Thanks for comments and info during the show last night. Norrie sent me that photograph. Gosh, it would make Madonna blush.
We’ve got a great interview from Mark Hamilton from Woodpigeon who explains everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the West Lothian Bus Service. We have an Unsung album so good and so obscure that you’ll have to listen to the show because there’s no chance of finding it in the shops. (shops?)
We have new music from The Gaslight Anthem who’ve gone from New Jersey obscurity to a date opening for Brooooooce in Hyde Park this summer. All that and, if that isn’t enough, we’ll stop in Oregon and stretch our legs a little. See you Tuesday at 8.
Thanks to Norrie for blogging the E St News.
Let’s have a little re cap here…. it’s a long time since Bruce Springsteen and The E St Band played in Scotland. If memory serves me correctly, and it undoubtedly won’t, I don’t think he’s played here since he toured with The River album in 1981 or so. If not then I’ve wasted a lot of energy seeing him elsewhere!
In case you don’t know what I’m talking about then I should point out to you that Bruce and Band will be appearing at Hampden Park on July 14th. (it’s Tuesday night I think but we don’t have Another Country duties for) So what’s the fuss?
Well I’ll tell you. There’s some things you should probably know about me. I’ve done enough gigs in enough sticky floored rock toilets to never want to darken the doors of any of them again – least of all pay for the privilege. I’m on record as saying I wouldn’t go to see David Bowie play in the park across the road if there was something good on the telly. (and there’s never anything good on the telly!) You would have to pay me to go to Glastonbury – someone once did and that’s the only time I went – and given that I have a duty to go to gigs by pals/colleagues/relatives/co writers/ up and coming artists/on the way out artists…..you get the idea…..going to a gig can feel a little less than a night out and something closer feeling you’ve just remembered you’ve got detention as you’re running out the school gates. That’s why I never really invite my pals to my own gigs. I always imagine they must have a hundred other things they’d rather be doing that night. But there are certain gigs you really want to go to – you’ll know them, you’ve been to loads of them.
Maybe there are ones you can’t miss.These supposed giants of stadium rock – you know the usual suspects. You’ll perhaps even think that you should spend your hard-earned cash on one of the big pop tours – fill in the missing names – or you’ll see an obscure gig with 75 other people that you know everyone will be jealous of within a few months. There will be nights when you’ll be yards away from legends – you might even talk to them or they might sing just for you – or you might be lucky enough to see an artist who’ll probably never tour again. All of these events are worth writing home about. But none will be in the near realm of just one night on E St my friends.
I say this as the man who spent two of his first 3 nights in New York City in Madison Square Gardens watching the Tunnel of Love tour or as someone who drove with his good friend The Swan to Old Trafford cricket ground a few years back to witness the Rising Tour and yet again last winter as a special birthday event with my wife at the 02 in London for some live Magic. After all of these nights I didn’t want to write home. Oh no. I wanted to take my life apart and start all over again. And, let’s face it, I usually had a long journey home to think things through.
I won’t bore you by explaining all the reasons for this; just take it from me that if you’re planning to spend Bastille Day in France, or you think you might be watching Wimbledon or your neighbour is having a barbecue or you’re getting married…..cancel it.
This gig is one more last chance to see the heart-stopping, pants-dropping, hard-rocking, booty-shaking, earth-quaking, nerve-breaking, Viagra-taking history-making, legendary … E-STREET BAND! I think you should take it. Have I made this quite clear?
The last comment on the blog is, sadly, all too true. It seems Buddy Miller is recovering from some major heart surgery in a Baltimore hospital. We know this because we were planning to make Buddy a special guest on a show next month. So, thank you Norrie for sharing the info and rest assured we’ll be playing a wonderful new Buddy song on the show tonight.
I hope I don’t curse Dan Auerbach by raving about his album as much as I did Buddy’s! It is simply, and only so far, the best record of the year. It arrived here at the hoose when I returned from a foreign sojourn on Sunday and since then I have played it constantly. There are two many stand out tracks to mention here but ‘I Want Some More,’ ‘When The Night Comes’ and ‘Keep It Hid’ (the title track) will keep you happy. We’ll have a new Dan song on the show too tonight too. But let me lead you to our main event.
Towards the final week of Celtic Connections we had a visit from Mary Gaultier. (pronounced Go-Shay) I knew Mary’s name from my friend Tom Jutz who used to be her guitarist. On last year’s Another Country we played ‘I Drink’, Mary’s painfully honest confessional about her drinking days. Tonight she talks about these days, her extensive writing for others, her live work and her on going remarkable life. For those of you who’ve always felt they should be singing, song-writing or involved in some way in making music but have left it too late – an encounter with Mary may give you courage to believe all is not lost. She only picked up the guitar at 35 after over coming a list of personal set backs that would have discouraged the most optimistic of us. I’ll let Mary fill you in on the details during the show.
Here’s a couple of questions for you: We’re compiling our Unsung albums. This usually means we pick an album that may have passed under the radar but, effectively, led you to believe there was more to Country music than you had hitherto given it credit for. Let me know if there are albums we should be listening to that we’ve overlooked too. Secondly, I’ve been trying to think of the country performances that are truly indispensable. When everyone got into KD Lang, Lyle Lovett and Steve Earle because they were ‘new,’ did some old stuff get forgotten? I’d like to hear about some of your recommendations of Country Classics. If the names Conway, Merle, Waylon, Loretta or Connie are mentioned then so much the better.
Let me make a start: I Fall To Pieces by Patsy Cline. (I think the reason for Patsy and this song is my (perhaps false) memory of that being a stand out moment in Coal Miner’s Daughter – the film which made me realise I wanted to hear much more country.
Let me know on the blog or live tonight from 8.
Up early this morning and I hear something wonderful on the Radio. After a bit of searching I find out it’s Dan Auerbach’s (Black Keys) new single. There’s some Black keys and also Jessica Lee Mayfield on Tuesday’s show. Jessica sings back up on last year’s (rightly popular) Black keys album and Dan has produced her new album as well as finding time to bring out his own. if you want something done, ask a busy man.
In truth I’m travelling as I write this and experiencing the wide extremes of world weather. Last week – for those of you not in the UK – we experienced the kind of winter we’d nearly forgotten about. the snow lay in our garden for a week and even my children began to weary of the white landscape. I have to say that I have not yet reached an age – I fear I may never – when I mutter oaths about snow. To my parents it was always a problem – roads closed, pipes frozen and driveways blocked. They even moved house at one point because their hilly approach road became a down hill slope in the winter. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had a proper job or I’ve never accepted citizenship of some traditional kind but I can’t help but love the winter weather. In Glasgow, where I’ve lived for the last 25 years or more snow is so much nicer than traditional winter fair – wind and rain.
Whatever is outside your window this Tuesday at 8 you can cheerfully ignore knowing that we’ll be taking you to some great musical places. Allow yourself to come with us to Virginia
never been there myself – and experience the diversity of music in that most established of US states. We have a career-changing Unsung album to play you and some new material that won’t be available in the shops (record shops??) for a few weeks yet. Chiefly and most excitingly for me is the new album by Buddy and Julie Miller. If you feel intimidated because you know very little about country or Americana music let me assure you of this: two years ago, when I first went to Nashville, I worked with Phil Madeira who told me he played with a guy called Buddy Miller. This meant nothing to me until I did some research and realised that Buddy was at the epicenter of everything. Writer, producer and guitarist to the stars (recent Plant/Krauss tour) Buddy is central to all things truly country. His new album `(with wife Julie) is going to be one of this year’s key releases and I predict a nomination in the Americana awards come late summer. Another Country will be around when the awards are given out this year so stay tuned. Catch you on Tuesday at 8.
Here’s the thing. There’s so much music floating around my head I need to offload
it somewhere. Roll on Tuesday night. Another Country has a new night and once more we get some well worn jeans and a plaid shirt round the Radio Scotland studios.
My producer, Richard Murdoch, and myself have been sending excited e mails to each other and doing some solid preparation for an extended eight week run of programmes. Thanks to a number of great artists coming into Glasgow over the last few weeks we have a great list of guests but hey, you can read all that on the main page. What have you been up to Ricky my old friend I hear you ask?
In October I was actually on my way to Nashville but the day until I suffered my first ‘rock n roll bizarre gardening accident’ involving a falling vase, a large head (mine) and a misplaced hand. The net result was a stookie and 5 weeks of enforced down-time. As soon as I got the plaster off I was eased into a tour bus with the other Blue Deacons and headed out across the UK as guest of Simple Minds. This was great fun. I have also spent some time in Sweden song-writing with the great Tobias Froberg.
However I’d like to thank Dawn Munro and Victoria McArthur from BBC Scotland for their radio-therapy. Just when I thought I was no use to man nor beast and was finding it difficult to complete the simplest of tasks, they caught me up in a documentary about the late Joan Eardley. It was a real joy to listen to stories of people who knew Joan and spend a lot of time just looking at paintings.
Just to get things started for the dialogue we will no doubt have during the shows, here’s a list of recent albums and artist I’ve been enjoying: If you don’t know them I’m sure you’ll become familiar with some of them over the next few weeks. Feel free to weigh in with some of your own recent faves.
J Tillman – Vacilando Territory Blues, Bon Iver – Blood Bank, The Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavillion, Wood Pigeon – Songbook,
I watched Once and have to say the songs on the soundtrack by Glem Hansard and Marketa Irglova are beautiful. The Devon Sproule and Iron and Wine recent albums still give me plenty of joy. There’s lots of good music from this side of the water too but that’s another show!
oh…. and George Jones. He just gets better with every listen.
We opened the show last night with the song that’s been chosen to lead off Liverpool 8 – Liverpool as European City of Culture 2008. On paper the song doesn’t look promising. The artist is the one and only Ringo Starr and despite past achievements he’s hardly been someone synonymous with creativity over the last few weeks. However it is a wholly appropriate choice given the great honesty and heart warming nostalgia within the song. The song is a brief synopsis of Ringo’s travels and ends with the axiomatic chorus, “Liverpool I love you..” I think Liverpool still loves Ringo.
There is something about the Beatles which gets into the soul of any sixties child. Most of the time we have a detached over view of modern music. Apart from the early days of rock n roll we have watched every new phase come and go. In my case this has generally brought immense pleasure. Joy to see new things coming and relief to see something else coming in from the left to sweep it away. Now there’s a contented happiness that the best of all new things are remembered and every night this week we celebrate all of that. However this distanced overview is put aside when the subject of The Beatles comes along. Suddenly the world-weary cynic becomes a bright-eyed cub scout willing to follow any daft old trail through the forest. I’m like that. Ringo only needs to sing the lines “John, Paul, Me and my friend John” and I’m back in the attic staring at my big sister’s posters from the Jackie. They didn’t have surnames then and they don’t need them now. I always like to think the Beatles were a cut above every other band but I can’t honestly tell you if it’s true or not because I’m far too biased to ever make a reasonable assessment. They, in their turn, have been too big a presence in my life to ever fade into some kind of perspective.
After we played the Ringo song last night I found myself announcing Ringo’s gig in Liverpool on January 12th and saying I’d like to be there…….me, the man who wouldn’t cross the park to see David Bowie if Hell’s Kitchen was on the telly……go to Liverpool to see a gig…by a drummer? You see it’s that old perspective thing. It’s the Beatles and I have none.
I’m back in the BBC tonight to sit in for Iain Anderson for a week. I’m very much looking forward to it though I’m always aware that sitting in for someone means the audience at home will be impatient to hear the main man as soon as possible. I should think so too. Iain is a great communicator and the success of his show is down to his ability to make you feel as if he’s only talking to you. Looking forward too to spending sometime on board the Hesperus (is that how they spell it?) with Much Ado and The Professor.
I’m just back from the Deacon Blue tour which wound up on Sunday at Hammersmith Apollo in London. It was, as always, an exhausting but increasingly exhilarating few weeks. Thank you for coming if you came. If you didn’t – fear not there’s going to be a film of the show, and if you can’t wait for that you can find out via our website how to buy official bootlegs of four of the gigs.
Interesting too to read people’s comments. Often the atmosphere is much debated. I find this interesting as we often don’t pick up the nuances of particular venues or groups of people. What I would say is this: I love shows where people are wanting to be part of the show, but I love it as much when audiences listen to what you have to play. There’s no sight worse for me than looking out into a theatre to see people’s tails as they head for the bar knowing you’re about to do a song they don’t know. Personally, I love going to shows where I hear things I don’t know or know less well – it makes me go home and love them again or discover them for myself. So to play in Manchester – in a great rock n roll venue – but also to people who love to listen is a joy. Having a ‘mad’ audience in front of you can be a mixed blessing, and exciting though it is, it isn’t always what I’d prefer.
Whichever audience you were please believe me when I tell you you were always great. Whatever night you came I honestly know we gave you the best we had to give on the night. Each show was very special and I can’t really pick out one
more than any other – though we all felt Dublin was a real high as it reminded us of the old days at The Barrowlands. It’s a long time since we’ve played properly there – last year was a botched job as the venue had moved – so to go and give it our best shot was a real pleasure.
So tonight I’ll be back to playing songs and talking with songwriters about songwriting. What could be better than that? If you’re in your car or near a computer or a radio between 10.30 and 12.30 tonight (St Andrews Day/30th November) join me. I’d love to hear from you if you want to mail, text or blog!
This is my last week on the Late Lounge. Have I enjoyed it? Yes, hugely.
Here’s the funny thing: The thing I’ve enjoyed most is the feeling that gathered round the glowing valves of any given evening is a community of people listening into the Late Lounge. Hearing your stories and some of you brilliant jokes (albeit sometimes unbroadcastable!) has made it very worthwhile. Knowing that people like hearing things they haven’t heard in a while or are enjoying new things is always very satisfying.
So thank you to you folk for making the show an interactive delight…for me if not for the listeners! There have been some great people who helped me through. Honourable mentions to Shona, Muslim, Anne, Mark and Richard. Big thanks to Tony Currie for his late night bonhomie and a huge thank you to Barbara Wallace and Sushil Dade for all their producing skills. I do want to give a particular mention to the woman who really created the Live Lounge. Roslyn McCuish I salute you, my dear. Go off and have yourself a lovely holiday.
After I return from my holiday I am going to enjoy getting my late evenings back. The one great thing you can say about the Scottish summer is that it may not be the warmest but the evenings do go on a little longer. When/if the weather does turn a little warmer we will celebrate it by hanging around in our garden or someone else’s until nearly midnight when the sky will sometimes still look like it has some light left in it. Wonderful. On these nights I’ll set off round the park and give my dog the late night walk she has been denied for these six weeks. I’ll do some reading which has also disappeared from my day and I’ll switch on the digital radio I got for my Christmas and listen to some great singer songwriters on Iain Anderson. You never know, I met get to hear some of my favourite records and some that I’ve long forgotten.
I know one or two of you have asked if I’d carry on blogging when the Late Lounge ends. I’m afraid I won’t. I’m off on holiday for one thing and for another I have completely run out of things to blog about! However I’ll do a deal: if I ever lounge around at BBC Scotland again I’ll open up the blog and we can all do it again. I have so many things to complete before I get away on my holidays that this is my last entry. I hope you have a great summer. I’ll be doing a weekly show called Ricky’s American Tunes in the early autumn and be back on the road in November. I hope I can meet some of you then. Thanks for taking part. All the very best
T, a note that follows soh…
Apart from all the festival ephemera there was some fine music in the park. The best moments for me were in the Pet Sounds arena. It’s actually a big tent which means the sound is very good and there is considerably less mud underfoot.
I saw Albert Hammond Jr. This was a real joy. Using exactly the same line up as his other band but moving to centre stage he played a fabulous hour on Saturday afternoon. It was one of the best noises I have heard for ages. Three great guitarists all making electric guitars sound like they should sound; very loud and very exciting. I didn’t know Albert’s solo album but that mattered little. I enjoyed his set immensely and now will go off and buy the record.
We needed a wee seat after that but we got ourselves in front of the stage for The Arcade Fire. I love this group. I loved the first album and bought the new one as soon as it came out and have been playing it all year. Boy, was I disappointed in their show. Firstly it sounded like listening to an Arcade Fire album being played in the next room while you stick your head under the surface of your bath water. I suppose if it had sounded ok I could ignore the “look at me now” antics and the endless swapping of instruments. But it didn’t; and I couldn’t.
We headed back to the big tent to see Rufus Wainwright who was singing beautifully. We didn’t get to see all of his show but what we saw sounded very good. Then came Brian.
To see Brian Wilson and his band play at T in the park is a real joy. It was quite moving to hear how much these kids in their teens and twenties loved a guy who is a hero of their parents. They all knew the songs and they loved them all. In all honesty it didn’t sound as good as it might have, but that was only because the crowd sang along to everything – bless them. Just as you thought he’s sung everything there was to sing he would go into another one…oh I forgot about Help Me Rhonda, how could I have not remembered Do It Again. In fact, Brian, do it again.
All year round I present a weekly program called Another Country which goes out every Tuesday evening at 8pm. Seasonally I also present a Sunday Magazine show called Sunday Mornings with Ricky Ross. You can find both of these shows at BBC Radio Scotland
I also have a show on BBC Radio 2, Ricky Ross's Sunday Soundtrack, where I play the new songs I love and talk through the common themes which have influenced song and music making over the last 100 years.