When I arrived at the session there was a palpable excitement in the control room. The Barr Brothers had packed up and gone and I was there to listen and pose some questions.
I knew from the faces of Joanna and Chris (our ace engineers) that something special had happened in studio on that day. Out of the Barrs travelling caravan had come an entire (second hand) music shop of instrumentation from bows to harps and even a bicycle wheel. The session we recorded takes songs from their eponymously titled album and on Friday we will play you these recordings and open up with wonderful sonic world of The Barr Brothers. Friends of our old friends The Low Anthem from their Boston days, the Barrs are now from Montreal and listening to their music and chatting with them I realise that’s a city we need to explore more.
This is one you’ll not want to miss.
There is so much going on in Glasgow just now you’d need to be fleet of foot to catch it all. But if you are a fan of our show you should really check out the Glasgow Americana Festival. Madison Violet, Slaid Cleaves, Israel Nash Gripka are all friends of the AC. Or future guest Laura Cantrell will be supported by next week’s visitor Darden Smith and one of my all time favourites Devon Sproule will be playing my favourite venue, The Glad Cafe in a couple of weeks. And if that is not enough you can beg a ticket (none available now) for the Glasgow Americana tribute to Gram Parsons the same night. Many of the above acts are appearing at that with some special help from our pal Roddy Hart too. As Larry David would say…pretty, pretty good.
So there will be a fair sprinkling of these artists on the show plus some unusual contributors…this may well be the first time the AC has played Frank Black. He has a new spin on Lee Hazelwood and we’ll be delighted to play Marty Robbins I’ll also introduce you to the joys of my old pal Show Biz Niz. Stuart Nisbet is a promoter, guitarist and country music fan. You’ll know the sound of his guitar from his days with The Proclaimers and many others. Many years ago he told me about a plan to record the hymns of Sankey and Moody. He’s actually gone much wider than that but essentially has stuck to the same brief. His father, a travelling preacher, went on preaching tours in the US where the young Niz would travel with him and tune in to country radio stations and hear the lonesome sound of the pedal steel. It’s an instrument he now calls his own and indeed he’s the first man on the list if you’re looking for a player in Scotland. The album is now out – The Gospel According to Mr Niz and we’ll let you hear some of it on Friday. We feature music from John Fullbright, Those Darlings, Gambles and The Jim Jones Revue so it will be quiet, noisy and soulful and will you will be left in no doubt about our on going love of country music. All starts on Friday at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.
Looking forward to the Thriftstore Masterpiece CD getting a spin (the Frank Black track) – about to order my copy.
I’ve been catching up on the show during my time here in sunny Connecticut, where fall is just beginning to show her glorious colours, and I’m happy to report that the AC sounds just as good—and possibly, naturally, even more resonant—from this side of the Atlantic.
The Barr Brothers were great, and this show also reminded me how much I enjoyed “Feeling Mortal” and served as a prompt to pull that album off the shelf when I get home. But it was Laura Veirs’ “America” that instantly caught my ear, and has turned itself into a part-soundtrack for this trip. Great stuff throughout.
Incidentally, the other music that has caught my ear during this trip has been the soundtrack to the excellent “Hatfields & McCoys” mini-series, which I’ve finally got around to watching. “The Long Road Down” and “I Know These Hills” (by Modern West and, yes, therefore featuring Kevin Costner!) are just sublime.