Grammy winner Darrell Scott brings honest songwriting to Rives, Nov. 16

12 Nov


Darrell Scott’s songs have been heard by millions. He’s recorded with more than 70 artists, plays 13 instruments and has been nominated for three Grammy awards.

But the Grammy winner’s only night of music in Martinsville is this Friday, and it will take place in the Rives Theatre.

Scott is widely regarded as one of Nashville’s finest songwriters and session musicians. He’s written hit country songs such as “It’s a Great Day to be Alive,” covered by Travis Tritt, and “Long Time Gone,” made famous by the Dixie Chicks.

He’s recorded with the likes of Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Sam Bush, Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt, Trace Adkins and many more. Fresh off a tour with Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Scott will perform music from his latest album, Long Ride Home, at Friday’s concert.

The secret to great songs, Scott said, is in the “truth telling quotient.”

“I think it’s the ring of honesty. That’s sort of what makes a timeless song,” he explained.

And it’s a lack of honesty in many modern country songs that needles Scott, who, when prompted, pointed to the subject of alcohol and alcoholism to illustrate his case.

“In modern country music, we’re having fun. We’re kicking our heels up. We’re having a tailgate party, going down to the river with a keg. … That sounds like fun, maybe I should go, too,” he said.

The problem, of course, is that such portrayals are shallow, “almost sophomoric” representations of real-life issues, Scott said.

“In old country music, drinking was serious, and the heavy reality of alcoholism – it ruined families, ruined careers, ruined all that stuff,” Scott explained. “They didn’t try to paint a smiley face on things that weren’t all that smiley.

“It just feels like the old country music told the truth more accurately to the human experience, especially for country people,” he said.

“The irony could be that modern country music could be telling the truth of modern country people, but that’s not familiar to me,” Scott admitted. “Modern country music doesn’t tell me anything necessary to my life.”

He’s certainly not an artist who minces words, which begged the question: Has it ever bothered him when a popular radio country artist covered one of his songs and turned it into a big commercial hit?

“Never,” he said flatly. “That would be like being angry that you won the lottery. It doesn’t really come into effect. Having famous people record my songs means I can put my kids through college. It means I can record the albums that I want to record and boost the bank account so that I can do what I want to do.”

And what he wants to do is write and perform songs that speak the truth.

“Truth  telling has a staying power to it. It was true 35 years ago, it’s true today and very likely true tomorrow,” he said.

“I don’t allow a publisher to tell me how to make changes on a song,” he added, “but that’s just my own personal code. They’re a publisher, not a songwriter. You publish, I write songs.”

Opening duo Guns and Robey, two members of the Harwell Grice Band, will start the show around 8:30 p.m. Scott will take the stage at 9 p.m. Tickets are $20 each, with a limited number of reserved seats available for $30 each. Season passes will not be accepted for this show. 

Darrell Scott’s performance is SOLD OUT. 

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