It’s always great to get to the end of something. The moment the record goes to the mastering studio, the last link on the radio, the turkey carcass becoming turkey soup…you know the kind of thing. We all sighed with collective relief when the last seconds of 2020 ticked their way out.
We begin this new year with a small sprig of hope added into our mix. But, and it’s a big but, we know for sure life is going to get tougher before it gets any easier for any of us. I tell myself and remind my children that their grandparents and great grandparents faced worse and with added menace in the two conflicts of the last century. This morning I had a long conversation with a member of my extended family who would be letting off celebratory fireworks if the pandemic was his only hurdle. For some folk troubles come not as single spies, but in battalions.
So for these reasons and many more beside I present myself as someone who is relatively free of care. I have a warm house, a new cat and shelves of great recordings which, if played consecutively, would outlast any lockdown. I intend to keep listening to all of them as I have been recommending to anyone who would listen during the last ten months.
There have been some worthy additions over the last couple of weeks however. My Yuletide Birthday and Christmas Day itself brought new vinyl joy into my life. My good producer, Richard Murdoch, found me the perfect gift: an album I have long regretted not buying from a second hand store in Nashville a few years back, Bobby Womack’s BW Goes C & W is now in my collection. My wife gave me Ray Charles Modern Sounds in Country Music Volumes 1 and 2 and on Christmas Day I received From Elvis in Nashville, the album I’ve been going on and on about to everyone. Each one is on vinyl and I intend to share at least one of the records on this week’s show.
It’s not that important and it’s not even necessary but music and the time we get to listen to it is possibly the thing that might get us through this damned time. For me it’s the songs which take me back to any time of my life and these times will be no different. On this week’s AC therefore we will bring you Steve Earle interpreted by Waylon Jennings and Justin Townes interpreted by his father as well as Justin himself. We’ll bring you Valerie June and The Indigo Girls and something new from Scotland by Kerri Watt.
Two hours of country music won’t solve any of your problems but it might make them a little easier to face. Join me live from five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland this Tuesday evening or anytime soon on BBC Sounds.