". . . A profoundly versatile solo act, as this new album attests. . . . All the songs are covers and are done with a prayerful flair that befits the title Modern Hymns
." -- Steve Morse, Boston Globe, 8/19/08
". . . A real treasure . . . haunting, melodic and striking. . . a wonderful and rich voice Darrell Scott has showcased . . ." -- Rickey Lamb, BluegrassJournal.com, 8/19/08
"A straight-up bluegrass version of [Joni] Mitchell's `Urge for Going' is one of the fresh interpretations on the disc . . ." -- Ken Tucker, Billboard
"Brilliant songwriter salutes his idols . . . here revamping an exquisite Joni Mitchell song [`Urge for Going'] in energetic bluegrass fashion." -- Ken Barnes, USA Today "Playlist," 8/5/08
"This Nashville cat shows off his good taste and pipes with a grassy set of fave covers. (B+)" -- Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, 8/19/08
has already proved he can write great songs of universal appeal. More than 75 artists, including Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Guy Clark, have covered his compositions, riding several of them into the Top 5 country singles charts. He penned the 2007 Americana Song of the Year
("Hank Williams' Ghost"), and was named Songwriter of the Year
by ASCAP in 2002 and by the Nashville Songwriters Association International the previous year. The Dixie Chicks'
version of his "Long Time Gone" was a 2003 Grammy finalist
as "Country Song of the Year."
He's also a solo artist with six previous CDs, a multi-instrumentalist (guitars, Dobro, bouzouki, piano...), a first-call sessionman for everyone from Steve Earle to Joan Baez to Rascal Flatts, and a producer (Guy Clark, Susan Werner, his father, Wayne Scott, and his own CDs).
On Modern Hymns, Scott's first CD for Appleseed Recordings, his mission is to showcase "songs and artists/songwriters whose music shook me as a kid (with ears nearly as big as my heart). They guided the way to my own path as a singer-songwriter . . . These songs speak to the human condition . . . in all of our aching and beautiful glory . . . These songs are the truth . . ."
Scott has the life experiences and musical chops to add his own imprint to the classics of the modern country and contemporary singer-songwriter movements that he covers here. His soulful, low-key tenor voice rings wise, honest and vulnerable on material as varied as Gordon Lightfoot's "All the Lovely Ladies," Bob Dylan's "I Don't Believe You," John Hartford's "Nobody Eats at Linebaugh's Anymore," and Leonard Cohen's "Joan of Arc" (featuring Mary Gauthier and Alison Krauss on vocals). There's also a lovely, flowing, banjo-led take on Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays' "James," a near-instrumental in honor of James Taylor. The songs all share an undercurrent of melancholy and regret for emotional opportunities lost and times past, as well as stellar musical support by Scott, bluegrass great Del McCoury (harmony vocal on Joni Mitchell's "Urge for Going"), "newgrass" and roots mainstays Sam Bush (fiddle), Tim O'Brien (mandolin, vocals on Paul Simon's "American Tune"), Dirk Powell (banjo, fiddle), and Stuart Duncan (fiddle),the Fisk Jubilee Singers, and revered British folk/jazz acoustic bassist Danny Thompson, among many others.