Early in my musical career I did my first ever solo gig. From memory it was in a church hall or similar set up and I was the support act to a talk by a local minister. Afterwards he gave me advice which I’ve never forgotten. He said to me ‘You’re good, so never apologise for anything.’ I think he’d picked up on the fact I was assuming my songs were imposing on people’s goodwill.
He was right of course. If you feel you have to apologise or explain any given thing you are already at a disadvantage. I know people sometimes get this way over particular genres of music. It ends up with that tribal thing going on where people feel their music is more important than anyone else’s. When it comes to country music this usually ends up in something ghastly like line-dancing or ‘shoot-outs’ at the Kinning Park Grand Old Opry.
You don’t have to wear western gear to appreciate country music, you don’t have to love fiddles and banjos and you certainly don’t have to be in America because ultimately it’s really about none of these things. I believe, and I think I’m on fairly safe ground here, it’s about songs and singers.
If there’s a part of you that imagines you are immune to the charms of country I challenge you to put yourself to the test of tonight’s All Star Country Juke Box. You don’t need to be anywhere other than by a radio and you can dress any way you like. You can love rock, soul, R’n’B, folk and pop music and even classical too but you can also enjoy two hours of some of the best songs and singers country has to offer.
I defy you not be moved by the music of Hank Williams, Lee Ann Rimes, George Strait, Linda Ronstadt, Gillian Welch and The Louvin Brothers all chosen by The Mavericks, Suzy Boguss, Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark and many, many more. Join us tonight from five past nine to listen in.
In other news, I’m back on Twitter and Facebook and through both of these media we’ll be trailing news of our adventures in Nashville last week when we went looking for the stories behind the great songs and singers. On next week’s show we will take you into the places the Tennessee tourist board will never offer and talk to the people you may not find on your average tourist trip round America’s Music City.
All of this can be found on BBC Radio Scotland every Tuesday from five past nine. Join me if you can.