Firstly….On Sundays, I’m back.
Really looking forward to a new series of Sunday Mornings with Ricky Ross. This Sunday I meet a couple I’ve heard about but never met before, John and Mary Miller. They are remarkable people who are living through some remarkable times in Zimbabwe.
We’ll also be on the search for that Big Society we keep hearing about. In particular this Sunday we’ll see how a smaller state and a bigger society might affect children and families. We’ll be talking to Katie Grant and Gita Sahgal and we’ll enjoy some great music from Mavis Staples, Patty Griffin and Nicky Thomas. All from 8 on Sunday morning on BBC Radio Scotland.
Plus a fitting musical contribution from this man….
But before that, Friday Night……
There’s a poster on the wall of my old pal, Tom Jutz with a picture of a boy and a banjo beside an old dilapidated shack somewhere in the south. The boy is singing, head back, unselfconsciously out there in the field. The poster advertises a film – can’t remember which one – which in turn celebrates ‘Bluegrass.’ (Actually re visiting this a few months on I know it’s called High and Lonesome and it will become a movie of the month at some point)
On Friday we try to do the same thing. We bring you music that was made on the instruments that were around – banjo, mandolin and the fiddle. It’s the space which doesn’t get crowded out with other things that perhaps gives bluegrass it’s unique edge. There’s a courtesy in southern people and it’s there in this music: you don’t solo while someone else is and you back up the rhythm when you’re not centre stage. In it’s purest form it will be done around one mic and everyone will make sure they’ve got the right distance from it. If you want to hear more of that dobro then the dobro player just has to get a little closer to the microphone.
We’ll have bluegrass from the originators and some from down right imposters – but it will all be good. Not only that but we recorded Alecia Nugentwhen she was in Glasgow playing at Celtic Connections and we have some of that concert for you on Friday. Look out for Alison Krauss, Bill Monroe, Del McCoury, Ralph Stanley and ….Dolly. We may also surprise you with the Raconteurs, Furnace Mountain and The Avett Brothers.
I know next to nothing about bluegrass with the notable exception of some Union Station material and of course the Steve Earle/Del McCoury collaboration.
I would say I am not a fan so look forward to being educated!
Only just catching up with last week’s show, but it was lovely to immerse myself in two hours of bluegrass again. I’m not that well versed in it either, apart from those Dolly albums, which I have to agree are superb. And likewise her live performances; like yourself, Ricky, I would put hers right up there with some of the very best gigs I have ever seen.
Speak of which, Norrie, I hope you enjoyed Mary Chapin and Tift Merritt on Monday night! Sorry again that I couldn’t be there. Bob Harris Country’s special dedicated to Mary Chapin last week was just superb, and made up to some degree for not being able to see her on this tour. (She did promise she’d be back more often again now, though!) And I see she was on Iain Anderson’s show a couple of nights ago too, so I’ll be sure to check that out as well.
All of which may sound like treachery, Ricky, but at least getting my fix elsewhere means I can give it a break from beseeching you to play more from her, and can continue to enjoy all the other great music you play instead!