Tift_Merritt_PictureAs I may have hinted a few weeks ago we have one of these special nights to bring you this Friday. When Tift Merritt came to town in July she became the AC’s most frequent visitor. Every time she comes in we say to her, ‘Come and see us next time,’ and to our delight and constant surprise she says, ‘Yes.’ This time she brought a friend, Eric Heywood, on guitar and together they performed some brilliant live versions from the fabulous current album, Traveling Alone. They also gave us a bonus Hank Williams song but we’ll save that treat for another time. As Tift’s album has been around for nearly a year now, and we’ve spoken about it before we thought we’d widen the discussion a little. So we sat down and chatted about….well, everything. Early albums, brilliant songs from the past ten years and what she remembers about writing them. I hope you’ll find it as interesting as I remember it. But for me, it was a fascinating insight into someone who is a treasure we should all value dearly. Her performance laster that evening  at Oran Mor was as good – and in many sense better – than anything I have seen this year so believe me when I tell you you need to join me for this very special hour.

Before that we’ll celebrate all the music we consider vital on the AC. Bluegrass – Jim Lauderdale and Ricky Skaggs step forward. New and exciting things from Winter Mountain , Daughn Gibson and Zervas and Pepper. Real country from Son Volt and Kitty Wells. How good does that sound?

Join me on Friday evening from 8 on BBC Radio Scotland


‘Tell Them About The Dream Martin’

50 years ago these words were spoken by Sister Mahalia Jackson as she sat behind Dr Martin Luther King at the biggest protest rally of the century in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.

On Sunday we’ll look back at that speech; the context of its impact in those times and the why it was so effective. If it’s a while since you heard it then I recommend you re-watching. It doesn’t take long but in the space of a few short moments it moves from a standard Civil Rights rallying cry into an improvised oratorial masterpiece – some say, never bettered.

On Sundays we get to spend some time looking behind the headlines and this week we’ll talk to some people who have something worth telling us about cyber bullying. You will have heard the tragic stories very recently about young people who are suspected of taking their own lives in response to this phenomenon. How do we police it and who do we turn to if it happens to us? We talk to some people who know.

No one wants to live in poverty. But does it help when the media come in and want to tell your story? We’ve done a bit of that on our show in the past so when does genuine interest melt into voyeurism. There have been a few TV documentaries of late which have been at best, heavy handed. We’ll find out what people mean by ‘poverty porn.’

In the first hour I’ll find all about feminist novelist and journalist Joan Smith whose new book ‘The Public Woman’ has a lot to say about woman’s lives through some very recent examples.


We’ll have music from Frank Sinatra, KT Tunstall, Marie Knight and The Dependable Boys and of course Sister Mahalia Jackson.

It’s all live on Sunday morning from 7 on BBC Radio Scotland

Do you know about the podcast/download? You can subscribe from your usual podcast place and you’ll hear the best of the Sunday show all parcelled up in 40 minutes. You can also go to the BBC Radio Scotland  website to dowload it.