Sometimes it’s hard to work out why things have come to be. In music there are partnerships which seems to work because they both seem to come alive in a way that never quite happens when they are on their own. Think The Everleys, The Louvins and maybe even (controversially) Gram and Emmylou. We could add a few modern versions too with First Aid Kit and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings feeling like acts which rely on their respective partners to make the best of what they do individually.
I was thinking about this in the context of this week’s special guest Dawn Landes. There’s really no way you would have figured Dawn for a country singer in the traditional sense. Like so many artists we feature on the show her music has been influenced by and often nods to the roots of American music…and therefore becomes country in our book..but it would be a stretch to rack any of her albums in the country section of your favourite record shop. There’s been a misleading cover a couple of records ago when she looked ready to lassoo something or other on ‘Sweet Heart Rodeo,‘ but the music didn’t really follow what the sleeve suggested. All of the above is true…until now.
Last year Dawn took time out from a tour in New Zealand to make along distance call to the city where she now lives, Nashville, to speak to Fred Foster. For reasons she’ll explain on this week’s show, she wanted to see if he would be interested in coming out of semi retirement to produce her next record. I’m delighted to say he agreed and you can of course hear the glorious results on her new album, ‘Meet Me At The River’ which we’ve been enjoying these last few months.
The partnership between Dawn and Fred seems more unlikely the more you explore it. he was the man who ran and produced records for Monument in the 60’s…he even wrote some of them. He’s credited with developing the careers of Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton and has produced albums by Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and Kris Kristofferson. On Dawn’s record he introduced her to Charlie McCoy and Bobby Bare.….oh yes, there are stories. As well as a great acoustic session from Dawn (where she covers John Prine) we’ll celebrate the music of Fred Foster in the second hour of the show.
Elsewhere…more from that Pistol Annies album, new discoveries Nora Collins and Desiree Canon and the new direction from Ferris and Sylvester. It’s all in a packed show which starts on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine. Join me if you can.