Ever been to a ’round?’ When I first went to Nashville almost four years ago one of the things on my ‘to do’ list was to witness a ’round’ at The Bluebird Cafe. People had told me about the place and I’d heard a lot about how, on any given evening, you could hear the top Nashville song -writers (but not people who are household names) perform their songs.(which might well be very familiar indeed!)
The structure of the round is very simple. Four song writers sit in a circle and one after another they perform songs. Sometimes they know each other so you’ll experience them singing harmony or doing a solo on another’s performance. Often – and they seem to enjoy this as much – they sit, listen and watch. So for the audience there’s the joy of hearing the songs in their simplest format and the joy of noting how much respect is paid by the others.
I think I got very lucky first time around. Since being at that night at The Bluebird I’ve met three of the performers and none of them remembers who the fourth guy was – though he was very good indeed. The other three were Mark Selby, Tia Sillers (above) and Gretchen Peters. I have already recalled a few times how I sat there in the dark at The Bluebird, tears running down my face such was the power of the song all these thousands of miles from home.
Now I’m not promising you that on Friday night, but I can tell you we will structure Another Country to be as close to the atmosphere of The Bluebird as we can. We will be joined by Madison Violet, Pete Molinari and Raul Malo. Davie Scott from The Pearlfishers will join me for some of my own songs and are all going to play a favourite song by Bob Dylan as we celebrate his 70th year. Pretty good huh?
If you want more Celtic Connections don’t forget about my Radio 2 Highlights show each Wednesday (you can catch the most recent on the i player now) over the next three weeks. If you want to see some of the performers in action then I’ll be presenting BBC Scotland’s Highlights show this Sunday at 11 p.m on BBC2.