I’m trying not to succumb to my life-long desire to start a list. I used to make lists of everything…..albums, gigs, songs, titles, sets  (still do a bit of that), running orders….oh there’s a million bits of useless paper out there somewhere. I do realise it’s a bloke thing and I have to confess my stomach churns now to see these macho music journals dragging out their end of year lists again. Despite our antipathy it seems we men are determined to inflict our litanies on everyone. So in an attempt to sum up the year we have avoided The List. There is no best song/album/gig/producer and no top ten. Indeed there is virtually no science whatsoever but rather a reflection of some of the things which we loved playing the first time and are still enjoying now.

I’ve said it before but one of the things that I find baffling is people’s unwillingness to accept that there are always great new musical things coming along worth celebrating. This year we’ve really enjoyed the return of some favourite artists and discovered a whole lot more. We’ve been in the studio with many of them and marvelled at their musicality and their sheer creative energy. We have rejoiced in the great collaborations may have shared with us – some of them unexpected- and others fulfilling what many of us have desired for a long time. So to all of these artists we say a huge thanks. It still warms my heart to get into AC Towers on a cold Scottish morning and watch a tired troubadour make his or her way, half-asleep up our many floors to AC central. There a guitar case will be unlocked, Mr Murdoch will (Jeeves-like) slip a welcome cup of coffee into a grateful hand, strings will gently be strummed and the magic will start to happen. So many times it’s come to pass and we have so many fine sessions now by so many great artists that listing them would take too long. On behalf of you and us I salute all of them.

In the new year we will return again to new music but for this Friday we’ll simply reflect once more on what a fine year 2012 has been for all things we consider to be country. It all kicks off at five past eight on Friday on BBC Radio Scotland.


On Sunday

It’s that time of year so we will gather together three wise women and I’ll try to let them share their wisdom with you. We’re so pleased to welcome  Rabbi Julia Neuberger (Baroness, Academic and broadcaster), Mona Siddiqui (Professor of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies at the University of Edinburgh) and Sally Foster Fulton, Associate Minister at Dunblane Cathedral and Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council.

We will discuss the issues which they each feel are the most important for the faith communities at this point in 2012. We will do all this and enjoy some wise songs by some wise women too. Personally, I can’t wait and I really do hope you can enjoy this very special hour on Sunday morning.

We could only find one wise man for the first hour unfortunately. However he has some significant wisdom to impart.


Sir Harry Burns has been Scotland’s chief medical officer for seven years now and the demands of a job like that should leave little time for other things. That would be to underestimate the hinterland of Harry. Cyclist, music-lover, Christian, Hispanista, cook…oh we could go on. Did I mention he is the father of six children? I will spend a good part of the first hour talking to Sir Harry about his life and passions and what he has learned about the wellbeing of Scotland in these last few years. He is also bringing in some great music. It all starts at five past seven on Sunday Morning on BBC Radio Scotland.