From the 08:30 London Euston to Glasgow Central: The train is barely at Watford and already everyone hates the bloke in Coach B seat 40..yes that’s you sir. The good news is he’s getting off at Preston. The bad news is that’s another 2 hours away.We know that because his ludicrous voice has broadcast it to the entire train as we sit through his pitiful sales conference with his team. As each new colleague/employee/victim comes to the phone they are each addressed as mate. Believe me this guy’s a mobile weapon. Oh no – he works for a mobile phone company – he can talk all day! Two wonderful things happen though: one of these delicious long tunnels which will kill the most resilient of mobilistas and…finally, my ipod and Don Williams. If I ever needed Don to pour oil on troubled waters it was this morning. I’ve looked up and checked…yes….we’ve all gone for that Williams manoeuver..it’s headphones all down the aisle.
I’ve spent the week with some great song writers…step forward, Charlie Dore, Steve Booker and Dan and Rich from The Feeling. My dear friend Charlie – a good friend to the show and one of the funniest people I know – likes to say we spent the day down the song mines searching for nuggets. It’s a good metaphor and funny but like all throw away lines has more than a glimmer of truth to it. It often amazes me how often I step into a studio/room/kitchen/garden room with a fellow songwriter on an uninspired morning and leave after dark with something – albeit not always the great song we hoped for – but a song, we write a song. The only advice I have ever been foolish enough to give to a young songwriter is…finish the song.
This week we get a chance to listen to the songwriter and the singer interacting in different ways. We have the raw surge of Howler, the introspection of Samantha Crain, the joy of Beth Nielson Chapman and even Joni Mitchell covered by Aoife O’Donovan. It’s a theme we’ll explore a little further with Merle Haggard being sung by Suzy Boguss ( I love Suzy…she also came to the rescue in the aforementioned sonic war from B40). We hear from some voices we almost thought had disappeared…good news for Mary Margaret O’Hara, Uncle Tupelo and Lucinda Williams fans.
So it’s all records tonight. Plenty fine new ones and others that will have you scrambling down the back of the sofa for lost change so you can buy one more album you’ve got to have. Finally we recognise a significant anniversary. 100 years since the birth of this man…
He knew how to run a record shop and I bet he wouldn’t have dreamed of ruining anyone’s train journey with a business call. Here’s to you Ernest Tubb.
All this and more this Friday at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland.
Having travelled it a few times now in recent months, I love that train journey from Euston to Glasgow. It courses through some beautiful countryside, and I just find it a wonderful way to travel – other passengers notwithstanding. (I had to share a carriage with Nigel Farage last time around, so be grateful for small mercies.)
I always enjoy when the blog and the show delve into the craft of songwriting itself. And back-to-back records this week? Sounds like a great – if likely expensive! – two hours of radio in store.