History Museum Celebrates 25 Years of Antique Quilt Shows
Visit to Renovated City Hall a Rewarding Experience
For Medical Care, There’s No Place Like Home
Web Site of
you would like to order a copy of a Spectrum photo, CLICK
Veteran Singer/Songwriter, Recording Career Begins
Special to the Spectrum
Wayne Scott’s "This Weary Way" is the best new
Hank Williams record I’ve heard since Williams died on New Years
Equally as remarkable is the fact that Scott’s marvelous collection of
mostly original compositions is his first album ever – at age 71.
Although his family had always been “slightly musical,” according
to Scott, he “had a disease of it. I was born to want to play and sing.”
Following that muse led him from the back woods of Cranes Nest, Ky., out to the
West Coast, with stop-offs in the Midwest on the way.
Despite having been writing songs since he was a teenager, it wasn’t until
he was in his 40s that Scott began playing music in public, then another 20 years
before he started performing his own compositions.
During his first two decades playing bars and clubs, “I gave the crowds
what they wanted to hear and what I was paid to play — hits the audiences
knew and could dance to,” he explained.
The whole time, though, he continued to write songs of his own on the side.
His fortunes finally changed one Christmas when he made a gift of a bound volume
of 100 of his compositions to his son Darrell, himself the author of hits for
country mainstays like Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley and Patty Loveless.
With his family’s encouragement, Scott was finally persuaded to go into
the studio with his son to lay down the twelve tracks that would constitute the
bulk of This Weary Way, the album.
“It was a dream making this album with my son,” said Scott. “It
couldn’t have been a better experience working with him and all those great
Under the influences
Now, sometimes to tell a musician they sound like another musician is a backhanded
compliment at best. But to tell a songwriter his work stands up next to the very
best in his field is hardly damning with faint praise. Somebody once compared
my writing (favorably) with a certain widely-respected writer’s — I
still get giddy thinking about it. It’s like remembering a well-received
flirt. It’s this kind of praise I am directing at Wayne Scott’s songwriting.
Among the couple of tunes that don’t sound like they sprang directly from
the Hank Williams songbook is the last track, a spirited raveup of Johnny Cash’s
immortal “Folsom Prison Blues,” recorded live with his son Darrell’s
The father-to-be in me responded to the elegant melody and straightforward, heartfelt
lyric of “Sunday With My Son,” a song with more John Prine in it
than Williams Sr.
The similarities to Williams’ work are only structural however — the
songs sound like they could have been written by Williams, but the crisp, dry
delivery is all Wayne Scott. You can almost hear the tumbleweeds drifting forlornly
by in his dusty, unwavering baritone.
Scott also cites Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash as influences, but lacks the former’s
whiskey-smooth vocal delivery and the latter’s weary gravitas. Wayne Scott
sounds like a gentleman. As if Pa Cartwright had picked up a guitar and started
singing a sad song…
The result is that rarest of rarities, an honest-to-God country record, with
honest-to-God country music. Opry music.
This Weary Way
Scott drew from a deep well of talent for this album. In addition to Darrell’s
band, he enlisted the help of legendary Texas singer/songwriter Guy Clark on
an original composition, “It’s The Whiskey That Eases The Pain,” to
open the album on a relatively upbeat note. That’s right — on a true
country/western record, a song so titled is very likely to be the emotional high
point. Wayne Scott is old enough to remember what makes country music country
music, and it’s not “Man, I Feel Like A Woman.”
Although I enjoyed the CD the first time I put it on, it was the title track, “This
Weary Way,” that sent me scrambling for the credits. I would have sworn
it was a Hank Williams tune, in composition and delivery. Scott has a gift for
songwriting that cuts away anything unnecessary and just leaves the important
The gospel tunes, too, are simply perfection. No grand flourishes, no lurid bravado
or layers of studio polish, just plaintive words, a melancholy melody and tasteful
traditional instrumentation. Kudos must be paid to his producer, again, his son
Darrell, for getting the sound so right.
The album has made a Scott fan of me. I want to hear more. It took 70 years of
convincing to get Scott into the recording studio; hopefully response to this
collection will compel a speedy return.
If there is any justice in this world, Scott’s songs will come to be embraced
by future generations of country & western fans like “Stairway to Heaven” is
by rock fans, and “This Land Is Your Land” is by hippies and left-wingers
“This Weary Way,” on Full Light Records, is available online and
record stores everywhere. Pete Brooks is Spectrum’s Web site designer
and resident country music aficionado.
This page and its contents ©2005
Metropolitan News Company, Inc.