Live gigs - oh so retro as we approach the final months of ill fated 2020. On the other hand if you are missing your up close and personal fix then checking out Darrell Scott's new record could be just the tonic. For fifty minutes one of American roots music's most esteemed practitioners will take you back into a world of audience cackle, enthusiastic applause, group singalongs and introductions both witty and insightful. The sound is as pure as the Colorado air which acted as the location for this live recording.
To be more precise the gig was held in a renovated catholic church in the village of Jaroso on the New Mexico border. You can see that Scott didn't exert much thought in drafting the title of the album, but simplicity runs riot right through the record from the sparse instrumentation and isolated cover image to an audience providing an intimate homely feel.
To counter the enthusiasm for this record, critics could point out that music like this should remain the sole occupant of the in-person unfiltered experience and there will always be something lost when transmitting from the venue to the home. Others might also prefer a little less polished effort as we all know warts and all are often part of the live experience. The sound can also comes across as almost too perfect to an overtly critical ear and it is easy to visualise this as a studio record.
Having blown hot and cold with live albums over the years, I am going to yield in favour of Jaroso on the grounds that Scott does an incredible job in transporting you into a heavenly place. One where you are serenaded with a cradle of the very highest quality of gospel, folk, country and roots music.
Tagged onto the end as a bonus track is a live recording of 'A Satisfied Mind' in collaboration with Scott's Band of Joy teammates Patty Griffin and Robert Plant. I haven't quite grasped the link of this with the intimate night in Jaroso complete with the clicking of late summer crickets. Perhaps you can check out this release and let me know.
While we wait for live music to drift back into our lives, a space can be made for JAROSO and a grateful glow that Darrell Scott has lent his considerable talent into serving up something that we are desperately missing.