It’s a truth universally acknowledged that it’s far better to ask the question than assume you have the answer. Actually that was completely made up. There is no such axiom, but how I wish that kind of thinking was the international gold standard.
We live in the age of outrage and supposition. The two have never been closer and their propagation is widely and wildly encouraged by so many of the leaders we seem to have had visited upon us. There is hope though, folks. Unlike their male counterparts it seems women are better at asking, thinking and listening than we blokes. I’m only glad that half of the world seems to be on the right track.
It’s perhaps why I’ve taken more interest in the voices of female country and Americana artists over the last few years when so many of their male counterparts still seem happy to have their emotional arc contained within the world of a truck, a beer and the only bits of the Bible that confirm their narrow world view. Over the last few years, when asked which country artists I’d recommend my answer usually contains the words Brandy and Clark.
On Brandy’s 2020 release she asks that all important question: If your life is a record what track would I be? Helpfully she also comes up with a good answer and on this week’s AC you can hear a conversation I managed to record with Brandy while we were both locked down a few weeks ago. It’s been a frustrating time to be an artist this year but Brandy is one of the few artists who managed to cross the Atlantic and play her new songs to a UK audience before the gigs all stopped. She’s on great form on this new album and in the conversation we talk about her new producer Jay Joyce, that great duet with Randy Newman on the album and why, even though she’s at the top of her own game she still loves collaboration when it comes to songwriting.
We’ve been away from the coal face of new releases for the last couple of weeks and I’m still on Twitter holidays, so I’m enjoying more self isolation than ever, but I still have access to a fabulous pile of new releases. I can’t promise them all in the one week but I hope you might hear something from Ruston Kelly, The Avett Brothers, Laura Veirs, Tenille Towns, Randy Travis and Willie Nelson.
Finally…what have you been reading this summer? I’ve been hugely enjoying Barney Hoskyns’ Band biography, ‘Across The Great Divide.’ Listening as I read I’ve reaffirmed my opinion that The Band were the best band ever. If anyone defined Americana it’s these Canadians! So, I’ll play you a little favourite if we have time.
We’re live on BBC Radio Scotland from eight o’clock this Tuesday evening. Join me if you can.