It was sad to read of the death of Paddy Moloney last week. There has been some great tributes paid from across the Irish sea and it’s little wonder. Paddy was as close to a front man as The Chieftains ever got. He was the one who told the stories and through him we got to know more about the music. The music of Paddy and of The Chieftains was great. On Another Country we love collaborations; singers singing songs of other writers, duetting, guest playing or producing and generally creating musical harmony. The Chieftains made all of that a lifetime’s work.

I’m delighted to note the good Iain Anderson paid his own tribute earlier this week, but in general there hasn’t been enough mention of a man who opened up traditional music to millions of people and highlighted other musical forms to the trad audience. I knew of Paddy and The Chieftains because the late John Peel would regularly record sessions as well as play album tracks from the band. They were mixed in there with the reggae, punk and eventually techno tracks that became the Peel soundscape. On this week’s show we’ll play you some wonderful collaborations from The Chieftains who, more than a few times, made music with country and Americana voices. We’ll also remind you about the brilliant collaboration they made with Van the man which, I can testify, even had Van dancing in front of the audience some thirty odd years back in Govan Town Hall.

Jan 4: Van Morrison and Chieftains released Irish Heartbeat in 1988 | Born To Listen

This will be my final blog for this year. I have left some fine things in the store for you on the wireless over the next few weeks. There’s a show I’ve wanted to curate for a while now which plays some of my favourite songs and obscurities from thirteen years of Another Country. We also have a two-hour Natalie Hemby special which includes a long conversation with her about her new album, Pins and Needles as well as retrospective chat about the great songs she has written for others. You may not know Natalie, but you will certainly know the songs.

From mid November until Christmas BBC Radio Scotland are bringing you a new show for a few weeks while I go off around the country with my fellow Deacon Blue chums to complete a tour which is a year over due. I’m excited to be getting the chance to do this and I hope (from a distance) I might be closer than usual to a few folks who read the blog.

So, this final live show on Tuesday will feature Natalie Hemby on vinyl, that Paddy Moloney tribute and music from Anais Mitchell, Noah Gundersen and Phoebe Bridgers and Hayes Carll. It will be as eclectic as ever and I hope you can join me on BBC Radio Scotland or BBC Sounds. Either way it all starts this Tuesday evening from five past eight. See you on the road or back on the wireless in 2022.