Daydreaming as a young person I often wondered what my favourite rock stars did when they weren’t making records or touring. How did they spend an average day? I used to spend hours thinking about Neil Young in particular. On a spring morning what took up his thoughts, where did he spend time and why was it taking so long to hear the new album?
Having spent the best part of a lifetime in the business of making music I can tell you with some certainty that there are any number of ways to put off writing or recording a song. One of the joys of presenting Another Country is hearing the many different ways the creative muse works with my songwriting guests. I find my mind thinking back to Nick Lowe’s image of the radio playing through the wall from the flat next door to describe the song beginning to emerge in your consciousness. What’s perfect about the allusion is the knowledge that, at any time, the songwriter can simply move away, stop listening or ask the neighbour to turn the radio off. Dealing with the song is often the decision we never make.
So it was with some interest that Gillian Welch and David Rawlings revealed to their audience the songs which they dreamed up in between records but which they chose to ignore for their early albums of this century. In fact it’s intriguing to think that so many songs were written even though there was an eight year gap between Soul Journey and Harrow and The Harvest. More will be revealed about that particular gap when Vol 3 of this Boots No 2 series comes out later this month. Meanwhile we have two volumes of lost songs to get to know. This coming Tuesday on Another Country you can hear a conversation I recorded with Gillian and David from their house in Nashville. You’ll hear why it was so important to bring these records out sooner than might have been expected, why they nearly lost all the tapes in the Nashville Tornado and why some of these great cuts have never surfaced until now. It’s a fascinating conversation and we’ll give over the second hour of this week’s show to the songs and stories of Boots No 2.
In the first hour of the show we’ll recognise that Tuesday is going to be a momentous day in America’s story courtesy of a wonderful new release from Anais Mitchell and Mick Flannery. We’ll pay tribute to the lives and work of Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver who have both died in the last couple of weeks. We’ll catch up with some new names; step forward India Ramey and Bonnie Whitmore and we’ll renew an old friendship with the great Roseanne Cash. Oh and don’t miss Maddie and Tae too.
As ever we’ll be on BBC Radio Scotland on Tuesday evening at five past eight and you can catch us anywhere else in the world courtesy of BBC Sounds on the night or from thirty days after. Join me if you can.