In one of my favourite scenes in one of my favourite movies, John Travolta explains to Samuel L Jackson the quintessential aspects of visiting Europe. This involves the French term for a large hamburger he ordered in Paris. Wistfully reflecting on it all he smiles and says, ‘It’s the little differences.’
I thought of this scene as I reflected on this week’s special guests, The Delines. Tiny margins, sometimes negligible, but enough to tilt short, vulnerable lives off balance. It’s those little differences that bring Willy Vlautin’s songs to life. Nothing is left to chance…though there’s plenty of room for your imagination too. Desolation, disappointment and broken dreams all counter-balance the optimism of the country-soul of the music of Willy’s band The Delines. With the voice of Amy Boone telling the stories of Holly, Charly, Sonny and one of Willy’s best ever couples, Eddie and Polly (love the names) we are brought gently into stories which skirt with personal disaster but contain moments of joyous relief. In Holly The Hustle, as Willy points out in this week’s extended interview, her life may seem like a series of wrong turnings but she still grifts the guy for $60K!
After their gig at Oran Mor a week past Sunday, The Delines came in to Studio One at AC Central and we recorded some live songs and talked to Willy and Amy about their new life as a band. Amy explained the three year wait for this new record, why she’s being pulled north to live in Portland and we get a chance to talk to Willy about the many characters he’s created in his songs and novels. If you are still not sure whether you like the band I refer you to the esteemed Rachel Unthank (of the eponymously named folk group) in yesterday’s Observer who describes their music as ‘heartbreaking and sad but really warm and beautiful.’
In what will be a crowded two hours we will also pay tribute to the late Harold Bradley. We met Harold (younger brother of producer Owen) two years ago in Nashville. Then he was ninety one and still full of great reminiscences of his days making records in the famous Quonset Hut where he played guitar on records by Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison and so many more. He died peacefully last week and we will celebrate his unique contribution to country music on Tuesday.
Your host standing next to the great guitarist Harold Bradley (January 2, 1926 – January 31, 2019) Owen’s daughter and son, Patsy and Jerry to his left.
Finally, we will celebrate. On Thursday night some of our favourite guests were honoured at the UK Americana Awards in London. Mary Gauthier, Courtney Marie Andrews, CJ Hillman, Ben Glover and Scotland’s very own, Dean Owens all received awards. Three of these artists were produced by Neilson Hubbard who has been a guest and is soon to be interviewed on the show. It was a wonderful endorsement of these great performers and of our continued support of their music. We will celebrate by playing you the winning songs of the night.
It’s all on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine this Tuesday evening. Join me if you can.