What is it about songs? Why is it they can have such a deep impact on your emotional wellbeing? Sometimes it’s like falling in love; there’s no rhyme or reason, it’s simply that you’ve heard a song and you really just need to hear it again.
That’s why, I suppose I enjoy playing music on the radio and when push comes to shove I’d always call myself a songwriter over any of the other job titles I might claim. Songwriters are good people to be around. Oddly enough I really hadn’t hung out with that many until midway into my career I signed a publishing deal that involved me doing a lot more co writing. The first time I was put together with another writer my publisher suggested I go up to Highgate in North London and spend a bit of time with Charlie Dore.
I can still remember the first of many visits to Charlie’s place in the early 2000’s as she led me by the hand through the weird world of the cowrite. She taught me what to expect, what to ignore and how to listen to what was happening in the room. I learned to re draft, to spend a bit of time on the song and I learned to expand my own expectations of what a song can and cannot do. It only made me fall in love more with song.
Over these last twenty years or so Charlie and I have remained good friends and it has been a joy to play her music on the wireless in that time. A few years after we met she returned to making her own music as a solo artist, which is how she’d started a good few years before. Charlie was known for her big radio song, ‘Pilot of The Airwaves’ which had been successful in the US and the UK. This had ultimately led to her career as a songwriter penning hits for Tina Turner, Celine Dion and George Harrison. Stepping into her studio to see these gold discs adorning the walls was a moment I won’t forget.
Over the last ten years or so, Charlie has made a series of beautiful records which aren’t quite folk or pop but happily could easily be described and embraced by the ever helpful Americana genre. Indeed, Charlie will tell you that her earlier career was closer to country music until the label who’d signed her on that very basis decided it had all got a little too country!
On this week’s AC we are welcoming Charlie to the studio to play songs from her most recent album, Like Animals, and pick some country/Americana faves for the show. She’ll be performing alongside her own regular writing and recording collaborator Julian Littman and bringing their music shop assortment of instruments with them. It will be a magical two hours where you can hear Charlie live and hear some great picks including tracks from Willie Nelson, Shawn Colvin and The Carter Family.
It all starts at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland or whenever you fancy listening in on BBC Sounds. Either way do join me if you can.