In 1967 Nashville songwriter, Bobby Braddock couldn’t sleep one night. He found himself going into his car and driving round the city until he came to a well known beauty spot where he sat behind the wheel listening and absorbing all of the, newly released, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was, he says, a record which changed his life.
These days it’s hard to imagine the impact that one long playing album could make but safe to say a little of that excitement has been recreated by BBC 6 Music when they chose to have a world wide listening party for Radiohead’s new album, “A Moon Shaped Pool.’ I couldn’t make the party on Sunday so I’m listening to the noble Tom Robinson presenting the show now. I love radio events like these as it’s obvious Tom knows only as much about the record as the listener and we’re all experiencing something quite new together for the first time. As I write, I’m also hugely inspired by the record which invites you in in a way that makes you know you want to return and explore the deeper (moon-shaped) pool.
I say all this because I’m amazed at pop music’s ability to continually reinvent itself. As much as anyone must have thought The Beatles had said it all by 1966 the public learned a whole new chapter was opening up. It’s here that Bobby Braddock and his lonely vigil come into focus for me. Around that same time a young Georgia kid was reshaping the music of that other great sixties band, The Byrds by allowing them to drift away from their earlier folk influences to absorbing the country music of their own homeland. Sweetheart of The Rodeo came out in 1968 and within a year or so Gram parsons would leave the Byrds to form his own cosmic country outfit The Flying Burrito Brothers. It’s funny now that there is now a new generation of artists who are rediscovering Gram and The Burritos in the same way that he once opened the rock generation’s ears to Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
Cale Tyson is part of that new generation of young country artists who want to keep country …well country and are content not to make every song sound like a melody plonked on to a U2 B side from 1987. We me Cale in Nashville back in March when he was just finishing a rehearsal and we headed off for a beer with him to a local watering hole. That bar turned out to be an American Legion hall which was hosting its Tuesday Night Honky Tonk. It was a fascinating evening: purple hearts on the wall, vets at he bar and in the function suite some pals of Cale’s playing great country covers to a mixed room of hipsters and hillbillies. What’s not to love?
We spent a good part of that evening catching up with Cale as the Honky Tonk progressed and you can hear all of that conversation concerning Cale’s excellent new album, ‘Carless Soul’ on this Tuesday’s Another Country. We’ve got some brilliant other music for you and look out for new records by Martina McBride, Dylan LeBlanc and Daniel Romano as well as a vinyl moment from Marty Robbins that might well be worth staying in for. All this on BBC Radio Scotland from five past nine.
On the New Tradition I’ll be playing you some very varied music this Wednesday on BBC Radio 2. We’ll find a song that suits our mood then we’ll make that our theme for the next hour tracing back the music to its roots. We’re live from 10 so join me if you can.