When Rodney Crowell first visited us a few years ago now he’d just brought out the wonderful, Sex and Gasoline. He came into a tiny studio on a cold January and, a matter of inches away played me songs, from the new album which we broadcast as a very special live session.
We talked through all the usual back stories and Rodney didn’t disappoint as a raconteur. (the story of how he would be introduced to his future father-in-law, Johnny Cash involving Bloody Marys, brandy and Jamaica still brings a smile). As an afterthought I asked Rodney if there was anyone I hadn’t mentioned who had cut a song of his. Yes, he said, Van Morrison. And he told me a great story of a visit to see the Man at the Ryman and he was asked about cutting the song, ‘Till I Gain Control Again.’
I thought about this story a few days ago after reading various posts about a brilliant Van show at The Concert Hall. When you read what songs Van sang and realise the gems he missed out one is inclined to say that he knows a great song when he hears one.
We will catch up with Rodney as he is passing through and rejoice because there is a chance to talk about that song and the many he has written for Roseanne Cash, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, Tim McGraw, George Strait, Keith Urban and Lee Ann Womack.Did I forget Johnny Cash? Did I mention John Denver?…The list goes on, believe me.
We’ll also mention his old buddy Guy Clark and his excellent recent album Tarpaper Sky.
We’ll overlook the fact that he’s here to do the Transatlantic Sessions and not a gig on his own without all the folk- noodlers – but we’re delighted that Patty Griffin will , at least be there too.
It’s going to be a very special night. As Rodney leaves Sara Watkins will arrive. Last time she was with us we were celebrating the release of her debut solo album where she covered old Gospel standards, John Hartford, Tom Waits and brought us some beautiful new songs of her own. As I recall she arrived looking a little weary. When we offered the simple excuse of jet lag she ‘fessed up and expained she’d been up till 4 at the Celtic Connections club playing the fiddle. We understood.
That did not stop her doing what she is coming to do on Friday. Play the fiddle and sing us some songs. There’s now two solo albums and last year she and her prodigiously talented band mates from Nickel Creek got together to make their first album in a long time. It has been nominated for a Grammy, so there is much to talk of and great music to celebrate.
It all kicks off at five past eight this Friday evening on BBC Radio Scotland.
I’m very excited about hooking up with this woman.
Shami Shakrabarti, who’s new book, ‘On Liberty’ is out now has been Director of Liberty (The National Council for Civil Liberties) since September 2003. Famously she has carried the Olympic Flag into the opening of the 2012 games and her constant advocacy for justice made the Sun describe her as ‘The Most Dangerous Woman In Britain.’
We’ll talk Human Rights and Wrongs at a very important time and find out more about Shami’s role in public life as well as her other important job – as a mother.
We will discuss Religious and Moral Education the way it was and the vision for the future with some experts and we will discuss whether the Wolf Hall might cause us to reassess our understanding of saintliness and we’ll meet the celebrity photographer who is turning his lens towards the Homeless World Cup. All this in the company of great music by Jimmy Cliff, Calexico, Jenny Lewis and a little Ella Fitzgerald.
Join me if you can from five past seven this Sunday on BBC Radio Scotland.