I’m not sure how it happened, but it happened somewhere on a humdrum street towards the end of last week. I crumbled. I didn’t crumble slowly…it took an introduction, a verse and a chorus of a song that only lasts just over 3 minutes. By about a minute in my heart was broken again.
Is that what it takes? I suspect it is. I can remember it happening before on so many occasions. As ever when I crumbled this time it came just when I wasn’t expecting it (isn’t that the best way) and it came via the new record by John Hiatt. The think about getting your heart broken is you are never ready for it. If, like me, it usually happens in a musical moment, you’ll know that timing is everything. It’s that playout on the end of The Sopranos or suddenly in Jackie Brown…it just comes along and kills you. I remember being re-floored by the power of Who Knows Where The Time Goes as I sat alone in the theatre watching Mark Rylance put the needle down on the vinyl in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem. Now there’s a moment.
John Hiatt’s about to release a significant new record. Stronger than anything I’ve heard from him a while and emptier and rawer too. You’re there early on on this album but when the acoustic guitar riff starts on the third track in and he sings the opening lines to Aces Up Your Sleeve, you know it’s a song you just can’t ignore. And maybe, just maybe, that’s what happens when songs sneak in there. Try as you might, you just can’t ignore them.
On this week’s Another Country we will try to bring you some of those and there will be plenty to choose from. However we’re going to clear some space for a special session and conversation with someone who knows what heartbreak feels like. Ruby Boots asks for her heart not to be broken once but twice on her new, excellent album, Don’t Talk About It.
Ruby Boots is the headline name for all the music made by Bex Chilcot and she came in to see us a few weeks ago when she was in Scotland on tour. Talking to her that afternoon I got to hear about her long journey to Nashville which came via a spell in Scotland and started in her home town of Perth, Western Australia. She recorded songs from the new album and told us about the music she loved and is still loving as well as her good friendship with her fellow music city alt-country queen, Nikki Lane. We think you’ll love spending some quality time with Ruby too.
Elsewhere we’ll hear from The Pistol Annies, Eli Paper Boy Reed, Anthony D’Amato, Dawn Landes and Shakey Graves. There will be more music from that Jason Isbell Live release too and we’ll have some cool things on vinyl as ever. We can’t promise you won’t get your heart broken; after all this is country music.. our way.
Join me from five past nine this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland.