Last weekend I had a great run. We had some friends coming round and I was enjoying some time alone with the CD player while cooking in the kitchen. By my side was a tall pile of CD’s sent in to the AC over the previous couple of weeks and still unlistened to. I’d be lying if I told you I was optimistic. I’ve learned to look out for the warning signs…bad sleeves my children laugh at, worrying hair cuts, unheard of labels and that most tricky record sleeve to predict – the self-release. They were all there. Having done this a few years I’ve always become slightly suspicious of the beautiful sleeve too….it sets up such great expectations that can only be bitterly dashed by track 3.

One tactic I have rigidly try to adhere to is my determination to hear the music before I read too much about it. It’s therefore much more of a joy when you discover a musician, producer, songwriter who is familiar after you start to like a record. Last Saturday I thought I was going mad – in a good way. I began a run of great records that didn’t really stop until Monday morning .It was only some long haired backwoodsman from a southern state that finally stopped it. I have to admit that they’d already ticked most of the above warning signs and it would have been a remarkable record to have defied all of that.

So I’m excited to bring a good deal of these records on Friday night. Noah Gunderson‘s album is a joy all the way through and it was tricky picking one song. The album’s called ledges and it was recorded up in the North West of the states where Noah hails from. Another new name to me is Austin Lucas whose Stay Reckless is already out. He’s also coming to play in Scotland soon…I suggest it’s a date you might want to check out. We’ll also hear from English harmony duo Ward Thomas, 19 year old twin sisters from Hampshire who’ve already spent a good bit of time in Music City. As well as all of that we will reintroduce you to these men:


First recommended to us by an artist who supported them on tour a couple of years back, Caitlin Rose, Deer Tick is the project started by Rhode Island’s John McCauley. Now five albums into their career you might expect them to be wizened veterans but are still a very young band whose audience is still discovering them. They love Iggy and understand the roots of country rock brilliantly. Their songs will break your heart then encourage you all just to ‘go to the bar.’ All that is probably expected. Less predictable is the fact that John’s new bride joined them on the session and she is none other than Vanessa Carlton – yes she of A Thousand Miles fame. If I told you they were married by Stevie Nicks you’d probably not believe me either.


If all this is not enough we will celebrate a wonderful return to the studio with a fantastic band by the great Bobby Bare. Mary Gautier joins a host of country stars to pay tribute to Eddy Arnold and we’ll hear what happens when Dave Grohl met The Zac Brown Band. We thought you’d like to hear what Beck‘s been up to. Beck described the record as coming from the tradition of  “California music” and said, “I’m hearing the Byrds, Crosby Stills and Nash, Gram Parsons, Neil Young—the bigger idea of what that sound is to me.” ….sounds like our kind of thing, I think you’ll like it. We’re delighted to let you hear the first track from the new album by Nickel Creek and, in case you wondered, what Dawn Landes had to say about that very public split with Josh Ritter.

It’s all going to happen in two hours and it starts at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland on Friday evening.