I went off  for a little holiday to the Alps last week. It was just me and my son bringing our slightly haphazard skiing skills to the mountains. The good news is that we survived and we didn’t take out any innocent bystanders on our way down the various slopes we encountered.

I remembered an earlier time I’d been skiing when I didn’t imagine I could go anywhere other than Glenshee or Cairngorm. I’d been given my first Walkman for that Christmas and I decided that the combination of the tape player, Michael Jackson and a downhill run was a good idea. As ‘Human Nature’ came alive for the first time to me ( it was a long time ago) I was smitten. One on one with Jacko in Aviemore…it was too much. I was off! Trouble was the experience, while enhancing the sensual, also made me desperately immune to all the sign posts on the hill. Within a minute or two I was way off course slipping my way down an unplanned black run.

These days the great outdoors is a welcome escape from music for me. Wall to wall music delivery everywhere is beginning to wear thin. There are some songs that shouldn’t ever be background music to anything. Our hotel however had annoyingly good playlists..I caught great things by The Low Anthem, J Mascis and oh yeah, that great new Justin Beiber single!

The ubiquity of music is a modern problem. A few years ago BBC Radio Scotland was persuaded by KLF’s Bill Drummond to take part in no-music day. You could see his point; maybe denying the thing we love most might make us value it more.


Sometimes though, we just need some concentrated listening and after a week of aural bombardment by every kind of pop I was ready for a shiny pile of new records waiting for me on my return. This week I’m very excited about introducing new things by Miranda Lambert, John Moreland, Angela Perley and The Howling Moons, Shearwater and Keston Cobblers Club.

We’ll also have some bluegrass from these men…….


There is always room for some bluegrass folks.

And….we’ll celebrate the news of Bruce coming back to Scotland and squeeze in more good things within two hours than you could ever believe.

We’re on Tuesday evening from 9 pm on BBC Radio Scotland. Join me if you can.