One of Darrell Scott's stated aims in making "A Crooked Road" was to play and sing all the music on it. He recorded most of the album himself at his home studio, playing each of the instruments and providing all of the vocals. While a do-it-yourself spirit is laudable, there's something to be said for adding someone else's ideas to the mix.
A producer, for example, might have helped pare back the album from 20 lengthy tracks totaling nearly an hour and a half to a number that fit on a single disc. A producer might also have suggested more than 1 variation in tone and tempo across those 20 tracks.
Taking the songs one-by-one, it's hard to find fault with what Scott's individual efforts pulled off. The writing is heartfelt without being schmaltzy and clever without trying too hard. The instrumentation is low-key; there's not a lot of flash to it, but it offers an understated frame to his warm and expressive vocals.
The problem is, with the exception of the odd but charmingly bluesy Snow Queen and Drama Llama, musically, everything sounds pretty much the same. And since it's a two-disc set, there's a great deal of that sameness to slog through.
Darrell Scott clearly has a great deal to say about his journey to find love and find himself. But if he had said quite a lot less or strayed from the formula quite a lot more, it would be easier to hear.