When I first arrived in Glasgow to inflict the little that I knew on the unfortunate children of a Maryhill school I was befriended by some good folk who knew how to turn a good night into a great one. At the end of any evening there was always singing. At a certain point….and only when he was ready, my pal Eddie would perform a perfect version of Jimmie Rodgers’ ‘He’s In The Jailhouse Now.’
I always loved the inflection that the main subject of the ballad had a Scottish connection….
I had a friend named Campbell
He used to rob, steal and gamble
He tried everything that was low-down
He was out tom-cattin’ one night
When he started a big fight
Then a big policeman came and knocked him down
He’s in the jailhouse now
He’s in the jailhouse now
I told him over again
To quit drinking whiskey
Lay off of that gin
He’s in the jailhouse now
Little did I know then that I was listening to a song by the man they called ‘the father of country music.’ However, on reflection, the song has stayed with me all these years because it brings back memories of good times and it also reminds me now that country music was a celebration of the lives of poor rural folk whose story was not told elsewhere. If that narrative has been lost somewhere along the way we can still recognise the reason country music resonates with so many is perhaps because it celebrates their stories in a way other music and culture doesn’t fully recognise.
One of the recurring stories of country is what happens to people when their lives take a wrong turning. It’s no surprise that on most people’s lists of classic country records Johnny Cash‘s Live at San Quentin figures highly. The potent mix of a hard living, truth telling singer locked in with those who related most to his songs brings the concept of the live album into an explosive piece of musical theatre.
Consider too, country’s outlaws whose lives have often been a deft dance with the law. Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and Steve Earle cover a period of around fifty years where the story continues. Into this interesting mix of characters comes this week’s guest, Jaime Wyatt. A Californian country singer who was destined for great things until she ended up in a state penitentiary for trying to rob her drug dealer. However it’s at this point we come into the story.
Coming out of jail Jaime picked up the music career she’d lost and made one of the finest albums we’ve enjoyed over the last few years. Felony Blues (which came out in 2017) is still the current record for Jaime and on her way through Glasgow last week to perform at Broadcast we caught up with her for this week’s Another Country. She talks about what she learned from that experience, the women she met inside and why that period has proved to be such a rich inspiration for her song writing.
In an interesting follow up to this I’m talking crime and punishment on the next Sunday Soundtrack too. I’ll be joined by Fergus McNeil who has encouraged and enabled songwriting in prisons as well as ex cop and crime writer, Karen Campbell.Another Country will be live this Tuesday when, as well as that Jaime Wyatt interview, we’ll have music from Joan Shelley, Tilder Childers, Elaina Kay (again), The Maes and Michaela Anne. It all starts at five past nine this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland. Sunday Soundtrack is on the same wavelength at 10 next Sunday morning.
I can talk about him as he’s on his holidays this week, but my better radio half, Richard Murdoch is the reason Another Country does not descend into weekly chaos. Patiently he takes my mad ramblings and assembles a script which, hopefully, comes across as thoughtful and still exciting each Tuesday evening.
When he goes quiet I know there’s something interesting him and he’s off down one of his audio rabbit holes. Last week I got an excited missive from him telling me he’d found a little journey we could take on the show. It was inspired by a new discovery for us, Elaina Kay, whose debut album, Issues, contains the song, Daddy Issues. This song of daughter-to-father conversation has inspired us to play some sister songs along the same lines. So you’ll hear daughters and sons on dads and moms featuring Elaina, Taylor Swift, Gretchen Peters and Sean McConnell. You’ll also hear that great daughter/father ballad from Ashley McBryde with which you’ll be very familiar by now I’m sure…but as the special bonus you’ll also be delighted to hear the brand new track from Ashley.
As you read this and I write it I can almost hear you submitting further suggestions of family themed ballads along similar lines. So, if we have provoked some suggestions do join in and we might get one or two more songs in on the weeks to come.
As well as these family conversations we will be bringing you some new music from new names. Listen out for CAAMP, The Commonheart then hear too some old friends as we celebrate new releases from Midland, Joan Shelley, Trisha Yearwood and Chip Taylor.
We’ll also be listening in to where Miranda Lambert went next. I’m intrigued by Miranda’s career. Firstly she made her breakthrough via a now defunct TV talent show which she didn’t win. That was in the early 2000’s and since then she’s gone on to carve out a successful career as a great interpreter of classic country (The House That Built Me, Look At Miss Ohio) as well as radically confounding music-row expectations (Vice) to releasing pitch perfect modern country self-penned songs (Automatic, Get Away Driver). Recently she’s championed the wonderful Pistol Annies which has brought Angeleena Presley into the spotlight. For that alone, we’re grateful. On the new album she’s working with the Love Junkies and producer Jay Joyce and on her brand new single, Natalie Hemby. It’s a winning formula and I for one would love to see Miranda back at the top of the country tree.
I hope you got a chance to hear the new Sunday Soundtrack. I’m enjoying being back on the radio on Sundays and getting a chance to play new things on air. This Sunday I’m looking forward to welcoming Playwright and Director, Zinnie Harris as her production of The Duchess opens at the Citz. We’ll talk about our appetite for horror with Zinnie and Sergio Casci whose own thriller, ‘The Lodge’ arrives on cinema screens very soon. We’ll have Dani Garavelli and Sara Sheridan as our house guests and an album’s worth of hand-picked songs to make your Sunday morning complete.
For years the British Media took no notice that ‘the bank holiday’ only applied to people south of the Scottish/English border and was largely irrelevant to Scots and Irish. I note (listening to the good Lauren Laverne yesterday morning) that is no longer the case. She’s magnanimous enough to note that it only applies to ‘some of us.’ Lauren’s a Geordie so she clearly gets this a little better than some. I, however, like to celebrate the August bank holiday. For years it seems everyone seems to assume you are elsewhere and on this week’s glorious Monday no one was ever likely to bother me. It’s the perfect working day.
I eased into it by catching up on some album listening and am really enjoying spending time imagining all the wild places involved in the new Orphan Brigade album. It starts off on the coast road outside of Glenarm in Antrim and moves via a midnight forest to the caves of Cushendun and even out on the water in a boat on the bay off County Antrim. That’s just the writing spots…for the recording the trio moved into St Patrick’s Church of Ireland in Glenarm. You can imagine this is an album not short on atmosphere. You’ll hear a very special track from the forthcoming record featuring the great John Prine on this Tuesday’s show.
I’m interested in magical spaces as I stumbled across some amazing footage of the Nevis Ensemble visiting the abandoned Isle of St Kilda and playing outside among the ruins of the old village. On Saturday I got notice that 400 women (it turned out there were a few chaps as well) were to assemble in Parliament Square and sing one of my songs. I’m grateful for the tweet and to the remarkable Sing In The City Choir for making such a great version of Dignity. There is something magical about taking music to unexpected places so that people experience it where it’s least expected and, somehow, it catches them unawares.
Elsewhere we will bring in to the cool air-conditioned opulence of our Music Row Studio our very own Nashville correspondent, Bill DeMain fresh from pounding the streets of Twang Town where he tells his own tales of the city. Bill’s got all the latest news and some new music he’d enjoy sharing with us…this usually becomes unmissable new acts, so stay tuned.
Elsewhere we have music from another scion of The (Hank) Williams Family, more new music from Hiss Golden Messenger, The Dixie Chicks first recording in more than 12 years or so and much more. Join me live this Tuesday from five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland.
Finally, and talking of wild spaces, I’m going to encounter the amazing natural wildlife filmmaker, Gordon Buchananan this weekend. On Sunday I will be bringing a brand new programme to BBC Radio Scotland too. From 10 – 12 you can hear Sunday Soundtrack which will be a mixture of words and music. I’ll be welcoming some great guests and attempting to curate the perfect Sunday morning soundtrack to set up your Sundays. Join me if you can.
There are many funny aspects about performance which make it a particularly individual art form. On the brilliant, Miles Of Aisles, Joni Mitchell answers a song request with an instant appraisal of the nature of the song. ‘That’s the thing about the difference between the performance arts and being a painter; no one ever said to Van Gogh, ‘Paint a Starry Night again, man.’
I’ve thought about that a lot since I first heard Joni saying it about 45 years ago and it’s only today I’ve realised that she’s probably wrong. I’ll bet loads of people said that very thing to Vincent.
I pondered on this when I got a Facebook message to inform me about a song we didn’t play on the weekend. It always strikes me as a very weird thing to make your only point of contact a gripe about what you didn’t enjoy. But hey…they pay the money and all of that. I also thought about it when I went to see Patty Griffin then Nick Lowe a couple of months back. I knew for a fact that the set lists I’d love to hear from Patty and Nick differed enormously from the ones these artists chose to play on the night. However, and this is really the important bit, hearing the show Patty Griffin (particularly) put together that evening was a joy and a brilliant insight into the core of what is important in her own music. It was great to hear how much she invested in each song and why they were all essential parts of a quite gorgeous ninety minutes. Before you ask; Nick’s show was wonderful too.
Patty’s night involved her talking about ‘disappearing down a YouTube rabbit hole one night’ chasing (I think) Lightnin’ Hopkins. There’s no doubt that blues forms a big influence on the new Patty record and hanging out with Robert Plant with The Band of Joy (he was in the audience in June too!) must have helped the blues seep in.
On this Tuesday’s show we’re going to explore these roots a little and try, once more, to show how genres of music really all stem from a common source. Jimmie Rogers, Howling Wolf, Bessie Smith, Hank Williams, Big Mama Thornton, Elvis Presley, The Louvin Brothers…work your own way to The White Stripes and keep going.
As well as that trip we’ll catch up with Justin Townes Earle a man who has carried on his own particular family/musical tradition. Justin has been a guest on Another Country a few times over the last eleven years or so. How well has the life of a troubadour agreed with him? To what extent is he keeping back the demons that haunted his earlier life? Having spent a bit of time in his company, I’m not really sure. You can make up your own mind when you hear the conversation we recorded and listen to the tracks from his current album, ‘The Saint Of Lost Causes.’
Elsewhere in a packed two hours you’ll hear more from The Highwomen, Hiss Golden Messenger, more Mattiel and a mini celebration of The Stanley Brothers. Finally, on the subject of set lists: a song The National didn’t play under a beautiful moon at Kelvingrove a couple of weeks ago.
We’re on BBC Radio Scotland FM from five past nine this Tuesday evening.
There are so many times over the course of a long Scottish winter I have said to myself, ‘I’ll do that in the summer.’ I imagine sitting on my back deck looking proudly over the small piece of garden newly tidied, a wee goldie nestling in my palm as the sun sinks slowly over the south side of Glasgow. Somehow the reality never really kicks in.
I often think of these summers that pass without their winter dreams evolving and go back to one of my favourite Norman MacCaig poems written from his Highland eyrie in Sutherland as he reflects on the regular walk to his favourite fishing spot. Year after year he passes the skeleton of a hind and the remains of an old boat:
Time adds one malice to another one–
Now you’d look very close before you knewIf it’s the boat that ran, the hind went sailing
I did manage my brief moment on the back deck a couple of Fridays ago. One of the summer events had just been brought to fruition (a long awaited recording session) and I allowed myself a quiet celebration with no one else around to witness it. The weather went along with my happy mood and suddenly my winter dream was realised.
In Scotland it almost feels as if the summer ends around this time in August when the schools return. The early dawns and late sunsets are not quite as stretched as the first days of midsummer and the optimism of early spring has been tempered by the reality of weeks of muggy cloud cover. ‘So many summers,’ as MacCaig ruminated, ‘and I have lived them too.’
This summer, for me has been framed by some big events. Concerts in different parts of Europe at either end and a trip to California with all my family together to witness the marriage of my eldest daughter in the gloriously beautiful Napa Valley. At all times and usually when I least expected there have been short bursts of great music. Around the fire pits at a songwriting retreat in Somerset, in a kitchen with family harmonies in a holiday cabin and at one sensational evening in Glasgow in the presence of KD Lang.
Perhaps the best experiences of music are when it catches unawares. Sneaking up on a soundtrack, overhearing a song bleeding out of someone else’s music system or (as so often seems to happen to me these days) playing accidentally via one of the many sources of music on my smart phone (this one comes from the eternally apt rule of unintended consequences). In fact, I’m hugely indebted to my brilliant deputy, Tia Sillers for playing some gorgeous music I’d not heard or not remembered. There’s still plenty of time to catch Tia’s shows on BBC Sounds.
From all these sources and time spent with many wonderfully surprising gems sent to us over the last couple of months we have curated two hours of country music our way for this Tuesday’s Another Country. You’ll be delighted in some new names: The Highwomen, Daughter of Swords and Leslie Steven will bring smiles to your faces. Then you’ll be delighted by the return of some AC favourites: The Orphan Brigade, Miranda Lambert and Sam Outlaw should work wonders for any summertime blues you may be enduring.Elsewhere we celebrate all that is great in country…..hey if you think you don’t like country music, you haven’t heard enough of it. We’re on air at nine on BBC Radio Scotland FM.
I remember reading CS Lewis’s autobiography over 40 years ago across a cold Easter holiday when my parents were away and I crouched against the radiator and for the first time, read a book continuously from cover to cover. Much of it was an introduction to the delights he’d found in his own youth, the ‘northernness’ he discovered in the Norse sagas, Robert Browning and well…I don’t think I remember much else in truth.
His own story, as I’m sure you know, was titled after a line from William Wordsworth: ‘Surprised by Joy; impatient as the wind.’ Much of that surprise came from his own conversion to Christianity which was the hook that pulled me in when I still sought the satisfaction of fundamental certainty later life seems to deem superfluous.
If certainty is too much to hope for it seems to me that the deep search for ‘joy’ is a life long quest which brings new twists and turns at every point in the journey. Sometimes it’s a literal path too. It was only recently we found ourselves on a week’s holiday walking a little cliff route I’d forgotten about and it was, for my wife, all new. On a sunlit early June afternoon it was joy unconstrained. I remember too the sheer exhilaration two years ago as we made our way along the north coast of Scotland and realised what beauty we’d been missing for fifty odd years. As the impressionists might have said, and Robert Louis Stevenson wrote: ‘The world is so full of a number of things, I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.’
So it comes to the half-way point of another year and I look back and discover that again I’ve been bowled away by so many fine things I could easily throw away the past and rejoice in the new which this year has brought. Nothing is still quite as thrilling as finding a piece of music you want to play again and again. How much your heart leaps when you hear something and think…well that’s made my day. As I write I’m listening to Mattiel’s second album on vinyl and it’s so full of life I really don’t want to take the needle off…ever. It’s one of many records to have come out which, shortly on the AC, we’ll be celebrating as the cream of 2019’s crop of new releases.
On this week’s AC you’ll hear something wondrous from that Mattiel album as well as new tracks from Marren Morris, Hiss Golden Messenger and Midland in a two hour blitz of great new records you need to know over the summer. You’ll hear old favourites from Ry Cooder, Rosanne Cash and…Wings! You’ll also catch up on the latest news from our man on Music City’s streets, our Nashville Correspondent, Bill DeMain who has reports of the recent southern storms in the city as well as a night at The Ryman which all of us would love to have witnessed.
We do all of this in two hours and you can hear the programme on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine this Tuesday evening. Join me if you can.
The other week, while on holiday in Fife we wandered past the students union at St Andrews University and I found myself remembering the first time I met Nick Lowe. He was part of Rockpile and they were playing the Union on one of those nights when you were glad to be alive and thanked the Gods that things like this still happened. More than that I can’t remember, but I was grateful for seeing such a great rock n roll band in such an intimate setting.
A few years later I found myself for the first and last time at The Reading Festival. I’d never quite understood why we were unlucky enough to be booked but, needless to say, the words of our production manager at the time did not augur well. ‘Listen chaps,’ they’re a little boisterous out there and when the acts kick off they tend to throw a few beer cans towards the stage…nothing personal…they’re a great crowd.’ I’m old fashioned and frankly I didn’t need Reading or their cans of piss and I led our group off stage after a number and a half. That we never got back mattered very little to them or us. One lovely thing did happen however. On the sister stage, set up adjacent to ours was John Hiatt. I’d fallen for his music a year or so before after Tom Morton turned me on to his album, ‘Bring The Family.’ I decided to make myself known and knocked on his door to find, to my delight, an earlier visitor, Nick Lowe, was still there. In truth I was probably even more thrilled to meet Nick than I was to encounter John, but I was more than delighted to meet them both.
A couple of years later and I found myself in L’Escargot in Soho in the unlikely role of judging on an awards panel. It was a few hours of life I will never get back but there was to be a lovely consolation prize…Nick was also on the panel. By this time we recognised each other and he made a point of telling me I should have his phone number…I’d not asked..but he assured me I should call whenever. I, of course, never did but carried the number around in my old diary as a souvenir of the day we met.
From that day on Nick disappeared a little from view. I knew a little of his output but in all honesty lost track until nearly twenty years went by and he brought out a run of solo albums which re ignited all my earlier fandom. In the meantime Nick himself had been married and divorced to Carlene Carter, been welcomed in to the Carter Cash family, had his songs cut by Johnny and become an overnight millionaire when one of his songs was included on the Bodyguard film soundtrack.
Picking up on the late output I fell in love all over again with his songs on The Convincer, At My Age and The Old Magic. They make a beautiful trilogy and I really can’t recommend them highly enough. In 2011 all of this came together in the perfect way.
Booked to play at Glastonbury around this time of year I discovered to my delight that the act on before us was the man himself. We spoke, I watched his set and then we went on to enjoy one of the best nights we have ever had on stage in our long time of good nights.
In the intervening years Nick has been a guest on the show but this week, in the middle of his first major tour in the UK for 20 years he has brought in the excellent Los Straitjackets (all the way from Nashville) and cut four live session tracks for us. That’s not all! In the second hour of the show I sit down with Nick and talk songs, stories and county connections…..and there are so many.
If you think you don’t like Nick Lowe you might just need to listen closer, if you think you don’t like country music you might need to hear about it through the songs and stories of a man who loves it.
It’s The Another Country Nick Lowe special and it’s on BBC Radio Scotland this Tuesday evening from five past nine.
This week’s blog celebrates the talent that is Yola.
It’s a delight to say that at (nearly) the half way point in 2019, for the second year in succession, the stand out record is by a female solo artist. ‘Walk Through Fire’ works because, in very simple terms, once you put it on you really don’t want to take it off. It’s peppered with delights all the way through. From the excellent, ‘Faraway Look’ though to ‘Love is Light’ there isn’t a weak song on the album.
There is so much to enjoy about Yola’s voice that she does, of course, deserve all the credit. However I need to talk about some of the great collaborators. Firstly there’s the production skills of Dan Auerbach, from the Black Keys. We’ve been big fans of The Black Keys and Dan’s various solo adventures for a few years now. His move to Nashville seemed to awaken him to the great strength of songwriting talent in the city and he’s harnessed all of that to assemble a brilliant repertoire of material for the Yola album.
What’s so impressive is the range of writers: Bobby Wood (Elvis Presley pianist), Pat McLaughlin (Songs by Bonnie Raitt,Tricia Yearwood, Lee Ann Womack) Dan Penn (Aretha Franklin,James Carr) John Bettis (The Carpenters) and Joe Allen (Glen Campbell, Merle Haggard).
It’s a dazzling array of talent that might, in other hands, seem a little overwhelming, but with the safe oversight of Dan Auerbach and the skills of Yola the whole project breezes along beautifully. It’s great too that the album has been recognised by the Americana community who have already nominated it for an award in September’s festival. There’s also acknowledgement of its impact as Yola joins Kacey Musgraves for a string of US dates later this year.
Yola wears all of this new high profile status lightly. She’s still the young woman from Bristol we knew and loved when we first encountered her a couple of years back and she’s as pleased as any of us that she’s moving in such exalted circles. We’ll have an extended conversation with Yola, play some great cuts from the album and then celebrate the songwriters and artists who have made such a vital contribution to the project. Listen out for Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt and John Prine.
Listen too for our tribute to a much loved Nashville songwriter, Ralph Murphy who died last week. No one had a bad word to say about Ralph and he looked out for songwriters wherever they were working. He’ll be hugely missed.
As ever we’re on air at five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland.
I’m writing this while people…a tiny minority within a minority who bothered to vote…are trying to make sense of the Euro elections. For most of us it seems that life just carried on. We didn’t bother to vote as we were too confused, irritated or apathetic to take the 5 minutes it usually occupies. I don’t understand that, but then there are so many aspects of modern life I fail to get that I can only put this information alongside the bin currently holding Game of Thrones, old-taxi-drivers-who-seem-to-love-dance-music and tanning salons.
I’m thinking more about it this week having spent a fair amount of time last week in Sarajevo, Bosnia. It’s a city surrounded by hills into which, for nearly four years, the neighbouring Serbian Republic placed soldiers to visit hell upon the population. Under siege for nearly four years from 1992, Sarajevo survived by transporting supplies through a tiny tunnel running underneath the International Airport. Despite this between 4- 5 thousand civilians were killed in the city alone due to the war.
As part of a delegation visiting Bosnia with Remembering Srebrenica Scotland, I walked through a section of the Tunnel of Hope (often called The Tunnel of Rescue or Life) and tried to imagine what life was like for people in that city. There was no electricity and no running water. On every day of the siege up to 100 bombs were aimed at the civilian population and snipers took pot-shots at pedestrians.
On the second day of our visit we took in the horror of what happened in Srebrenica itself. There thousands of men and boys trying to flee the Serbian army were forced to walk 60km to Tuzla. 8,000 of them were killed by shelling or by execution. Buried in mass graves their remains are still being identified. I visited the cemetery where over 6,000 of them have been interred. It was chilling and gave me cause for thought.
Is this what happens when we can no longer find ways of talking to each other, when we stop listening and when the spaces we inhabit become so noisy and confused the only voices we hear are the ones shouting loudest? If so, what happened there has a very real possibility of happening closer to home, and sooner than we might imagine.
Making informed decisions together, engaging in dialogue, understanding the perspectives of those on the other side of argument is vital for any healthy democracy. Listening is essential too. When the noise level reaches fever pitch it gets harder to hear the voices of the left-behind, the marginalised and stateless….but listen we should.
It’s for that reason I’ve always loved songs. When Woody Guthrie wrote ‘I ain’t got no home in this world any more’ and I find myself singing it and asking an audience to join in, it reminds us all of the humanity we have in common. When Johnny Cash explains he wears black ‘for the poor and the beaten down,’ that he wears it ‘for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,’ I’m thankful that singers and songs compensate for the voices we can’t hear because of all the other noise.
Maybe in these strange times it’s as healthy to stop and listen as it is to charge in with another argument, whatever it might be. That’s where music comes in and helps us understand the world a little better.
On this week’s Another Country we’ll hear some of those voices. We have an intriguing conversation with our special guest, Hayes Carll where he talks about the bits of his life he got wrong and the priorities he has now. He’s a brilliant satirist as well as writing songs straight from the heart. Listen this Tuesday to Hayes singing ‘In Times Like These’ and consider where we are going.
Also listen to the voice of the great sage and civil rights activist Mavis Staples as she sings “We get by on love and faith, no matter what happens I’ll be there for you.’ Listen too to Justin Townes Earle as he sings ‘Ain’t Got No Money’ and it reminds us that we may not be in the darkness that descended on Bosnia in the nineties, but if we fail to learn, the possibility that evil can triumph will always be there.
In Sarajevo, where they are pleased to see us and to tell us the history, they know how quickly tides can turn. The horrors of their own genocide were stirred up by the forces of injustice, inequality and economic hardship. How we deal with all of those things determines whatever happens next.
Songs can be a balm that binds the heart. They can also be a clarion call to action. This Tuesday evening we shall let the songs be both.
A few years ago I went for a songwriting excursion to Stockholm. I’ve been twice and both times I’ve loved every minute of the place and come back with songs which have appeared on my own and other people’s records.
My first visit was early summer when the long Swedish winter had passed over and the days I spent in the city were warm and almost too sunny to want to spend all the time I did in dark studios. Everyone speaks ridiculously good English and even my taxi driver was keen to tell me how delighted he was that June was here and the sun was out. As we travelled through downtown and he pointed to the pavements where beautiful Swedish girls walked with carefree abandon wearing far less clothing than would get them through the darker months he couldn’t contain his excitement. In contrast to the fluent English and the munificent liberalism of his fellow citizens his response of, ‘Much women’ was more prosaic.
The next time I returned it was December and the whole city and the harbour were frozen. It was then I heard people explain how heating is included in any rental agreement. I liked this but couldn’t help but notice that the heating hadn’t extended to my friend Tobias Froberg‘s loft where his studio was and we cut the two songs we’d written together.
It’s an inspiring place and of course there’s such a great artistic history and a deep knowledge of pop music. One of the things I loved most was the way hotels and trendy bars didn’t resort to bland electro jazz soundtracks or top 40 mixes on the stereo. I’d hear brilliantly curated song lists which emphasised a lot of cool Americana and singer songwriters. Sweden, I realised was my kind of place.
On this Tuesday’s Another Country I want to take you to the shores of the Baltic Sea for a little Scandinavian sojourn. Music from The Tallest Man on Earth, neighbouring Norway’s own Ane Brun (who worked extensively with Tobias too), Daniel Norgen and Sweden’s finest, First Aid Kit.
I realise how late to the party I am with The Tallest Man on Earth which is the alias of Kristian Mattson who grew up in Dalarna, Sweden but now lives and records in Brooklyn. He comes to Scotland and is playing Edinburgh’s Usher Hall and London’s Hammersmith Apollo later in the year. His current album I Love You. It’s A Fever Dream has been playing everywhere in my house for the last two weeks and I want to play you so much more.
It’s also a very special week for visitors to Scotland where we welcome Yola and Hayes Carl to Glasgow and in the next few weeks we’ll bring you extended conversations and music from both these artists.
Finally I want to tell you how much I enjoyed the Patty Griffin show last week in Edinburgh. Patty is the rarest of talent who will deliver you a set list you wouldn’t expect to love but still makes you feel you’ve just heard a greatest hits show. She has a voice you just don’t want to be parted from and last week she proved to me and a spell bound audience why she is one of the most significant singer songwriters of this or any other generation. I will tell you more and play you a particular highlight from that show this Tuesday.
There will be so much more too but you’re going to have to join me this Tuesday evening at five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland FM to find out more.
All year round I present a weekly program called Another Country which goes out every Tuesday evening at 8pm. Seasonally I also present a Sunday Magazine show called Sunday Mornings with Ricky Ross. You can find both of these shows at BBC Radio Scotland
I also have a show on BBC Radio 2, Ricky Ross's Sunday Soundtrack, where I play the new songs I love and talk through the common themes which have influenced song and music making over the last 100 years.