How’s it going? Here in Scotland it’s a question we ask each other regularly. Along with, ‘yaw right or the great doric, ‘fitlike’ or my favourite from an Aberdeen taxi driver ‘Howryetheday Mannie?’
A polite and passing interest in our neighbours’ health is prerequisite for civil dialogue and we take it badly (up here) when people don’t nod or respond cordially. A friend recently told me how strange it was in Sweden to be offering polite salutations only to be (what my kids term as) ‘patched.’
In these times the question and subsequent answer will no longer be a banal platitude. Everyone now has a story and we, correctly, all fear the worst might happen.
Getting out on the bright winter days after New Year was a great escape for all of us. It seemed we discovered a new walk each day. On one occasion an enthusiastic fellow walker was so keen to get a photo with me (to which I’d agreed) he gave me the full Matt Busby hug. It wasn’t what our esteemed First Minister would have wanted but I felt I couldn’t brush him off. He seemed to need it and, in truth, it worked for me too.
In these times however, it does seem we need to adopt a little bit of Nick Lowe and become cruel to be kind. At the end of 2021 I want all of you listeners still listening in and, in the meantime, we want to bring a little joy back into the proceedings. That means we all need to follow the guidelines and stay safe.
A few years ago, as a ‘sort of’ bet, I suggested to my team that I’d be more than happy to come in one night and simply play my favourite country tracks. I can’t remember when we first instituted the ‘country juke box’ but it quickly became an annual fixture of the radio show. Within a short while we began to ask our guests to pick favourite country songs and it is now customary to make sure we have a selection from every guest on the show.
So I bring you the happy news that the 2021 Country Jukebox goes to air on this week’s show. In truth we are calling it Part One as we have so many recorded selections in the vault and we also felt that this year, and at this time we perhaps all need some familiarity to cheer us up.
On this week’s AC we want to bring you some of my go-to country songs which always make me feel a little better in the space of three minutes. I can’t offer any scientific proof as to the efficacy of all of this of course, but I know that the sound of certain familiar voices make the world seem a little warmer, the distances a little shorter and the worries we all carry feel lighter than they did before the music kicked in.
We have the best possible guests including Kacey Musgraves, Elvis Costello, Ruby Boots and Justin Currie. All of this will be augmented by selections from all the decades of country music right up to the present day. Listen out for, Hank Williams (Snr and Jnr), Waylon Jennings , Dolly Parton, Maddie and Tae and Mindy McCreadie.
This Tuesday night turn off the news and the blues and let the country jukebox make you feel a little bit better about the world. It won’t solve any of our problems but it might just make it all more possible for us to get through another week. We’re on BBC Radio Scotland FM from five past eight and you can find us live or later on BBC Sounds.