God gave me you for the ups and downs, God gave me you for the days I’m down, and when I think I’ve lost my way there are no words left to say, it’s true…..God Gave Me You.

Now how comforting was that to Asma Assad as she listened to the song her murderous husband sent her recently via i tunes? Poor old Blake Shelton 

(for it was his recording of God Gave Me You) – can’t imagine he’d ever have imagined his song would be bought by a Syrian dictator, but it was. It’s one of the odd things of the modern world. Music gets everywhere.

David Pratt (the gifted Sunday Herald Foreign Editor) told me a story a while back about sheltering from blasts in the back of beyond one day beneath a video screen that was playing our Twist and Shout video.

There’s no control over these things of course. We’ve all been somewhere abroad and heard the unlikeliest songs in the weirdest of places. The internet has helped but it all started as soon as someone cut a record and people started shipping them out. The story goes that Northern Soul started around the north west of England as old deleted soul records were used as ships ballast on boats coming in to Liverpool docks.


That music gets out – there can be no question, and this week on Another Country we celebrate the fact that musicians all listen to each other too. We’ll have a few Punch Brothers in conversation talking about their brilliant new album. They’ll describe how they ‘bluegrass’ an electronic Radiohead song and Chris Thile will describe how a nearly overlooked riff became the key to their brilliant opening song “Movement and Location” from “Who’s Feeling Young Now.” You’ll hear the brothers live from their concert at Glasgow’s ABC in January and I’m sure you’ll agree they have made one of the albums of 2012 that will be hard to beat.

We’ll also have lots of wonderful new things for you… from The Alabama Shakes, Craig (Hold Steady) Finn (who’s in town Saturday)
My Darling Clementine, Grizzly Bear and from that band the first solo offering from Daniel Rossen – which is great. Dean Owens new album comes out this week too so we’ll be playing an appropriate song for this time of year. Oh, and did I mention Marty Robbins? Mr Murdoch will have looked out some significant treasures from the BBC archive too because, as we never forget, we love country music.

It all starts at five past eight on Friday evening on BBC Radio Scotland. Do join us…

On Sunday……

This week I’ll be talking to academic Milja Radovic about her life in the former Yugoslavia during the war of the early 1990’s, and the challenge of being a woman studying theology in a very orthodox climate. Now based in Scotland she talks about her involvement in a project to prevent the trafficking of women from her former homeland.

With Mitt Romney still leading the Republican nomination campaign it’s time to test your knowledge of the Mormon faith. Gary King Griffiths, President of the Church of Latter Day Saints Scotland Ireland Mission and Sister Holly Parks join us to debunk some of the myths surrounding the Mormons.



Funerals are very personal affairs but how do you conduct a dignified service for someone with no family or friends to claim them? The Reverend Alex McAspurren has increasingly performed such services in recent years. He joins us to reveal some of the challenges faced by those who carry out council funerals.

In his book, ‘Everyday Enlightenment’, one of the world’s most influential Buddhists, His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, offers unique guidance for spiritual fulfilment in our busy Western lives. As well as leading “eco-journeys” pilgrimages he’s a strong advocate of women’s rights; we’ll hear about his association with the nuns who practice daily Kung Fu.

It’s currently Make a Will fortnight when we’re encouraged to draw up a legal document for the benefit of those we leave behind. But what if you want to leave a legacy that’s more than just your worldly possessions? We hear about the ancient Jewish tradition ofethical wills and the passing on of personal wisdom.

And of course I will play you some great music…listen out for Prince, William De Vaughan, The Beach Boys and Alison Krauss as we get Mothers’ Day of to a gentle, happy start. All from Seven on Sunday morning, BBC Radio Scotland.