Shows: With Mountain Heart on Friday at the Hamilton. Show starts at 8:30 p.m. 202-787-1000. thehamiltondc.com. $24.75-$39.75. Saturday at Rams Head On Stage. Show starts at 8 p.m. 410-268-4545. ramsheadonstage.com . $22.50.
Darrell Scott, the Nashville songwriter who has penned hits for Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson and the Dixie Chicks, has contributed songs to three of the year’s best albums thus far. It’s not surprising that Scott wrote nine of the 14 songs on his own splendid new album, “Couchville Sessions,” and less surprising that he wrote three songs with the like-minded Americana artist Hayes Carll on Carll’s magnificent new disc, “Lovers and Leavers.”
It’s a bit more surprising that Scott co-wrote “Save Me,” the opening track on R&B star Anthony Hamilton’s remarkable new recording, “What I’m Feelin’.” But the partnership makes sense: Although they hail from different genres, both artists are master craftsmen at fitting words to notes. You can hear the same musical carpentry when the colorful description of eccentric characters harmonizing is matched by an irresistible singalong melody on “Down to the River,” the opening track of “Couchville Sessions.”
That album was originally titled “Masters” because it was inspired by older musicians who taught Scott so much. Two major influences, Guy Clark and Peter Rowan, add vocals to Scott’s own songs, which stand up admirably to the songs written by four more role models: Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, James Taylor and Townes Van Zandt. Even the old songs are given a new face by the virtuoso playing of Scott, bassist Danny Thompson and Little Feat’s keyboardist, Bill Payne.