Trying to dig a little deeper this week I looked into the background of Nashville’s oldest and most famous radio station WSM I cam across an interesting pointer to the story of why Music City became the centre for country music. It seems the key is in the sheer power of WSM’s reach back in the day. The radio mast – now inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame – was so tall and it’s power so strong that country music and The Grand Old Opry in particular reached people all over the south and midwest of America.
It’s WSM’s AM frequency where you’ll find any resemblance to the country music we play here on the AC. For the other stuff you’d need to check out alternative stations like Lightning 100, where they are advertising the up and coming Grizzly Bear dates and playing people like Patty Griffin, Dr John and The Decembrists and for our other acts we sometimes play you’d perhaps need to find a college radio station. Of course you get all this in the one place and in two hours of commercial free radio on your own BBC. (we all own it)
This week however we will have a taste of the Nashville scene as we host one of our dearest friends, Beth Neilson Chapman live from music row this Friday. Beth has a hundred stories to tell and indeed, she is the most inspiring woman you may hope to meet. Having overcome huge health setbacks she approaches each new album project with an ambition that would defy lesser mortals. Last time round she produced a double album of sacred music from the world’s full list of faiths (well almost!) This time she’s going to space.
I’m also going to ask her if this space travel can explain why she seems to be wrapped in Christmas lights in the above picture….but there will be a reason. Hear Beth sing on the moon, the stars and other matters and join me to hear all her own recent adventures in the first part of our live show this Friday from Nashville.
It’s great to be here but slightly strange to be away from Glasgow when we are hosting one of the most interesting and ambitious singer songwriters to come out of this side of the Atlantic in a long time. I’d like to categorise Anais Mitchell for you but I can only tell you she is someone who fits in perfectly to our show. Her last album was an incredible take on a the Greek myth of Orpheus featuring Bon Iver and Low Anthem guests. (I know we’re getting a little far off country here but go with it, you’ll like it)
This time it’s less of a concept but musically it’s as striking, bold and brilliant as the last album. Anais will be playing songs from ‘Young Man In America” with her travelling ensemble live from Studio One at AC HQ. I’ll be here on Music Row playing music from this great city and telling you a little about what I’ve been up to this week…We don’t have that diamond shaped mast of WSM or the 50,000 watts of power but heck we have FM, Digital and the iplayer…you can’t miss us. It all starts at five past eight on Friday evening on BBC Radio Scotland.
Ah, the power and reach of radio. There’s something about the romance of the AM era and outfits such as WSM, but you can’t quite beat the reach that the medium now has over the ‘net! Incidentally, I’m quite taken with the moniker of “the AC”.
I love much of Beth Nielsen Chapman’s back catalogue but, as a part-time out-and-proud sci-fi geek, I’m particularly interested to hear about this latest project.
Hope you’re enjoying being Stateside, Ricky, and I look forward to capturing a little piece of Nashville through time and space tomorrow night/afternoon…