It’s moving to see the pictures from Normandy this Sunday. We spent a lot of time catching up on the D Day stories there some years ago on a family holiday. Showing the photographs to her friend our youngest daughter explained, ‘That’s a graveyard. We usually went to one of these every day.’

We were travelling through Normandy in early August. When we remarked on the beautiful skies and moon we were seeing, one of our travelling companions, more attuned to the ways of the countryside, pointed out that we were seeing the residue of the harvest. So fertile is the land around that part of Northern France that there are two harvests and the sky was simply coloured by the dust coming from the wheat and barley fields being gathered in.

I thought of this ‘early harvest’ when we started selecting songs for our half yearly round up. I have always felt there is much to celebrate in new music and 2021 has proved to be no different. Each week we’ve found new artists and been delighted by familiar names returning with new projects. On this week’s Another Country we’ll spend two hours playing songs we’ve broadcast over the last few months and all of them are worthy of repeat plays.

We are delighted to include names we didn’t know last year at this time. Listen out for Hailey Whitters (above), Lainey Wilson and Stephanie Lambring. Listen out too for some fine returns from Israel Nash, Valerie June, Eric Church and Alan Jackson. It’s great to know the artists we have loved so long are still surprising us with fresh new music.

You might also be interested to know there’s now a new strand available on BBC Sounds. Over the last few years I’ve recorded some lengthy conversations with some significant artists. Dolly Parton, Paul McCartney, Joan Armatrading, Jim Kerr and Elvis Costello are just some of the names in the occasional Ricky Ross Meets series on BBC Radio Scotland. We’ve now established a permanent home for all of the programmes in the series and they will eventually all be available all year round as podcasts.

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Even as I write I am still planning more of these recordings for future weeks and when they appear on the radio they can now also be listened to beyond the normal 30 day limit of BBC Sounds. So, look for and follow the Ricky Ross Meets link here and you can soon enjoy some great songwriters talking about their musical lives.

Meanwhile tune in this Tuesday for that half year round up which I am certain you will enjoy, even if, quite reasonably, you’ll almost certainly have a few records that you think should have been included. We’re on BBC Radio Scotland from five past eight and BBC Sounds wherever and whenever you fancy.