DARRELL SCOTT – Jaroso (Full Light Records 539588)

JarosoA member of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, Scott recorded this no PA live album with two mics, one for vocals and one for the instruments (guitar, banjo, 12 string) in a former Catholic adobe church in Jaroso, the last village in South Central Colorado on the New Mexico border with the United States.

It’s a mix of old and new, opening with ‘There’s A Stone Around My Belly’, his masterpiece from 2006 album The Invisible Man, followed by what I assume is the all new a capella outcast’s junkie lament ‘No One Needs Angel’. Reaching back to 1997’s Aloha From Nashville and picking up the guitar again, ‘Life Is Cheap’ recounts a single mother’s attempt to her life back on track after leaving her abuser drunk husband.

A campfire cowboy love song to the state, Merle Haggard’s ‘(Have You Ever Been Down To) Colorado’ is followed, staring out unaccompanied before the banjo kicks in, by ‘Fiddler Jones’, originally from the Memories And Moments collaboration with Tim O’Brien, and from there to another cover, this one being Hoyt Axton’s ‘Evangelina’.

Another from the back catalogue, the lazy rhythm ‘The Hummingbird’ dates to 1999’s Family Tree and is basically a love song memory of a favourite guitar, switching to banjo for Malcolm Holcombe’s ‘Who Carried You’ while, another from the O’Brien album, ‘On Life’s Other Side’ wears it Williams and Louvins old time religion affections openly.

Recently covered by Gretchen Peters, the penultimate track is Mickey Newbury’s magnificent ‘Saint Cecilia’, the album officially ending with a seven-minute extended rendition of ‘Colorado’ from 2010’s Crooked Road, the sound of crickets chirping after the applause followed by a fade in of the audience joining in on the chorus.

It comes with a bonus track, live, but presumably not from the same show, on which he’s joined by Buddy Miller, Patti Griffin and Plant for a glorious close harmony take on Hank’s ‘A Satisfied Mind’. I have to confess to not having been overly familiar with Scott prior to this, but if the studio albums are half as good then I’ve a big shopping list to catch up on.

Mike Davies

Artist’s website: www.darrellscott.com

‘Satisfied Mind’ – live: