Sticking To His Roots
Tufts graduate and award-winning country music singer-songwriter Darrell Scott has branched out to other parts of the music business, but he's still staying close to home.
Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.28.06] Darrell Scott has found success both as a songwriter for country musicians like Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt and a singer-songwriter in his own right. But when he launched his own record label, Full Light Records, he decided to feature a musician with a little less name recognition: his father Wayne.
"I know I'm his son and all that, but I really feel that his music is important just because it's so pure and true, especially to the form of … country music mountain … music," Scott told National Public Radio's "Fresh Air" program.
Growing up, Scott saw his father laboring in steel mills or doing fence construction. But despite the hard work, there was always music in the house with his father and brothers.
"I grew up in a family band," recalled Scott, who earned a degree in English from Tufts 1988. "It was just what you do as a family… our thing really was to play music."
When Scott heard his father singing growing up, he assumed all the songs were by established country singers like Hank Williams. As he grew older, he realized that many of those songs were his father's own.
"There was a time where I didn't know which was which. It was just all blended in as what I thought were great songs," he told NPR. "I heard these songs all my life and I know them backwards and forwards, and it was just time to finally get him to come and record these with a bunch of my friends down here in Nashville, or in some cases we went to him up in Kentucky in his living room."
Wayne Scott's album, 2005's "This Weary Way," features both original songs and covers, such as Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues."
Darrell Scott first hit the Nashville country scene as a songwriter for the likes of Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, Tim McGraw and other stars; in 2002, he won the ASCAP Songwriter of the Year award at the Country Music Awards. He thinks that his songwriting work for these major stars has come about mainly through the positive reception his own recordings have received—a new album, "The Invisible Man," came out in June.
"It seems the success I've had has come from the songs sort of bubbling up through their camp, someone in their camp loving the song and thinking it would be right for the artist or the artist, you know, loving the song," Scott told NPR. "It's by putting out my own records, and that seems to be where they're getting the songs."
Rather than rest on his laurels, Scott has taken advantage of his success to keep doing more of what he loves.
"I'm making money from the songs doing well, and rather than buying real estate or boats that I don't need or things like that that come to some people with success here in town, I'm throwing it back into music," Scott said on the program. "I'll do that until the money runs out, basically."