Singer-Songwriter Wayne Scott Passes

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• November 28, 2011

Country singer-songwriter Wayne Scott died Friday, Nov. 18, as a result of a traffic accident in Kentucky.

The crash occurred near Corbin, KY on the Cumberland Gap Parkway. Scott was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, where he was pronounced dead. His wife, Linda, remains hospitalized there with injuries.

Wayne Scott released his debut CD, This Weary Way, in 2005, when he was 70. It was produced by his son, Darrell Scott, and featured studio contributions by such notables as Dan Dugmore, Tim O’Brien, Casey Driessen, Suzi Ragsdale and Verlon Thompson. One of its tracks, “It’s the Whiskey That Eases the Pain,” was a duet with Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member Guy Clark.

Wayne Scott grew up in the 1930’s and ’40’s in the small town of Cranes Nest, Kentucky, and was fascinated by the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts from Nashville. He began writing country songs as a teenager, but did not initially pursue music as a profession.

He worked in the car factories of Michigan and the steel mills of Indiana before moving to California. At age 40, he put a band together and began playing the honky-tonks and roadhouses of the Golden State. Sons Denny, Dale, Darrell, Don and David eventually joined his band. They all became professional musicians after being mentored by him.

Although he wrote songs all this time, Wayne Scott never shared them with audiences. He sang the country hits of the day for their dancing pleasure. In his 60s, he moved back to Kentucky.

By then, son Darrell Scott was making a name for himself as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist in Music City. His songs include “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” (Travis Tritt), “Heartbreak Town” (Dixie Chicks), “Born to Fly” (Sara Evans), “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” (Patty Loveless), “When There’s No One Around” (Garth Brooks), “Out in the Parking Lot” (Brad Paisley & Alan Jackson), “No Way Out” (Suzy Bogguss), “Long Time Gone” (Dixie Chicks), “Family Tree” (Darryl Worley), “Old Town New” (Tim McGraw) and “We’ve Got Nothing But Love to Prove” (Faith Hill), among others. He was ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year in 2002.

Darrell Scott is also much in-demand as a musician, having appeared on albums by dozens of stars and been recently featured in  Robert Plant’s Band of Joy. He has released six albums of his songs and is also a record producer.

Wayne Scott gave Darrell a notebook containing 100 of his original songs as a Christmas gift. That led to the father and son collaborating on some songs as well as to the creation of This Weary Way. Distributed nationally by Ryko, it contained nine Wayne Scott compositions, two father-son song collaborations and cover versions of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and The Dixon Brothers/Roy Acuff chestnut “Crash on the Highway.”

Wayne Scott’s music received national airplay on the NPR program Fresh Air in 2006. He was also featured on the WHAY Americana radio station in Kentucky.

Funeral arrangements for Wayne Scott have not been announced.

To read Darrell Scott’s reflection on his father’s passing, click here.

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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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