One of the last live shows I got out to before all this was a great show by Sam Outlaw and his band towards the end of 2019. I particularly enjoyed the moment Sam said, ‘And now the words no audience wants to hear, ‘Here’s a new song.’ We laughed because we knew how true it is. At least we think that, until something comes along to make us fear that, worse than that, there might be nothing at all new coming along.
There has been a little bit of that going on over the last eleven months or so in our current world wide health crisis. What if no one makes any new records, or they do..but we don’t like them or (as often happens) I start to think that none of this stuff really matters? It’s only music after all and there are things going on that are more important, vital even and they really make any discussion on whether a song, singer or album is any good feel a little immaterial. Clearly, there’s some merit in that position.
But them I turn it round and ask, what if there was no new music? What if, alongside our loss of theatre and live music we also lost new records coming out and somehow we simply had to recycle all the old songs over and over again? Granted, there would be certain radio stations who wouldn’t notice for a few years, but for the rest of us, the absence of the new and would feel like a blow to the head and the heart.
All this occurred to me when I was going through a bit of a dry patch on new records and I discovered an artist called Olivia Ellen Lloyd last week. Hailing from West Virginia but now based in Brooklyn NY, Olivia grew up listening to her father perform songs from Doc Watson to Tom Petty and it became the best apprenticeship you could wish for until his death in 2014. This stopped her performing for a while though she continued writing. For this, we must be grateful and if you want to hear the fruits of this we’ll share a great new song from Olivia on this week’s show.
In another nice surprise the Johnny Cash Forever Words album has just been expanded. It’s a lovely realisation of completing Johnny Cash’s unfinished songs by a great selection of artists including Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss & Union Station, and Kris Kristofferson & Willie Nelson. The original sixteen songs released in 2018 have been augmented by eighteen new recordings of Cash lyrics set to new music. We’ll play you some of the album and some of Johnny too this Tuesday evening, and yes, we’re grateful that even The Man in Black can enjoy a posthumous creative re charge.
And it happens again; we start with an empty page and before we know it two hours packed with great music will be lovingly compiled by my producer, Richard Murdoch and he and I will enjoy nothing more than hanging out in our usual spot to play it all out. It starts at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland this Tuesday evening. You can listen live or any time after via BBC sounds. Join me if you can.