We all know what Philip Larkin said about parents and there’s time when, as a parent, I’ve whole heartedly agreed with him. However over the last few weeks I’ve had a chance to think on all of this a little further.
My own Mother turned 90 a couple of weeks ago and with most of her grandchildren and great grandchildren around her we’ve been celebrating her remarkable life. My Mum was a teacher all her working life and (fortunately for me) was popular at the primary school I where she worked and I attended. Though she never took my own class I knew a lot of pals who were taught by her and she was loved and respected by all of them…though, like me, they probably knew she could take them apart if they stepped out of line.
One Friday at the fag end of June I was on the bus which took me to my grandparents’ house at the other side of town when two girls from the year above started a conversation. They were to be taught by my mother the following year and they identified me as her offspring and wanted a word. I was nervous. It came as such a relief to be told they were so delighted to be getting taught by Mrs Ross and were at pains to tell me how happy they were. The journey went a little better than expected.
I’ve been thinking about parents and children a lot over these last few weeks. In Nashville we spent a fascinating evening with Del Bryant as he told us the remarkable story of his parents Felice and Boudleaux Bryant and their ground breaking songwriting career. The pride of a man towards his folks was palpable. Similarly, later in the same visit, I spent some time with Gordon Kennedy as he told me stories of his father Jerry and his role as a Nashville Cat as well as producing some of the seminal 60’s country records. These are tales we hope to tell in full over the coming months.
Meantime we caught up with one of Nashville’s most interesting families. Marcus Hummon is a great musician and songwriter who has written massive hits for The Dixie Chicks and Rascal Flatts for which he was nominated twice for Grammy, winning once. A few weeks ago we caught up with his son Levi when he visited Glasgow. Levi’s music career is just taking off and we’ve been enjoying playing his gorgeous single, ‘Love Heals,’ a duet with a duet with Alison Krauss.
Love Heals is the motto of Levi’s mother, Becca Stevens’, charity Thistle Farms. You may have heard me talk to Becca on my Sunday Morning special from Nashville a couple of weeks ago. An Episcopal Priest, Becca responded to the need of women she encountered in Music City who were struggling to re connect after penal sentences.
Combatting a wide range of problems she established safe houses and a social enterprise which allowed them to find a settled home and work pattern in an otherwise disrupted life. It was at a charity night for Thistle Farms that her son, Levi and her husband, Marcus had the idea of writing the anthem, ‘Love Heals’ and releasing the song for the benefit of the project. On Tuesday we talk to Marcus, hear Levi in session and you will discover their remarkable story.
Elsewhere we will celebrate Kacey Musgraves‘ position of queen of all she surveys by playing you some of her current collaborations and another gem from Golden Hour. We’ll introduce you to the joys of The Brummies, Sarah Shook and play you the man Nashville passed on and Jack White believed in, Joshua Hedley.
All in two hours? We’ll try but we’ll be starting sharp at five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland this Tuesday evening. Join me if you can.