There’s a story I came across which explains why I love Jerry Reed and why I love country music. It seems invariably that any great story of country and the south will also, at some point, merge into a story about fishing…so this one is no different.

In September 1967 Jerry Reed went fishing one day when he was tracked down by Mary Lynch, Chet Atkins assistant. Mary had been sent by Felton Jarvis to find him as there was a recording session happening at RCA in Nashville to record Jerry’s song Guitar Man. The artist recording the session was Elvis Presley who had been hooked on the song since he’d heard it played on a Los Angeles radio station some time before. The problem at the session was that no one could get their head (or their fingers) round Jerry’s guitar hooks. It just wasn’t sounding right. Enter Jerry:

Felton Jarvis (Elvis’s producer) recalled the moment he walked in, ‘like a sure-enough Alabama wild man. You know, he hadn’t shaved in about a week, and he had them old clogs on – that was just the way he dressed. He come in and Elvis looked at him and said, ‘Lord, have mercy, what is that!’

This Tuesday on the AC you’ll get a chance to hear what ‘that’ really was all about. Jerry Reed, it seems to me, is a name that kept popping up every where we went on our recent Nashville trip and the good Mr M and I thought it might be good to remind ourselves about his music. So this Tuesday you’ll hear Jerry Reed as performed by Jerry himself, Elvis Presley, Porter Wagoner and Johnny Cash.

We’ll also pay tribute to this man……

Bluegrass banjo player and bandleader Ralph Stanley continued as a solo act after his brother and longtime musical partner Carter Stanley died in 1966. Though Ralph has played a primarily traditional repertoire, he has also written his own songs. Courtesy National Council for the Traditional Arts

During Ralph Stanley‘s life country music has gone from hillbilly to bluegrass to Americana and all the way back again. It’s fair to say however that Ralph Stanley never went out of fashion. With his brother Carter he helped harvest the mountain music they grew up on (hymns, folks songs and ballads) and weave into it their own unique sound resulting in the most simple but beautiful roots music you might ever hope to hear. Last week, when Ralph died aged 89 there were tributes from across the world of popular music. I saw messages from Ryan Adams, Ricky Skaggs and Van Dyke Parks. Dr Stanley leaves behind an incredible legacy and we’ll pay our own tribute with a great Ralph Stanley selection on this week’s show.

As ever we’ll find plenty time for some new records and we’ll be playing something from new folk pioneers Darlingside, some good things from Dierks Bentley, Sara Watkins, a Merle Moment and something great from Brandy Clark. John me if you can from five past nine this Tuesday (repeated on Fridays from 7) on BBC Radio Scotland.