I’ve been travelling this week. A lot of the time has been spent with some great musicians and writers and I do realise there is really something special about being allowed to make music. My late friend Michael Marra once said to me, ‘No one can stop you making music.’ It was the truest advice I ever received when I was moaning, a long time ago, about something to do with the music business. But as I travelled around this week I remembered the joy of being able to get up in the morning and play the piano or spend some time exploring a chord sequence on a guitar. The thrill of turning on the computer to start creating a track and discovering that it’s nearly time for dinner and you can’t stop working on something because you’re so excited about it. I  hope I never lose sight of that.

Some of the music I’ve heard this week has been in lovely spaces with voices going out into rooms, reaching every possible nook and cranny of the space. I’ve also heard the voices of an audience as they get a song for the first time. That’s a thrill too. On Friday we’ll spend some time thinking about voices too. In this case we’ll think about what happens when family members sing together. We know it works – but we’re often not able to work out why we love it so much. It’s funny where these things start but this week Richard Murdoch got thinking of a very special double act:


The Magic Numbers are back – thank the Lord – and have some great new songs. They are two pairs of brothers and sisters and we thought that double hit would lead us nicely into some other sibling based recordings. Look out for First Aid Kit, The Secret Sisters and our good friends The Mermaids.


Sibling rivalries often take precedence over sibling harmony however so it also gives us a good excuse to celebrate a couple of difficult relationships. The Everlys are one of those but perhaps more intriguingly we will play a new track from the first record Dave and Phil Alvin have made together for 30 years. Given that Dave’s last album included a song called ‘What’s Up With Your Brother’ this is an event of some significance.

Also on the week that saw Maya Angelou slip away from this world we play something she’d have loved.

Finally I started this blog by talking about Michael Marra. As you may know his son and daughter are part of The Hazey Janes. I’m going to play you a track from their album which comes out on Monday which I think you will like very much indeed. I’m sure there will be more than this that will make you think, if that’s country – then I like it.

It all starts at five past eight on Friday evening on BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can.