Shall we start with the mercy first?

Phil Madeira is a Nashville songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He has become one of Emmylou Harris’s Red Dirt Boys these last few years. You can see him action with Emmylou on this week’s NPR’s Prairie Home Companion from The Ryman in Music City.

A couple of years back he found himself watching an American TV Evangelist so full of hatred and xenophobia (and no doubt a few other phobias)  he wondered aloud, ‘what if people actually discovered God was Love?’ His wondering led to him creating Mercyland – Hymns For The Rest Of Us an album of songs with artists including Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller, The Civil Wars and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. On Friday we’ll play some of the music, find out how Phil got all these people involved and what he asked them to come up with in the first place. On Sunday I’ll talk to Phil more about why he felt it so necessary to ask the question in the first place and, yes, I’ll play you some more songs too.

I’ll also have a conversation with one of the AC’s favourite artistes: Laura Veirs. (whatever happened to that ‘i’ before ‘e’ rule?) Laura is from Oregon and we loved her July Flame record a lot and since she and her husband Tucker Martine (our fave producer) have had their first baby we have also grown to love Laura’s album of children’s songs, ‘Tumblebee.’ We talk Tucker, tumbles and Carole Kay with her on Friday night.


We will also celebrate some great new music from Don Williams, Jack White and er…..The Chieftains (but they have T Bone Burnett and Bon Iver in tow). It’s Willie Nelson’s birthday next week and we’ll celebrate that early with a great new song from next month’s new release.

We will also pay tribute to this man:

Chris Ethridge not only played in two of the bands who gave us Country Rock but also wrote some of the songs most associated with that great flowering of sixties music. It all starts on Friday evening at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.


This Sunday…

….will be my last for a few months so I hope you can join me. I have already mentioned I’ll be talking to Phil Madeira but you will need to get up early to hear about the life of Helena Kennedy. Barrister, Dame, Civil Rights activist and all round good-egg, Helena joins me to talk about her early life in Glasgow and her many battles for justice in court and the House of Lords.

I will also be talking with the director Sara Ishaq about her amazing film documentary, Karama Has No Walls. 

This was filmed during the brutal crushing of the Yemeni uprising last year. We’ll hear from Anne Ellis about Bahai art and we’ll discuss how Roman Catholic laity are facing up to the challenges they face squaring belief and practice in modern, changing times. We’ll play some great music too…

See you Sunday at seven on BBC Radio Scotland.