For people of my generation it’s very easy to remember where we were when we heard President John Kennedy had been shot. In my case I was 5 years old (a month a way from my 6th birthday) and in the back of my Dad’s car. A knock on the window came from a neighbour and a friend. We’d been at the Bible Band – a children’s church meeting led by my Dad at the Gospel Hall every Friday night – and we were coming home as  my Dad rolled down the window to Mr Harkness. ‘President Kennedy’s been shot.’ I’m not sure I knew who he was but by Ten O”Clock I had become brutally aware. We were transfixed as we watched the news reel over and over again. Even on our blurred black and white TV it was very clear that something terrible had happened.

So on Friday we’ll remember those times and play some of the songs of the time and some of the artistic responses from the country community. It’s worth remembering too that (as you well know) the implications from that dreadful day in Dallas rolled on for years to come.

We’ll also be in the presence of this man:


We’ve played Josh Ritter’s records before on the AC. His recent album however marked a real departure as he wrote about his own personal circumstances in a  sometimes painful, but very honest, way. Josh’s recent divorce from singer Dawn landes means he’s another artist to have written a ‘divorce’ album. There have been a few – and some great listens. I’m pleased to say Josh’s hits the quality threshold but avoids the bitterness marker. He took his time and found a creative way out. He talks all this and much more in a fascinating interview he gave to us a few weeks ago when he was in Glasgow to play at The Old Fruit Market. He also recorded some songs for the Culture Studio which they’ve been good enough to share with us too.

We have new music from The Mermaids (again!), Southern and The Lone Bellow. We’ll also play a highlight from a run of three shows Bob Dylan gave in the Clyde Auditorium this week. Everyone delights in telling you how bad Bob can be in concert. I went with my wife and we both loved it. An astonishingly great band playing with the greatest living artist in brilliant voice with, to my mind, a great selection of songs. What could be better? In my view anyway, nothing that I’ve seen this year.


It’s Another Country on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday evening from five past eight.


On Sunday


I will spend the first part of the programme talking to Leila Abouleila about her literally travels which have taken her from Sudan to Aberdeen. Her novel, ‘Lyrics Alley’ is a moving story about a family caught between Khartoum and Cairo towards the end of British Rule. It’s a fascinating insight into colonialism and the power of poetry. (as well as many other things)



We’ll talk to Alister McGrath about his new biography of C.S. Lewis who’s death was probably overshadowed by the sudden passing of JFK on the same day. We’re looking at Domestic Abuse. There’s a 16 days of activism to end violence against women campaign, this is global, but it coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Edinburgh and Glasgow branches of Scottish Women’s Aid……so how much has really changed in Scotland?

We’ll also find out what you study when you explore the ‘theology of Bruce Springsteen.’ (frankly I wouldn’t care as long as, at some point, I got to listen to this…….

Music from Joni Mitchell, Andrew Gold, Nina Simone and Beyonce´ too.


And finally……. We had a recent story about the John Byrne Awards. Here’s the news about the winner:

It all starts on Sunday Morning on BBC Radio Scotland at five past seven. Join me if you can.