I’ve bored about this a few too many times so I’ll try not to repeat myself. But there is a phenomenon over in Tennessee which we try to emulate every year at Celtic Connections time. It’s called, ‘The Round’ and it is as simple a format as you could hope to enjoy anywhere.  Four songwriters sit in a circle and song by song we listen and…they too listen. Some times they join in with each other and often, in my experience, they change course depending on what the previous writer has played. At it’s best it can be magical and truly beautiful.

But there is one artist from Music City who, when asked if she enjoyed doing Rounds exclaimed, ‘No – are you kiddin’? Sittin’ listening to all those other songs? I don’t do that.’ Yes, Caitlin Rose is a noble exception.

Unusually this Friday we have no Music City artists but are gathering our round from a very wide circle. Starting in Montreal we have the Barr Brothers whose new album, Sleeping Operator is a significant progression from their last record. On the last album they came to see us at the AC and our engineers are still raving about that wonderful session. Expect odd instrumental combinations and the odd bicycle wheel.


If like me you were listening to Another Country live last Friday you will have missed The Pearlfishers Celtic Connections live show last week. By all accounts it was a triumph and Davie Scott took his assorted players through much of the back catalogue and the beautiful new album ‘Open Up Your Colouring Book.’ Essentially The Pearlfishers is the songs and arrangements of Davie so we will have him singing the songs alone and it will be very special.

JD McPherson is from Oklahoma. Last time round Vic Galloway stole him for his CC show so we’re delighted he’s joining us at the CCA. Brilliant, sharp rock n roll the way you might have heard it if you were around back in the day. If ‘Bossy’ his first single of the new album is anything to go by his second album will bring us as much or more joy as the first.

And then we have Charlie Dore.


Charlie, like the other guests is here because we believe her new album to be one of our highlights of 2015. Milk Roulette is simply Charlie at her best.  Funny, poignant and often heartbreaking know that you will be in the gentle care of one of England’s great songwriters.


It’s all live from the CCA. If you have a ticket I look forward to seeing you there; if not its all live on BBC Radio Scotland from five past eight.

On Sunday..


I will spend a fair amount of time talking to the man who took this photograph…

Lost on the River Findhorn, by Thomas Joshua Cooper


Thomas Joshua Cooper was born in America, from Cherokee descent and now lives in Glasgow and is the founding head of photography at Glasgow School of Art. We’ll talk photographs and faith and he will bring some excellent music.

We will mark Holocaust Sunday by talking to author Sarah Helm about her new book, If This Is A Woman. Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler’s Concentration Camp For Women.

We’ll find out what a Greek tragedy written over 2,000 years ago can tell us about the current situation in Syria and I’ll tell you about my visit to The Burns Museum a couple of weeks ago and introduce you to the remarkable David Hopes, the director.

As ever we will be on air by five past seven this Sunday on BBC Radio Scotland.