In my other life we’ve been reminded quite a bit that it’s 30 years since we released our first album. (Mr Murdoch has quietly been assembling an interesting hour of radio on this very subject which you can all hear very soon.) On a slightly less well celebrated note it’s also 10 years since I visited America’s Music City. In 1997 I had an interesting couple of weeks where I deputised for Bryan Burnett’s Brand New Country show on BBC Radio Scotland – despite knowing nothing about country music. A week or so later I made my first trip to Nashville to engage with the song writing community.
I had always wanted to go. It had lodged in my imagination since I got my first headed letter from my first music publishers, ATV Music, with their offices in LA, London and Nashville. So getting to the city in 2007 was going to be a highlight whatever happened. So much of what I now love and understand was framed in that first visit. I remember checking into my hotel and walking over to Music Row so I could understand a little of what it looked like. It was a weekend night and there was no one around so the banners outside the record companies and offices flapped around in the warm wind as I tried to make sense of the names and the titles. Who were Rascal Flatts and why did the song writers names get emblazoned on the banners? Phoning home in a state of excited exuberance I told my wife I could imagine myself living in the city. ‘Oh yeah,’ her slightly skeptical voice broke in,’ and what would I wear?’ I’d been in the Greenhills Mall that afternoon….she had a point.
At the time my publishers were Warners Music who were headed up by the good, Dale Bobo, one of the loveliest and kindest music executives I’ve ever met. He’s still a good friend. Dale was putting together a writing itinerary for me. ‘You should work with various writers here,’ he told me. ‘Sean here is going well – he’s already had a couple of cuts on the last Brad Paisley album’. To my shame, I had no idea who Brad Paisley was let alone who my fellow writer was. In the time I’ve been going back there – I’m going for the 9th time next month – I’ve heard and seen the name Brad Paisley many times more and realised what I didn’t know was quite a lot.
So on this Tuesday’s AC I will play out my first ever meeting with the man himself ten years on at this year’s C2C. Brad’s new album Love and War is finally out and we spent a fruitful time with him chatting over his own back catalogue, playing C2C and his recent encounter with The Rolling Stones. Later on I saw him deliver a knock down, ninety minutes master class in live performance which (songs aside) was up in Springsteen league for sheers charisma and entertainment value. I’d heard Brad was the doyen of country performers but nothing had prepared me for how good he was. This wasn’t a man playing the hits or resting out on laurels, it was an artist leading his own band and his audience all the way home. It’s early in 2017 but I’ll be lucky to see such a consumate performance as Brad Paisley’s that March evening. Join us this Tuesday for a very personal encounter with one of the biggest country starts on the planet.
If that’s not enough join us to hear new music from Angaleena Presley, Chris Stapleton and John Moreland. We have some significant classic cuts from Skeeter Davis, Gillian Welch and Chris Young. As well as that two gorgeous new songs from forthcoming Ron Sexsmith and Sam Baker from forthcoming new albums. This all happens in two hours so make sure you join us from five past nine this coming Tuesday from five past nine on BBC Radio Scotland.