For his latest album, acclaimed songwriter Darrell Scott recruited his friends to record together in his home, never far from the kitchen.
The result, “Couchville Sessions,” sounds intimate and casual, like you’re sitting in on a jam session with Nashville’s best.
“The musicians happen to be some of the best on the planet,” Scott said. “We’re doing it in a very casual way, but the music is not casual. It is very focused and intense.”
Scott will play in another intimate setting at the Red Dragon Listening Room on Wednesday. Louisiana native Yvette Landry opens the show.
Recorded 14 years ago, “Couchville Sessions” was released earlier this year after Scott finally found the time to finish the album. It features songs about men and women breaking up or getting together and a man coming to grips with his mortality.
The song “Waiting for the Clothes to Get Clean” documents an unhappy couple in a normal, mundane task — cleaning clothes at the laundromat.
“She’s waiting by the window so he can help her fold,” Scott sings. “He crushes out his cigarette and steps in from the cold. They’re folding clothes in silence as if there’s nothing wrong.”
“We all have familiarity with that,” he said. “It’s amazing how much misery we can take and still call ourselves being in a relationship. It’s a character study of people who aren’t doing too well together, but together they are.”
Scott is known for writing songs that document real life. In “It’s a Great Day to be Alive,” which Travis Tritt took to No. 2 on the country charts, Scott wrote from the point of view of a man who’s happy without great riches.
“I got rice cooking in the microwave, I got a three-day beard I don’t plan to shave,” he sings. “It’s a goofy thing but I just gotta say, hey, I’m doing alright.”
Another often-covered song, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” tells a story from his family in Kentucky. Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless recorded versions of the haunting tune.
While these beloved songs became hits for Nashville recording artists, Scott doesn’t build his career on royalty checks from tunes getting radio airplay.
“I’m off doing my own thing,” Scott said. “The catch is I always was.”
He writes songs in the tradition of Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and the recently passed Guy Clark and Merle Haggard.
Scott’s songs are filled with truth, with stories of real people’s struggle. His songs don’t have anything to do with modern, popular country music.
“It almost sounds like it was written by someone who has never been to the country, yet we’re listening to them like we think they have,” he said. “There is something inauthentic about it. It doesn’t feel like they’re telling the truth.”