Darrell Scott,
Theatre of the Unheard
(Full Light, 2003)

Sometimes it is the second time that is the charm. The songs on Theatre of the Unheard were almost released over a decade ago. They weren't. But Darrell Scott re-recorded them and now we get to listen to them. The songs are a potent mix of melancholy and memories. And I want more.

Scott plays a variety of different guitars and a few other instruments. Some of the musicians who help out on this CD are Danny Thompson (double bass and acoustic bass), Kenny Malone (drums, tambourine, percussion, spoken word and the beast), Steve Nathan (organ) and Dan Dugmore (pedal steel, electric guitar, lap steel, electric rhythm guitar and solos). The music that they create with the others not listed above adds texture to all of the songs on the CD.

The first song is "East of Gary," which has a strong autobiographical feel and is about growing up and the way things change. The music keeps rolling down memory lane with "Uncle Lloyd." Scott blends spoken parts smoothly into "Day After Day" -- there is a sadness in the music that echoes the lyrics. He also starts "6 O'Clock in the Morning" with a few spoken parts. The song itself is sparse and bleak.

The first notes of "Miracle of Living" give it a kick that picks you up and the song keeps you there. "Full Light" is not your usual love song, the music driving the words home. There is a nice funky touch in "I Wanna Be Free," a young girl's story. The last notes of "River Take Me" take you away from the desperation of the lyrics.

"Alton Air" is so smooth it lets everything wash away and the music is good. You are eased into "The Man Who Could Have Played Bass for Shanana," with its tale of opportunities missed. You are shown a series of snapshots that tie together in "After All." The music is tinged with loneliness in "10.000 Miles Away," and it leaves you far from home.

Darrell Scott's Theatre of the Unheard is a wonder to listen to. The songs are powerful, the words showing the physical and the emotional.

- Rambles
written by Paul de Bruijn
published 15 May 2004

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