Where to begin?

It’s been an interesting old week. Since last Friday I’ve been listening to some great new things, writing some songs, reading some interesting things and well………..I hope that the fruit of some of that will become apparent on Friday night.

Firstly this..

During the course of the last series Richard Murdoch and I began to talk about all the great Country Music movies we had enjoyed. It was partly prompted by the release of Crazy Heart then we were reminded about Oh Brother Where Art Thou because we featured the music as one of our “Beginners Guide to Alt Country” albums. So, I started collecting film titles to add to the list of great Country movies. The redoubtable Richard Wooton (who is a publicist for some of the acts we feature and a confirmed Country music fan) joined in. By May I had a list of around 30 films.

So where do we start? It will run a bit like a book club – (except it’s virtual and we’re chatting film!) We plan to talk about any given current film over a month of shows. During that month we’ll feature music from the movie and give you as much information as we can about it. For your part, you can hire, beg, steal, borrow or even buy the DVD in question and at a date we all agree on we’ll host an on-line chat about the movie we’ve enjoyed…it may be that we dedicate a separate piece of our blog to this. We are currently exploring the possibility of the occasional live screening where we can all meet up, watch the film and have a real time blether. That would be great – so any help in that department is very welcome.

For August our film is going to be “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” Starring Cissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones and Levon Helm.

In case you haven’t seen it, it’s the bio-pic of Loretta Lynn and it’s a real classic. Plenty there for everyone to get their teeth into and it seems to be widely available.

You can tell us where you plan to watch it and we’ll direct you towards a date when we can all chat about it – hopefully at the same time. We will also look to the online community to suggest future films.

I hope this will be fun and ultimately we will all enjoy the films and get turned on to some music we haven’t fully explored before.

But that’s not all……. On Friday I hope to be joined in the studio by Laura Barton.

Laura writes for The Guardian and writes a wonderful column called Hail, Hail Rock n Roll. I have mentioned it a few times on air and I commend it highly to you. I may breach all copright rules here but I’ll give you a small sample of what I love about her writing…..


However she also digresses into the stuff of life itself, and for that I am grateful. Here’s Laura reflecting (from London) on her North of England roots:

I missed the nights out. The swell and the sprawl of them, the way Friday and Saturday night demanded you get dressed up and head out coatless, the better to flaunt your feathers. I missed the end of the night, the couples snogging in the streets, the chip shops, the brawls even, the hilarity of late-night bus rides, the sing-songs on the last train home, the voice, low and flat and dismal, calling out over the taxi radio: “Hall Green. Birch Green. Upholland.”

I missed the colour of the leaves that seemed to grow a darker, dearer green than those of the south. I missed the dour beauty of a region that was once the nation’s industrial heartland, the mills, the mines, the blackened bricks, the canals, the way the landscape is scarred by the past – the rope-burns on the towpath bridges, the old pit-shafts, quarries, disused railways, the strange deformities of a land that has been tunnelled and burrowed and shifted and finally left to settle. I missed the voices. I missed the music of chuck, and love, and lad. I missed the cursing, the insults, the ruddy and bloody and wazzock and gobbin. I missed the sound of the rain and the smell of the pavements as it dried. I missed the light, the shift of the clouds, the flat grey sky, the thrill of a hot day. I missed its kindness. And often I thought of that line by Tennyson: “Bright and fierce and fickle is the south/ And dark and true and tender is the north.”

Laura has also written an excellent debut novel pertaining to some of these themes .

But mainly we’re going to talk about music and country music in particular. I think you’ll enjoy it.

“What are you going to play us Rick?,” I hear you plead.

There will be some new music from Dylan LeBlanc, Frazey Ford, something from The Pines and we’ll explore the weirdly wonderful world of Rory Erikson. Not enough? In that case you’ll appreciate that we’re celebrating the anniversary of the first million selling Country single.

It’s all on Radio Scotland, Friday at 8.