We have had a family reunion this week. Two daughters, both of whom have been abroad over the last year, returned to live at home again. You can imagine the scenes and some of the long conversations that have taken place, sometimes staggered over days. Threads of conversation that don’t really ever get fully resolved. Despite FaceTime and all the other modern communication possibilities there is only so much that can be said without the formal reunion.
It got me thinking about getting back together. It happens so often in art and, in our case, particularly with music. We fall in love with a record and somehow we project on to that recording all manner of attributes borne out of affection but often slightly misplaced. We’re playing the new single from Alabama Shakes this Tuesday and it’s a case in point. The band we thought we loved have become a slightly different (and more interesting and ambitious) beast.
Our journey with Neil Young illustrates the point perfectly. Even I, a hardy follower throughout the tumult of the late 60s and 70’s output began to lose my interest in the Geffen years. The Neil I wanted often didn’t turn up for the simple reason that he felt he’d done that and, thanks very much and all that, he rather fancied doing something different now. He’s almost repeated the feat but, having said that, no one who has followed his career will be at all surprised to know that he’s hooked up with another band (Willie Nelson’s sons) and delivered a record railing against the anti-ecological stand of big corporations. We’ll play you what Neil Young did next on Tuesday.
Similarly when Kacey Musgraves has returned we sense small changes in direction without the abrupt hand-brake turns of our previous names. It celebrates all that she has done on that first album and consolidates and celebrates her music. Elsewhere on the AC tomorrow we’ll play music by First Aid Kit, The Browns, Danny and The Champions of The World and, in the week where Messrs Ross and Murdoch get to see Fleetwood Mac we’ll play you some dignificant Maclove by some of your favourite country artists. It all starts at five past nine this Tuesday on BBC Radio Scotland.
I’m really looking forward to meeting one of my heroes of broadcasting. Robert Peston, BBC’s economics editor will be joining me for the first hour of my programme. We’ll tell you about Britain’s first Catholic literary festival coming this weekend, talk to that pillar of the Scottish Asian community Bashir Mann about his own memoir and our good friend Bob Dickson visits a very special school indeed. It all starts at five past ten and, yes, there will be music. TLC, Richard Thompson, Emelie Nicolas and, of course Fleewood Mac. Join me if you can this Sunday on BBC Radio Scotland.