morning …
car accident
his first his last

helicoptered to trauma center
his end begun
& ended
all
in 4 hours

eyewitnesses say he ran
a red light
in front of a semi

impact

and the car drove half
a mile before resting inside
a wendy’s on 25e

corbin, knox county,
kentucky

march 2, 1935 to this morning
this morning,
november 18, 2011

i feel certain
he was listening
to music

And no doubt, Wayne Scott was. In his lifetime, Scott was a steel worker; he drove an oil truck; he worked at fence construction. But Wayne was a musician as well. He could never afford to attempt to make a career out of it, but there was always music around the household. That’s the environment that Darrell Scott and his brothers grew up in.

Later on, Darrell’s career as a successful singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist allowed him to start his own record label. The debut album for Darrell’s Full Light Records was This Weary Way – Wayne Scott’s first and only album released in his lifetime. Darrell has described his father as having “an authenticity … I knew that as his son – and also as another songwriter and musician.” Roots run deep; once you crossed paths with Wayne Scott’s music, it was easy to see where Darrell’s front porch soul and massive talent came from.

Which brings us back to the matter at hand: Darrell Scott’s newly-released Long Ride Home, which is a fine showcase for that aforementioned talent. With a musical team of all-star players, Scott takes the vibe in a number of different directions; at times the music could be compared to some of his peers’ best efforts, but it’s never anything other than pure Darrell Scott.

Along those lines, “You’ll Be With Me All The Way” is a sweet ache in the vein of John Hiatt classics such as “Lipstick Sunset” or “Feels Like Rain” – listen for Scott’s voice slow-dancing with Lloyd Green’s pedal steel towards the end. The majestic lurch of Kenny Malone’s drums and a dry, right here mix would make “No Love In Arkansas (The Ring)” feel right at home on Neil Young’s Harvest.

If Bruce Springsteen had grown up in the roadhouses of Kentucky rather than on the boardwalks of New Jersey, he might have written “Out In The Parking Lot”. Scott and Guy Clark’s lyrics paint a fully developed picture with each verse, as observed through the eyes of a late-nighter who’s “sittin’ on the fender of someone else’s truck, drinkin’ Old Crow whiskey and hot 7-Up.” And “It Must Be Sunday” is full of the same sort of lonely shake-your-head revelations that Willie Nelson or Kris Kristofferson might share with you.

“Hopkinsville” chugs along with the kind of dirt road swagger that Steve Earle has built songs like “Telephone Road” out of. Hargus “Pig” Robbins’ left hand on the piano keyboard and Dennis Crouch’s upright bass drive the thing, while Robbins’ right hand sounds like it must be attached to an arm with a sleeve garter on it – laying down beautiful beer bottle tinkles. Lloyd Green’s pedal darts in, ducks, bobs, and weaves – and then roars back out in a cloud of dust. Fun, fun, fun.

There are the two tunes that Darrell and his father Wayne wrote together: “You’re Everything I Wanted Love To Be” would be a beautiful gift as a poem – let alone wrapped in the happy sunshine of Malone’s one-hand-on-the-steering-wheel rhythm, Robbins’ burbling piano, and a harmonica that feels like the credits rolling at the end of a fine romance movie. And that’s Wayne Scott himself that you hear in the opening verse of “Country Boy” – with the authenticity that Darrell has spoken of in the past carrying the song, making it be as real as it is. And when father and son join voices on the chorus, well … it really doesn’t get much better than that when it comes to true country heart and soul.

Long Ride Home stands on its own legs as a great album by Darrell Scott and friends. The fact that his father Wayne played such a big part in the recording of the album and was able to hear the results before his death makes it that much more of a masterpiece.

“Give ‘em flowers while they can still smell ‘em.”

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