This week I get to spend an hour with a man who has produced some of the best records of any genre over the last 15- 20 years: Ethan Johns.
Ethan was in Scotland recently performing solo in record shops (yes there are still some) to promote his new album, “Anamnesis.” On his visit to our studios he explained the title of that album and also why it was so important to visit the record shops in an age of streaming. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Ethan still believes in that wonderful thing, the long player. He doesn’t insist on vinyl but he does want you to listen to his record on a stereo that can play a CD or something that spins at thirty three and a third revolutions per minute.
Last winter he gathered some of his good friends together in his garden shed and made a new record. Nothing unusual about this other than it’s Ethan’s normal ‘day job’ is to be the man on the other side of the window in the control room. So when you hear our conversation on this week’s show you’ll also hear us talk about how he has produced some of your favourite records of all time. Most people reading this blog will own one or two of these: the first few albums by Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Ray LaMontagne and Laura Marling. All recorded, contributed to and produced by Ethan. More recently he worked with White Denim and was midwife to these late great Tom Jones albums from ‘Praise and Blame‘ onwards. I’ve skimmed through the details here and you really need to hear the full conversation to get a sense of the scope and depth of his work.
Apart from producing the albums Ethan is a multi instrumentalist moving through drums, bass, keyboards and guitar on many of these records too. He learned the skills and discipline of all of this from his father, Glyn Johns who also produced many of the records you probably cherish. Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, The Who, Joan Armatrading, The Faces….I could go on….but you can hear more about all of this in the second hour of this week’s AC.
Earlier you’ll hear great new songs from Loretta Lynn, Trampled By Turtles and, as promised last week, some more from the new Ruston Kelly album which is already becoming one of the albums of the year for me. Did I mention we’ll have something from Taylor Swift too? It really is going to be a great night you know. Do join us this Tuesday when you can hear all of this on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine.