By (what seemed) sheer chance my car decided to pack in on Friday morning. We’d already done the Easter climb up Ben A’an hours before the mad rush of central belters came nose to tail to escape the city. We were yards from home, three of my grown up kids, the dog and me and the car decided enough was enough. I can’t ever say these things are fortuitous but in retrospect it was the best thing that could have happened on this beautiful holiday weekend. I got the jalopy home and parked it up in waiting for the good Andy to open his garage on Tuesday morning.
It all meant I spent most of the weekend not far from my own front door. Even now I feel as if I want it to continue. It’s after nine in the evening and I’m just in from pottering round in the garden. The windows are open and the birds are celebrating evensong as the bats, who’ve taken up residence, circle their twilight aerobatic display one more time. I’ve turned the music off now and opened all the windows to surround myself with the sound of high spring. I long for it to come in the long, dark winter and equally I rejoice at its arrival. In the past I’ve found myself away from home in these weeks and I’ve vowed never to make that mistake again.
I love the energy of spring. Stand still and sometimes it feels it may trample over you. ‘You can never hold it back’, Tom Waits tells me and many years ago I first encountered Hopkins, the Jesuit poet who wondered aloud, ‘what is all this juice and all this joy?’ Sometimes it’s in the relentless will of the world to blossom into life from the unlikeliest of places that I take most comfort.
My enforced staycation meant I was never far from music too. Each week we face the dilemma of what to play and what to leave out. Increasingly I feel I’m leaving gems aside as new things have come in and, rudely, grabbed my attention. But there shall be gems: Scotland’s own King of Birds, Jim Lauderdale, Lauren Jenkins and George Strait. From Devon, William The Conqueror and from New York City the return of Leslie Mendelson and the return of last year’s discovery, Angelina with a brand new project.
We’ll also welcome a guest I’ve been needing to catch up with for a good while now. Marisa Moss works for Billboard, Rolling Stone and Nashville Scene. For a good while I’ve followed her on twitter as she chastises and encourages Country Radio to pay proper attention to female talent. She’s also a huge fan of country music and she, like the best of us, has eclectic taste. I spoke to her last week and recorded a conversation that takes in ‘Tomato Gate’, ‘Old Country Road’ and Margo Price‘s twitter feed. You will love her enthusiasm and her humour and she picks some blisteringly great new acts she’s been listening to. It’s a packed show and we’re live from 9 p.m. on BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can.
All year round I present a weekly program called Another Country which goes out every Tuesday evening at 8 p.m. You can find the show on BBC Radio Scotland.
Occasionally you'll find me on BBC Radio 2 with my New Tradition.
I also make special programs about artists whose music has inspired me; Ricky Ross Meets... is on BBC Radio Scotland.
You can listen to previous versions of all these shows via BBC Sounds.