It’s been a remarkable year. Tempted as it always is to write a list I have restrained myself for one more year. There are plenty of blokes out there who will provide you with a list or two if you need one……and I’m sure you already know where to look.
However it has been a great year for music. We’ve discovered some fine new artists and, particularly pleasing for me, we’ve seen some artists return with exceptional follow up albums.
So some mention should be made of excellent sequels from Samantha Crain, Punch Brothers, Laura Marling and Joan Shelley...you have all made us very happy. However we’ve been delighted by (what for us) have been some excellent debuts. Step forward Angeleena Presley, Brandy Clark, Andrew Combs, Daniel Romano, Sam Outlaw, Nadia Reid, 10 String Symphony and C Duncan. This has been a vintage year and I suspect 2016 is going to have to get off to a flyer to beat it.
What is really interesting too is that country music has found its voice again. We’ve seen Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard get together and make an excellent album that, despite being ignored by country radio, went to No 1 on the country chart. It’s been great year too for Jason Isbell who has been embraced by the mainstream and the country audience. How satisfying too is it to see Kacey Musgraves consolidate the phenomenal success of her debut album with a second record that is even better (in my humble opinion.)
It’s within our rights to expect these interesting records from outwith the mainstream but I’ve been particularly taken by one of two Music Row offerings that have combined fabulous voices with great songs. Step forward Little Big Town, Eric Church, Carrie Underwood and Chris Young.
We’ve played some of these records last week and we’ll keep on the roll this Tuesday as we celebrate this unique, creative twelve months. As well as this we have found some Christmas gems from The Louvins, Gene Autrey, Bob Dylan and Emmylou Harris. Capping all of this off a seasonal duet from two of the best voices in country music: Alison Krauss and Alan Jackson.
We do all of this in two hours and, of course, it’s not too late to hear part one of our best-of-the-year from last week via the iplayer. Once more none of this would have been possible without my great friend and producer Mr Richard Murdoch ably assisted by Kirsten Harris. So, from all of us, we wish you a very Happy Christmas and we thank you for listening. Join us this Tuesday from five past nine if you can. We’re on BBC Radio Scotland.