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Singer Darrell Scott Reflects On His Father's Death.

Country singer-songwriter Darrell Scott grew up performing with his father, Wayne. Last month, Darrell was in Texas in between gigs when he learned that his father had died in a car accident. Here, he reflects on his father's life and death, and reads a poem he wrote about his dad.


Other segments from the episode on December 23, 2011

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, December 23, 2011: Obituary for Wayne Scott; Concert by Rebecca Kilgore.



This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli of, sitting in for Terry Gross. When Darrell Scott became successful enough with his own country music career to start his own record label, the first thing he did was pay tribute to his father, Wayne Scott. He produced an album of his father singing mostly his own songs, the songs that Darrell heard his father sing when he was growing up.

A few weeks ago, we learned some sad news, that Wayne had been killed in a car crash near his home in Corbin, Kentucky. He was 77. The email conveying the news included a poem written by Darrell about his father's death. Darrell will join us in the second half of today's show to read that poem and talk about his father.

But we'll start by listening back to an interview and performance Darrell and Wayne recorded with Terry Gross in 2006. Darrell Scott first made his mark in Nashville as a songwriter. His songs have been recorded by Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt, Tim McGraw, Patty Loveless and Sara Evans. At the 2002 Country Music Awards, he won an ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Award.

His own albums are more alternative country. His father Wayne spent most of his life making a living in the steel mills and installing chain-link fences. Let's start with a track from the album Darrell produced of his father Wayne singing. It's a song Wayne wrote called "It's The Whiskey That Eases the Pain."


WAYNE SCOTT: (Singing) It ain't love, it ain't money that makes this world turn around. When you hit rock bottom you still may not be on the ground. Let me tell you something in case you're walking with a cane. It ain't love, it ain't money, it's the whiskey that eases the pain.

(Singing) Eve told Adam that she had apples for sale. He bought the first one, I bought the last one, went to hell. If you're needing a crutch don't try to walk with a cane. It ain't love, it ain't money, it's the whiskey that eases the pain.

(Singing) It ain't love, it ain't money that makes this world turn around...


Darrell Scott, Wayne Scott, welcome both of you to FRESH AIR, pleasure to have you here. Darrell, when you started your record company, the first album you released was by your father. Now, you know, you're pretty well-known in the world of country music. So why did you want your first record to be your father's music?

DARRELL SCOTT: Well, I just thought his music is important. I know I am his son and all that, and there's that going for it, but I really feel that his music is important just because it's so pure and true, especially to the form of really country music or mountain kind of music.

I heard these songs all my life, and I know them backwards and forwards, and it was just time to finally get him to come and record these, you know, with a bunch of my friends down here in Nashville, or in some cases we went to him up in Kentucky, in his living room, and I just thought it was time.

GROSS: You've said that you used to think that all the songs you sang were by Hank Williams and Johnny Cash and other venerated songwriters. When did you realize a lot of those songs were his own?

SCOTT: Well, yeah, they kind of blended together because around the house he would do all of that. He'd do Johnny Cash and Hank and Merle Haggard and all that, and his own, and there as a time when I didn't know which was which. They all just blended in as what I thought were great songs. I'd say probably somewhere in my mid to late teens I started catching on that, OK, that's the Hank stuff, and there's the Johnny Cash stuff, and really starting to see his songs, which were his. And actually, it took - there was one song, which is the title of the record, "This Weary Way," I didn't know that that was not a Hank Williams song until my late 20s. It just seemed so perfectly Hank in terms of style, in terms of structure, and that may be, from my opinion, my dad's best song.

So that's one that took me an extra 10 years to figure out that it wasn't Hank's.

GROSS: Wayne Scott, why didn't you make it more clear to your sons that you were writing songs?

SCOTT: I decided to try to be a singer instead of a writer. I tried singing my songs once, and I didn't like the cold feet and cold shoulder I got singing them.

SCOTT: And he's talking about a club. I mean, we used to play clubs like when I was a teenager. So he's talking about a night playing in a bar, you know, where they come to dance and drink and play five sets a night as far as the band is concerned. He did his songs one night.

And, you know, of course they wouldn't know the songs and wondering why he's not doing, you know, the top 10 of the country music at that time. So I think that was his brush with trying out new - you know, his material out in public.

GROSS: Did you give up after one shot at it?

SCOTT: Yeah, I never done it again.


SCOTT: Now that's all I'm do and it's great. I'm glad that he talked me into doing it, and I'm - it's a new experience to me, and people actually listen to me too.

GROSS: Well, you've very generously offered to perform a duet for us. So I'd like to ask you to do a song that, Wayne Scott, you do on your CD. And it's called "Sunday with my Son," and it's song that you wrote - let me ask you to tell us what you're talking about in the song. It seems to be a song that directly comes out of your life.

SCOTT: Every word of it's the truth. That's the only way I can write. I don't have inspiration. I don't have no education, not that it's a gripe. I chose it. But my son was the youngest one, I hadn't seen him in a long time, and I had him one Sunday afternoon for three hours, and we chose - I just love nature. So we went out into the woods to gather leaves and pinecones and things like that.

And it was so beautiful, the song started going. And I had to keep turning my back to him to not let him see the old man crying, and I come up with that song. So by the next morning I had all of it, and it said exactly what I wanted it to say, and this is it.


SCOTT: Do you want to hear it now?

GROSS: I absolutely want to hear it now, yeah.



SCOTT: (Singing) As I look back on some bitter years, some things don't mean a thing, like chasing women, writing songs, riding trucks and old freight trains. When I reach back for happy thoughts of things that I have done, one thing that I remember most is a Sunday with my son.

(Singing) From the mouths of little children comes truth and honesty, and this I kept remembering as we gathered autumn leaves. When memory feeds upon past the things that I have done, one thing that I remember most is a Sunday with my son.

(Singing) I'd fill his heart with happiness the way that he fills mine, but you just can't make up 10 lost years in just three hours' time. Reflections call for happy thoughts, when it does, well, I've got one: One thing that I remember most is a Sunday with my son. From the mouths of little children comes truth and honesty, and this I kept remembering as we gathered autumn leaves. When memory feeds upon past the things that I have done, one thing that I remember most is a Sunday with my son. When memory feeds upon past the things that I have done, one thing that I remember most is a Sunday with my son. Sunday with my son, Sunday with my son.

GROSS: Oh, thank you for doing that. That's Wayne Scott singing and playing guitar and his son Darrell Scott accompanying him on banjo. And Darrell, thank you for bringing your father to our attention.


SCOTT: Absolutely, that's truly my pleasure.

GROSS: By recording him and pushing him forward like that.

SCOTT: It's truly my pleasure.

GROSS: So Darrell, you are - you have actually been able to make your career in music, both as a performer and as a songwriter. I mean, as a songwriter you've had several hits in - on the top of the Billboard country chart. Did watching your father when you were growing up, watching him perform but making a living all kinds of other ways, from working in the steel mill, I think, and...

SCOTT: Steel mills and fence construction.

GROSS: Fence construction, yeah.

SCOTT: Delivering oil and all sorts of things.

GROSS: And moving around the country. So watching him do that and just kind of playing on the side, did you think, well, me, I want to really play professionally and really make my life playing?

SCOTT: Yeah, I think I kind of knew that even as a kid. It just was - I wouldn't say easy for me, but it came naturally. It was like a natural thing for me to gravitate toward and - to play. Because I grew up in a family band. My dad, of course, played and sang and wrote, and I had older brothers who played and younger brothers.

You know, it was just the kind of - what you would do as a family, have some (unintelligible) camping or fishing or into baseball or whatever. And our thing really was to play music. And so I was kind of, you know, online for that really from the age of six, I started playing. And you know, because our family business was fence construction, which is really hard labor, out in the sun kind of thing.

I also learned, you know, at about 11 or 12 that it was better for me to stay home, and while the others were working, you know, someone needed to answer the phone and cook. We were a bunch of bachelors, basically. My brothers and I lived with my dad. And so I was the cook.

And so I found a way to get out of hard labor, actually, pretty early.


SCOTT: And I just kind of kept that up. I'm still not into hard labor.

GROSS: Wayne Scott, when your sons were born, did you look at them one by one and think this is going to be my band?



SCOTT: He absolutely did.

SCOTT: They're all D's.

GROSS: Yeah, all your sons, their names all start with the letter D. Why is that?

SCOTT: Yeah, that was for that reason, and they're...

GROSS: What, so you could start a band with them?

SCOTT: Yeah, and their introduction to music was when they come home, I laid them in the bed and stood over them and played Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, played with them about an hour or so. So you wouldn't wake up when you heard me singing at 2:00 in the morning (unintelligible)...


SCOTT: We were used to it.

GROSS: Oh, that's funny.

SCOTT: Oh, they can sleep right through country music, or they can play it. Darrell, you knew he was a musician I'd say at three, and well, all the boys are professional, but Darrell's the best. I mean, he - if it has strings on it, he can play it, and at three years old it was vivid that he wouldn't be no fence-builder.

GROSS: So how did having sons whose names each started with the letter D help you in playing music or creating a band? I mean, I don't get that part.

SCOTT: I was going to name them the Two D's, the three D's, the four D's or however many D's as it took, is all gonna be D's, you know.

SCOTT: So Wayne Scott and the Four D's, the Five D's, yeah.

SCOTT: That's the way it came. And honestly, that was the reason. I was determined they'd be musicians.

BIANCULLI: Wayne and Darrell Scott, visiting with Terry Gross in 2006. More after a break. This is FRESH AIR.


BIANCULLI: Let's get back to Terry's 2006 interview with country singer-songwriter Darrell Scott and his father Wayne Scott, who died a few weeks ago in a car crash at age 77.

GROSS: Darrell, where was your mother when you were growing up?

SCOTT: Well, we started off in Northern Indiana, that was the steel mill areas, and she - we all lived together then, and I guess when I was about eight years old, they divorced and then oddly enough remarried about two years later.


SCOTT: And so we all moved to California at that point, and then they divorced again. And so she was in the area. We'd see her often, but she just wasn't living with us.

GROSS: Wayne Scott, did you know any other fathers of five who were basically raising their children as single fathers?

SCOTT: No, not in those days. When I went to California I started meeting some. There was quite a few mamas that ran away out there. Instead of the guy, it was the girl who'd do it just the same. But back here, I was the only one. The hardest part of it was learning to be the mom, but I really enjoyed the cooking and the cleaning and helping direct their music.

They were just great, beautiful kids. They weren't the troublemakers that I knew that, you know, some of my buddies had. They were really good, never arrest, never a school problem, no, it was just about perfect, you know. And besides that, they played music.


GROSS: Sounds good. Darrell, I know when you first moved to Nashville, you moved into your father's house, and Wayne Scott, where were you living if Darrell moved into your house?

SCOTT: Oh, I went back to Kentucky. And I didn't know that I was a forerunner of him, but he needed the house, and I needed to sell it, and I don't belong in Nashville. Yeah, I like it, you know, up there in the hills and my four-wheeler and those kinds of things, so...

GROSS: You grew up in Kentucky.

SCOTT: Oh yeah.

GROSS: Did your parents work on a tobacco farm?

SCOTT: Yeah.

GROSS: You left home when you were, what, 15 or 16? Why did you leave? What did you want to get away from?

SCOTT: Dad worked us six days a week, most people did because it was poor, I mean poverty. And I belonged to mom on Sunday, and she was great in church. So that gave me seven days a week, you know, and that was what I went away with. I didn't leave in anger or none of that. It was time to spread my wings. I mean, I had to go, and I'm glad they allowed me.

And I took one look in the coal mine, and I swore if I ever did coal, it's not going to be on this Earth. I'll go anywhere. I won't...

GROSS: Did you have family who worked in the mines, in the coal mines?

SCOTT: They all did, grandparents and all, and so if you live in East Kentucky, or you did in my day, and didn't want to dig coal, you went north, or you went west. So I went west and California was paradise to me. I stayed 22 years there, so...

GROSS: So building fences in California seemed like paradise compared to the coal mines.

SCOTT: Lord yeah. I wouldn't dig coal. I wouldn't.

GROSS: You know, you - Darrell Scott, you put out your father Wayne Scott's first and only album last year, when you started your record company. And Wayne Scott, has that affected your life a lot? Did you get a lot of performances after that? Like what are some of the ripple effects it's had?

SCOTT: I told him at the beginning I don't want to leave this mountain range, you know? Anything you can get me, anywhere in the Appalachian Range or this area, I would do them, and the greatest thing I've ever done, he had me do MerleFest in North Carolina. Out of everything I ever did in music, that took the cake for me. That was great.

But you know, to go anywhere else, I'm not even into that. I'm too old. I'm too tired. I'd rather be home and...

SCOTT: I know a ripple effect - it's - that he's told me a lot about, is hearing his records on the radio in his area, right?

SCOTT: Oh yeah. That's something, to hear your son, then as the years go by, here's me the same way, you know? That's - cotton don't grow like that in my holler, you know?

GROSS: Well, I want to thank you both so much for talking with us. Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you.

SCOTT: Thank you, Terry.

BIANCULLI: Country artist Darrell Scott and his father Wayne, speaking to Terry Gross in 2006. When we return, we'll hear an interview Terry recorded last week with Darrell Scott, who will talk about his father's death and life. And we'll close out this half of the show by listening to a song Darrell Scott produced of his father Wayne singing. It's the title track of his dad's album "This Weary Way." I'm David Bianculli, and this is FRESH AIR.


BIANCULLI: This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross. We're remembering Wayne Scott, father of country musician Darrell Scott. Wayne made a living in car factories, steel mills, and later by installing chain-link fences. He played music on the side and wrote country music songs all his life. His five boys grew up hearing him sing those songs, but Wayne rarely sang them in public.

When Darrell Scott became successful enough as a performer and songwriter, writing hits for Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, Travis Tritt and others, he started his own record label. The first record he put out was "This Weary Way," an album of his father singing mostly his own songs. That was about six years ago, when his dad was 71. Wayne Scott died in a car crash last month near his home in Corbin, Kentucky. He was 77 years old.

We invited his son Darrell to talk about his father and to read a poem he wrote about his father's death. Terry spoke with Darrell Scott last week.

GROSS: Darrell Scott, thank you for coming back to FRESH AIR. And I just want to say how sorry I am about your father.

SCOTT: Thank you, Terry. Thank you very much. And it's good to be back talking with you and about my dad.

GROSS: Yeah. So, you know, when I read the poem that you wrote about him, I really wanted you to read it on our show.

SCOTT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: So let me start by asking you to read it for us.

SCOTT: Yes. OK. "This Morning." My father died this morning. Car accident. His first. His last. Helicoptered to trauma center. His end begun and ended all in four hours. Eyewitnesses say he ran a red light in front of a semi, impact, and the car drove half a mile before resting inside a Wendy's on 25 E, Corbin, Knox County, Kentucky, March 2nd, 1934 to this morning, this morning, November 18, 2011. I feel certain he was listening to music.

GROSS: That's Darrell Scott reading his poem about the death of his father, Wayne Scott. Did you write it the day of his death? Why was your impulse to write something?

SCOTT: Yeah. I did. I got notice. I was - I played Austin, Texas the night before and was to play Dallas that night. And at first I didn't know what to do, just shock. And my first instinct, very Dad-like to tell you the truth, was to go do my work, you know, do my gig in Dallas. And then after, you know, 30 minutes and talking to my girlfriend and talking to my daughter, I realized they kind of knew more about what to do then I did, which was to go home. So I got a flight from Austin, you know, that very day, and so I wrote the poem on the plane from Austin to Nashville as we were on our way to Kentucky.

GROSS: Has it been hard to make peace with the fact that your father apparently ran a red light when he was hit by the semi?

SCOTT: Yeah. Well, it's just ironic. He was the most careful driver I have ever even heard about. Speed, turns, turn signals, he was just a model for that. And it was important to go to the crash site. So among other things, we were kind of handling that very next day and that weekend me and a brother and a nephew and my children in Kentucky. We went to the crash site just to kind of peace this thing together, like literally see, OK, is this where he was, you know, turning red on a - or turning right on a red and where would the semi would have been coming from, where the skid marks - all of that we retraced just trying to kind of I guess have something more real than that he was just dead or something and to try to understand what happened.

GROSS: Did it help you understand it?

SCOTT: I think he turned right on a red and it's an odd intersection. It just really, it really is, and they have a lot of accidents at that intersection, we found out. And yeah, it did help, to tell you the truth much like seeing the body, and I - I didn't want to see the body, but I had a brother who was with me who it was very important to see the body. And if he went in to see the body well, I'm right behind him. And it may sound really crazy or silly, but on some level I didn't think that he could die. I mean of course I know we're all going to die but there was something so larger than life about him, especially as a kid, that I just didn't think he could die. And so to see him in rest, it was really important, much like seeing the crash site and the crash car and all that. All that was really, really important.

GROSS: Did you have to decide what to dress them in?

SCOTT: No. They showed us him almost as a favor. I don't know what the technicality in the, you know, mortuary world is, but he was to be cremated and they just let us see him before the cremation.

GROSS: Had your father asked to be cremated?

SCOTT: Yeah. As a matter of fact, he, you know, as sort of a poor and, you know, to the bone in money that my dad was, he had actually, you know, purchased this in the past year or so - maybe even a year and a half ago or so - and I purchased the, you know, the cremation package and that was all just taken care of and he had literally nailed the instructions....


SCOTT: ...of his funeral or his ending of, you know, cremation and - to the wall in his cabin in Kentucky. So I mean it was real clear what he wanted to have happen.

GROSS: Well, that must have put your mind at rest, to know what he wanted and that you could just follow through on that.

SCOTT: Absolutely. It was it made it, you know, easy to follow, for one thing. But also just seemed perfectly Dad to - he even pick out his songs. On that same sheet of paper that was nailed to the wall was the five songs that he wanted played, what songs...

GROSS: The playlist for his memorial or for his funeral?

SCOTT: Yeah, he had it. He had it.

GROSS: What were the songs?

SCOTT: Well, let's see. It started with Ray Charles and Willie Nelson's "Seven Spanish Angels," went into "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," Hank Williams. And then a song that I wrote with John Anderson called "World of Wonder." And then a song that he wrote - my dad wrote - that Tim O'Brien, a good friend of mine had recorded of Dad's, called "Sinner." And then it ended with a fairly contemporary country song called "Long Black Train." And that was his playlist.

GROSS: And that's what you all played?

SCOTT: We did, in the order that, you know, that he wished it to be. And again, you know, we followed that to the letter. But I'll tell you the most striking part of the whole time was his ashes before the sort of gathering for everybody, you know, at two o'clock in Pineville, Kentucky. I had called, you know, you know, the immediate family. You know, just maybe 20 of us to go to the hillside at his place where we knew that he wanted his ashes, you know, spread or put. And only one of us, and oddly enough it wasn't a brother or wife or anything like that, it was a friend from California who said, well, your dad told me he knew where he wanted, you know, that he had already dug the hole for the ashes. And we said we can't, we can't believe that.

So we go up on the hill with the ashes - just the, you know, the small core of us, and there was a rock, a pretty good size rock out of place to the side of the mountain. And we said that let's check there first, and sure enough that was the rock and underneath it was the cleanest 3-foot postal digger sized hole and we knew there he was - that's - he'd even prepared it to that degree. And...

GROSS: That was on his land?

On his land. Yeah. And this land is called, the name of the road is Scott Holler. I mean, well, the Scotts have been there for the last easily 100 years. He was born in that holler and, you know, all of his, you know, 12 brothers and sisters were born in that holler and that's where my dad ended up. You know, the last 20 years of his life was right there and he had the whole dog; he added all figured out.

Was anyone else in his car?

SCOTT: Yeah. His wife Linda was a passenger. And, you know, thankfully she was able to walk out of the crash and had just very minor, you know, more bruise and whiplash kind of things while he was helicoptered to Knoxville to I guess the nearest trauma center. And so she's there right now at Scott Holler. And a really good note on sort of what has happened is her two boys, one from New York State and one from Tennessee, and their families have come to be with her and live with her and help her and live with her there in Scott Holler in Kentucky. So that really turned out as well as anyone could hope for that under these circumstances.

GROSS: How much was she able to tell you about what happened?

SCOTT: Absolutely nothing. She has Alzheimer's and I'm not sure...


SCOTT: ...where she is in it. But she couldn't recall, you know, the accident. She knew there was an accident 'cause I guess all of us had talked about it and - while she was in the hospital in Corbin. But, you know, she is at that place where she almost thinks that she says that Wayne is, you know, over at my house or something like that. She kind of drifts in and out of even understanding that he's not around. And then you'll see in her face at some point of talking about it again that she does get it for a moment, and then it kind of goes away.

GROSS: Sorry.

BIANCULLI: We're listening to an interview Terry Gross recorded with singer-songwriter Darrell Scott about his father Wayne Scott, who was killed in a car crash last month near his home in Kentucky. We'll hear more after a break. This is FRESH AIR.


BIANCULLI: We're remembering Wayne Scott, the father of country musician and songwriter Darrell Scott. Wayne Scott died in a car crash last month near his home in Corbin, Kentucky. He was 77 years old.

GROSS: You know, many people have plans to do something special for their father or mother that they never actually get around to doing. One of the special things you did for your father was to record and release his first album.

SCOTT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: And on your forthcoming album he co-wrote two of the songs and sings on one of the tracks.

SCOTT: Mm-hmm. Yes.

GROSS: I hope that gives you some comfort to know that you did that for him.

SCOTT: Oh, absolutely. It really does. Well, he was my father, obviously, and that can be a sense of, you know, just doing it for the old man kind of approach. And to tell you the truth, if that's all it was, I'm fine with that too. I have no problems with that. But I just have to say as a songwriter and artist and musician on my own, he just had an authenticity and I knew that, you know, as his son, but also as another songwriter and musician. Like man, this guy really tells it like it is. He's authentic. He doesn't even know how to begin to be commercial or promotional or anything like that.

You know, on my first record I had a song of his on my record. And then I did record, I actually recorded two albums of my dad. One hasn't been released yet and I wish I could've had the second one out in his lifetime but now that he's passed it's on the top of my list. So I've included him in my world again just because I mean he's the real deal and I - he's also my father but he was also, he's also the real deal as a singer and artist, especially of country music.

GROSS: Yeah. Yeah. How did it change your father's life to have that album released? Because we spoke just as it was released.

SCOTT: Yeah.

GROSS: You know, I never knew what, what impact did that album actually have?

SCOTT: You know, it was funny. He would, he did fight me, so to speak, about even recording it, like, you know, I'm an old man, I'm washed up. I don't do this stuff. Why do you want to record a record? And I always told him because we have to document this. We just simply have to have you recording these before we don't have that option anymore. So he would sort of fight me and then he'd get in on the session, you know, and I'd do it always in a kind of a very – a way that I knew would work for him.

Which is basically set up microphones around the living room or kitchen and bring in, you know, some of the world's greatest players who would get my dad like Guy Clark, like Tim O'Brien and Dirk Powell and Danny Thompson from London, England. And then my dad would absolutely have, you know, a ball sitting there singing with Guy Clark. It was – who was one of his heroes.

He loved hearing himself on the radio. There was a radio station up in Kentucky that played his kind of music and he would get to hear himself. One of the things that he would always do, and that crash is an example, is he would get up every morning crazy early – 4:00, 5:00 in the morning – and just drive around the mountains.

And I know he would hear himself on the radio and I know that had to be a big thing for him, to have heard himself on radio riding around those Kentucky hills.

GROSS: Well, I want to close with a song that he co-wrote with you I think when you were 16.

SCOTT: Yeah. Yeah.

GROSS: That's on your forthcoming album. The album is called "Long Way Home."

SCOTT: Mm-hmm.

GROSS: So what's the story behind writing this song?

SCOTT: Yeah.

GROSS: It's called "The Country Boy."

SCOTT: "The Country Boy" and what was really interesting is as a 16-year-old I had a relationship with my dad that had us working on songs together. So one weekend, and this was while we were living in California, my dad rented a cabin up in Big Bear Lake up in the San Bernardino Mountains. And just the two of us went up there with the sole purpose of writing songs. And so I'm 16 and he was, I guess, 41 at the time.

And, sure enough, we got up there and I had a song started that's also on this new record and he helped me finish it. And then he had a song called "The Country Boy" that he had started and I helped him finish it. And when we came back, you know, Sunday night or whatever it was, you know, we had these two songs.

And it's funny; I'm not 16 anymore – I'm, you know, 52 – it's taken me this long to record those songs. But that's the thing about this new album is it's very, very old country. It's very country music like my dad knew and like my mom knew.

GROSS: Well, your father sounds so good on this.

SCOTT: He really does, doesn't he?

GROSS: Yeah.

SCOTT: Yeah.

GROSS: So let's hear that. And I just want to say again how sorry I am and how glad I am that you were able to record him and I look forward to another album of his that you'll be releasing. I'm glad I found that out.

SCOTT: Absolutely. Mm-hmm.

GROSS: And, you know, you gave something special to the rest of us.

SCOTT: Yeah.

GROSS: By making sure that he was recorded. So thank you for that.

SCOTT: Yeah. Thank you. It's a pleasure of mine to have done that and that we even have more music to come.

GROSS: Yeah. So I appreciate talking with you again. Sorry it was for this occasion. And thank you very much.

SCOTT: Thanks, Terry.

GROSS: Okay. Be well.

SCOTT: Mm-hmm.

BIANCULLI: Terry Gross spoke with Darrell Scott last week about his father Wayne Scott who died last month at the age of 77. Darrell Scott's new CD, "Long Ride Home," features two songs he wrote with his father Wayne. Here's Darrell and Wayne Scott singing one of them, "The Country Boy."


SCOTT: (Singing) If you ever have a nickel and wished you had a dime, if you ever tried to search your soul but could not find your mind, if you ever laid your body down with someone that don't love you, the country boy has been there. That's what makes him sing the blues.

(Singing) It's not the drink you bought him. It's the not tips you gave. From the rocking of his cradle to the covering of his grave you'll never know the loneliness and sorrow he goes through. The country boy has been there. That's what makes him sing the blues.

SCOTT: (Singing) Ah, when he sings about a love gone wrong there's no tears in his eyes but the lonely low he's crying out, all the hurt he feels inside.

SCOTT: (Singing) He's singing to the broken hearts.

WAYNE AND DARREL SCOTT: (Singing) That's all that's left to do. The country boy has been there. That's what makes him sing the blues. It's not the drink you bought him...

BIANCULLI: That's Darrell Scott and his father Wayne Scott singing a song they wrote together. It's on the new Darrell Scott CD "Long Ride Home." Wayne Scott's album of his own songs produced by his son Darrell in 2005 is called "This Weary Way." Coming up, some Christmas music courtesy of singer Rebecca Kilgore. This is FRESH AIR.



Christmas has generated more songs than any other holiday, including a few that many of us dread hearing over and over this time of year. But there are some gems, some well known, some a little more obscure. We thought we'd share one of each from a performance Terry Gross recorded a few years ago with singer Rebecca Kilgore who has several CDs under her own name.

Rebecca is accompanied by trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello.


I'd like you to do a song that is really about not being able to be home for Christmas, although it's called "I'll Be Home For Christmas." Would you sing it for us, Becky?

REBECCA KILGORE: I sure will. It's by Kim Gannon, Walter Kent and Buck Ram, 1943. "I'll Be Home for Christmas."

(Singing) I am dreaming tonight of a place I love even more than I usually do. And although I know it's a long road back, I promise you, I'll be home for Christmas. You can plan on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree. Christmas Eve will find me where the love light gleams. I'll be home for Christmas, if only in my dreams.

GROSS: Thank you for doing that song. A beautiful version of a beautiful song. Well, next song we're going to do, this is a really fun novelty jazz song. Becky.

KILGORE: It's a great song and I'm very excited about doing it. It's called "Santa Claus Blues." It's quite old. It's from 1924. And we actually borrowed a portion of an arrangement by John Sheridan of this song. It was recorded by a dear friend, a great vocalist, Banu Gibson. Thank you, John and Banu, for allowing us to use this arrangement of "Santa Claus Blues."


KILGORE: (Singing) The merry bells are ringing today but they don't mean nothing to me. I hear the children singing today but I'm as blue as I can be. Oh, Santa Claus forgot my address, that's one thing I can plainly see. It may be Christmas to some folks, it's just December 25th to me. No money. No honey to buy a present for me.

Nobody. No toddy to make things pleasant for me. Last night my stocking I hung, just like when I was young. But this morning there was vacancy. No mingling. No jingling of coins. No picking, non-chicken, a pork chop tenderloin. And soon I'll hear the Happy New Year chime, that just means that there's more hard times. Bad luck, you're hard to lose. I've got the Santa Claus blues.

BIANCULLI: We've been listening to signer Rebecca Kilgore with trombonist Dan Barrett and pianist Rossano Sportiello from a performance recorded in 2005. You can hear Rebecca sing many other Christmas songs on the CD "Hurray for Christmas" with the John Sheridan Big Band and she has many CDs under her own name, including a recent one with the Rebecca Kilgore quartet. It's called "Yes, Indeed."

Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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