Concert Review: Darrell Scott

It is hard to believe that Darrell Scott’s first solo performance in Pittsburgh was Tuesday night.  Mr. Scott was here with Robert Plant as part of the Band of Joy in January, and in October 2000 with Tim O’Brien; but never alone on stage.  There is a Pittsburgh connection however; his daughter Mahala is a student at Chatham University. I discovered Mr. Scott’s music a couple of years ago when he was one of the acts on a singer-songwriter cruise.  He is a gifted songwriter – his songs have been covered by the likes of The Dixie Chicks, Keb’ Mo’, Sam Bush, Faith Hill, Brad Paisley and Travis Tritt.  He is also a multi-instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, accordion, pedal, lap steel and banjo). All Mr. Scott needed for his “evening with” performance was one guitar and an octave mandolin.  He only used the mandolin once, to sing a song about the history of the banjo called Banjo Clark, which included a demonstration of his mastery of the mandolin. Mr. Scott does not work with a set list.  It’s based on how he feels that evening, the crowd, the city he is in.  He did honor one request You’ll Never Leave Harlon Alive.  From his 2010 double CD release A Crooked Road, he sang The Day Before Thanksgiving and A Father’s Song – for which he wrote the lyrics, but “borrowed” the music from one of his dad’s (the late Wayne Scott) songs.  Mr. Scott talked about living in East Gary, Indiana until 4th grade and how he never heard of a city changing its name (it’s now called Lake Station), so he wrote a song about it - East of Gary which he also related to Pittsburgh because of the steel mills.  We also joined in on the chorus to Mahala, as his daughter was in the audience. The 90 minutes (there was a one song encore) goes by very quickly when you’re watching a professional with a velvety voice singing his songs and playing his guitar so effortlessly.  Darrell Scott will be releasing a new CD on January 31, 2012.  I’m already expecting it to be on my best of CD list for 2012.