Darrell Scott on Honing Your Vision

Mention Darrell Scott’s name in many Nashville music circles, and you’ll instantly bear witness to the well deserved awe his work inspires in his peers. Scott has been nominated for a Grammy, been the recipient of numerous awards, and is a first-call session man and a hard working road dog—most recently pounding the pavement in support of his sixth solo project, The Invisible Man [Full Light Records].
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Anyone who has lent an ear to some of Scott’s previous recordings will surely recognize there’s something new and different going on with this particular presentation. That “something” turns out to be a guy named Gary Paczosa.

“It was great working with Gary,” says Scott. “He did things on this record that I’ve never had on records before. I’ve had guys working with me from top-to-bottom on other albums, but Gary was a different thing, because we called him in after everything was done.”

Although Scott’s abilities as an artist and a producer are first rate, he attributes his well-regarded production skills to a strong, focused work ethic.

“If you have a single vision of what this needs to be, and you can follow it all the way through mastering and artwork, then you have to play that out,” he explains. “I’m willing to roll up my sleeves and lead it through. For me, I don’t really have a choice about it. I have ideas of how an album should be produced. I also have ideas about the photography and all that stuff. I don’t know how to do anything else but get involved in the entire process.”

Given Scott’s reputation, I was curious as to how Paczosa figured into the equation when it came time to mix.

“I wanted a very different approach for this mix,” says Scott. “I wanted new ears. I wanted to be challenged to not do things in my regular way. And Gary had a lot of sounds going—reverb, echo, phasers, and so on—and he went to places I wouldn’t even have thought to look. I really learned a lot being with him.”

There’s little doubt that the same record, without Paczosa’s touch, would have been another milestone in Scott’s illustrious career. His writing is simply too good, the players are too high caliber, and the production is dead on. But does Scott think The Invisible Man would be the same record if Paczosa wasn’t brought on board?

“Definitely not,” Scott answers. “The songs would’ve been the same, but I think the record would’ve certainly sounded different.”