Darrell Scott

Darrell Scott

Justin Roth

Saturday, November 10

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

The Armory

$30.00 - $35.00

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Darrell Scott
Darrell Scott
“I look like an insider because of everything I‘ve done but I always felt like an outsider,” Darrell Scott says. “And that’s important—to be an outsider.”
He’s also a master. Witness his ability to make just about any instrument talk, listen to his vocals and songwriting to hear him contain every emotion between joy and pain within one verse in his singing and in his pen. Nowadays he’s taking the outsider role even more seriously; after 23 years in Nashville he spent the last year devoting himself to a self-sufficient lifestyle in the country while simultaneously putting together his best album in years.

Couchville Sessions is that album, and it continues Scott’s long tradition of tackling the profound issues—loneliness, the demise of relationships, mortality—without ever becoming maudlin. The record may explore darkness but there is always light. Scott can sing to us about addiction, breaking up, even dying without it ever becoming depressing. That’s due to his writing, his vocal delivery—often erotically charged here—and the careful choice of five covers that he calls tributes to some of the masters. Scott’s tenth studio album shows no sign of him losing steam. In fact, he seems to be on fire.

Born in Eastern Kentucky to restless Appalachians who moved him Out West, raised by a country-music-worshipping single father, he studied poetry with Philip Levine, a celebrator of the working class who would later become the nation’s Poet Laureate. Scott has lived the songs he sings: he’s worked hard, told defiant truths, and never turned down the chance to pursue love. Along the way he has created an oeuvre of albums beloved by his devoted fans and written songs that became hits for everyone from Dixie Chicks to Travis Tritt as well as being covered by more than 70 others while never shying away from critiquing the industry. The multi-talented Grammy nominee has also been a member of Robert Plant’s Band of Joy, won the AMA Song of the Year, named ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year and a host of other accolades.

Scott recorded the songs on The Couchville Sessions fifteen years ago and is only now releasing them not because they’re something inferior that he cast aside. On the contrary, he’s releasing this album because the songs were too good to remain silent. “I’m trying to catch up on records I’ve already recorded or what I have in my brain to do,” he says. “One of my problems is that I have more records than I have record releases.” He also held off on releasing the album until he could get a few extra touches he always wanted on these songs—a Guy Clark guest spot here, triple fiddles there, a Peter Rowan vocal here. “These songs have really stood the test of time,” he says. “They still move me.”

He’s not alone. This is perhaps his most emotionally-charged collection of songs and they’re anchored by the theme of acceptance, whether it’s a man appreciating the good parts of a relationship he wants out of in songs like “It’s Time To Go Away”, a lovely cover of James Taylor’s “Another Grey Morning” and “This is The Love Song” or a woman embracing the beauty of the fullest moon she’s ever seen while her relationship unravels on a car-ride home from the Laundromat on “Waiting for the Clothes to Get Clean.” There’s the acceptance of mortality in a tune like “Another Day to Live and Die” and a narrator succumbing completely to his addiction in Hank Williams’ “Ramblin’ Man”. There’s well-crafted fun with Townes Van Zandt’s , “Loretta”, and the sexy proposition of “Come Into This Room”. Scott continues his tradition of challenging the music industry with critiques like the epic album opener “Down to the River” and a look at mainstream radio called “Morning Man”. Every one of the fourteen tracks are packed with that hardcore emotion and it is all delivered with mesmerizing vocals and some of the best picking you’re liable to find on any other album this year. There’s plenty of rocking-out, too, especially on covers of Johnny Cash’s “Big River” and Peter Rowan’s “Midnight Moonlight,” an instrumental highlight of the record.

While the covers on the album pay homage to some of music’s best-known masters, Scott says that it’s also a gathering of master musicians, or, as he calls them: “monsters.” The five member band includes Scott along with steel guitar virtuoso Dan Dugmore; Kenny Malone, offering his unparalleled percussion; one of England’s most acclaimed musicians, Danny Thompson, playing his famous double bass; and Bill Payne (Little Feat, Bob Seger) on piano and organ. “These guys are in their 70s and they’re kicking ass,” Scott says. “When you’re working with musicians like this, you can be as live and as unmessed with as you want because they can do it, they have no fear, they can play anything.” There are also guest musicians such as Shad Cobb, guest vocals by folks like John Cowan and Peter Rowan, as well as a treasure of a spoken monologue by the great Guy Clark.

Except for a small addition here and there—stirring background vocals by Andrea Zonn and Jason Eskridge, for example—the entire record was recorded live in Scott’s living room out on Couchville Pike, the road that gives the album its name. Now Scott is living on the Cumberland Plateau between Knoxville and Nashville with forty solar panels where he cans vegetables he raises in his garden, and was able to edit this album on his woodstove during the summer when it wasn’t being used to heat his cabin. The new locale is working for him, he says. “Not being in Nashville means I don’t have to have Nashville concerns around me. And it means that I care less than I ever did about what’s going on in the industry. I like that.”

Scott’s honesty and defiance have always fueled his best work, and that’s certainly true of The Couchville Sessions, an album that finds its creator at the height of his songwriting, vocal, instrumental, and producing powers. Scott has made a record with master musicians and has identified some of his favorite masters to pay homage to in expert covers. What the listener of The Couchville Sessions knows is that undoubtedly Scott is a master, too.
Justin Roth
Justin Roth
“Now you know—Justin Roth has come into his own.” – John Gorka, Red House Recording Artist

Justin Roth picked up the electric guitar in ninth grade with a dream of playing in a rock band. Two years later, he had his proverbial ‘Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show’ moment: having gone to a Crosby, Stills, and Nash concert, when he saw innovative guitarist Michael Hedges open.

“It was Hedges’ music that truly spoke to me,” Justin says. “I was enthralled by his expressive playing and inventive compositions. He redefined my entire view of how the instrument could be played and I was immediately hooked. Seeing that the guitar was capable of so much more than I had ever experienced before, from that moment on, I knew it would be the root of my musical world.”

“Fans of Leo Kottke or Michael Hedges will find themselves right at home with [Roth’s] intricate guitar work…beautifully written lyrics.” – San Francisco Art Magazine

Justin began experimenting with alternate tunings and exploring the two-handed tapping technique he learned from watching Hedges and acclaimed fingerstyle guitarist/composer Billy McLaughlin. From there, Justin added more layers to his playing using partial capos to create an even wider range of textures and voicings to his compositions and live performances.

“Nostalgic, passionate…mastery of the acoustic guitar…this guy has some serious chops!” – Scene Magazine, Fort Collins, CO

Justin began honing his craft as a writer, marrying his accomplished guitar playing with his already strong vocals. By the end of his senior year of college, he had already recorded his first album, aptly titled Up Until Now. However, not really intending to pursue a performing career, he majored in music business and planned to seek a music industry job. But following graduation in 1997, he was encouraged by a friend to attend the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Song School in Colorado.

It was here that Roth caught his first glimpse of what lie ahead. “Keeping company with other musicians, swapping songs around late-night campfires, and hearing stories from other touring artists, I realized that being a touring musician was what I really wanted to do,” Justin muses. An epic moment in his life, it would later inspire the title track of his 2003 release Shine. Since then, Roth has attended the Song School every year since 1997 and became part of the staff in 2002 teaching guitar workshops on altered tunings, partial capos, and other techniques.

“Superb guitar player, singer, songwriter well worth seeking out…exquisite, emotional and powerful…4 of 5 stars!” – Maverick Magazine (UK)

Building from the ground up playing the coffeehouse circuit around his Minneapolis/St. Paul home, Roth gradually began widening his touring radius around the Midwest. He received a more in-depth education of ‘life on the road’ while touring as road manager for Billy McLaughlin from 1997-2000. “Logging thousands of miles behind the wheel with Billy, I got my first true glimpse of what it was like touring the country. I saw the good and the bad…but the hook was set.”

In 2000, Roth released his second solo album in between and contributed four original compositions to the solo guitar compilation Lifescapes – Solo Guitar, produced by Billy McLaughlin. Sold exclusively in Target stores, the album went on to sell 70,000 copies nationwide. Later that same year, he recorded a live duo album with Chris Cunningham (of Storyhill) called 2 Forms of ID. In 2003, he released Shine, which involved an all-star cast of backing musicians and was mixed by award winning producer, Ben Wisch.

Justin has continued to woo, wow, and win audiences across the country, performing at such renowned venues as the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, the Ark in Ann Arbor, and Saint Paul’s historic Fitzgerald Theater, home to Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion. He has toured with Red House recording artist John Gorka and has shared the stage with some of the biggest acts in the acoustic music scene, including Shawn Colvin, Martin Sexton, Lucy Kaplansky, David Wilcox, Darrell Scott, Susan Werner, Willy Porter, Ellis Paul and Richard Shindell. Equally, his guitar playing has earned him shared stages with some of the greatest fingerstyle players of today, such as Andy McKee, California Guitar Trio and Pat Donohue.

“Justin Roth was a smash when he opened at The Ark for John Gorka, selling out a big stack of CDs and nearly stealing the show.” – The Ark, Ann Arbor, MI

A dynamic live entertainer, Roth is known for his stage presence and spontaneous delivery — often composing songs during his shows with the help of his audience. Gaining recognition as a songwriter as well as performer, Justin has won numerous songwriting awards. He has twice been a New Folk Finalist at the Kerrville Folk Festival (TX) and has won the Indie Acoustic Project’s award for Best Song of 2005 for his song ‘Shine.’

When he decided to take time off the road to write and record his fourth solo album, Now You Know (released 5/17/11), Justin ended up relying on his fans again to help make it all possible. The entire project was fan-funded by pre-orders. “My fans lifted me up and continued to give me my chance to keep doing what I love for a living.” Roth recorded, produced, played and sang every note entirely by himself in his home studio. Having no ‘studio clock’ to worry about, he took advantage of the freedom to experiment like never before.

Now You Know is Roth’s most expansive and personal work to date, delivered with the intimacy of a home recording. The textured arrangements and layered vocals (ala Bon Iver) are hung tastefully around his alternately tuned and fingerpicked guitar. Roth reveals and sculpts an expansive yet simple sonic palette, once alive only inside his head, without ever becoming over-produced. Bridging both contemporary and indie/alt folk, Now You Know paints pictures and tells stories of loss, hope, and redemption. A journey…to be continued. Now you know.

“An album of depth and quality, excellent guitar playing…lyrics are a strong point…it’s the first time I’ve ever heard of Justin Roth, and on the strength of this great album, I certainly don’t think it will be the last.” – WhisperinandHollerin, Ireland

“…an incredible blend of excellent songwriting and sharp, intricate guitar work. You’ll want to listen to it again and again and again…” – Hunter At Sunrise, WHRV, Virginia Beach, VA

“…intimate, personal and richly melodic…eloquent fingerstyle chops. From the atmospheric beauty of the title track to the instrumental gem “Spaghetti Junction,” Roth delivers a lucid record that reveals an artist who’s taken his craft to the next level.” – Taylor Guitar’s Wood & Steel Magazine
Venue Information:
The Armory
314 E. Mountain Ave
Fort Collins, CO, 80524