quality country songs, on topics ranging from the usual ("It's the Whiskey That Eases the Pain") to the extremely unorthodox: "Banjo Clark" used a minstrel-show banjo tune as the point of departure for an epic reflection on the banjo's African origins and the trials its enslaved players endured.
Since then, Scott's name has been attached to some of the most accomplished songs on the country charts Garth Brooks's "When There's No One Around," Travis Tritt's "It's a Great Day to Be Alive," Patty Loveless's searing "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive," Sara Evans's "Born to Fly," and, most recently, the Dixie Chicks' "Long Time Gone." That song gained attention for Scott's swipe at the creatively wan singers who've dominated Nashville over the past few years:
| They sound tired, but they don't |
They've got money, but they don't
Those who listened beyond its little tidbits, though, heard more: a remarkable little odyssey, deftly shifting temporal frames over the course of three verses, of a wannabe-star who moves to Nashville and then finally returns home, bemused to find the traditional life that seemed "a long time gone" still ready and waiting.