One of the more delightful occurrences over the last couple of years has been the occasional encounter with an AC listener. It’s happened at gigs, sometimes after gigs but also in coffee shops, pubs and the odd train or plane journey. A natural conversation starts up and as a sign-off I get a kindly, ‘and I really enjoy the radio show.’ So pardon the self-affirmation  but I wanted to tell you all how lovely it is to find out that our wee wireless programme extends beyond the range of the BBC Radio Scotland transmitters.

The internet, which gets blamed for so many current  evils, can also be a fine thing when it allows people access to content they’d previously been denied. The quiet affirmation that the radio waves have reached a house in Kent or Suffolk is always welcome when passed on in person. I say all this because, from the end of next week when my solo shows are over, I am withdrawing from all my social media for a wee while and if you do want to say how much you enjoy the show then you’ll have to tell me in person or by mail. (digital will suffice) I’ve been keen to have a break for some time and there really is no better opportunity to withdraw from all of it than the next few months. I shall however be keeping my Radio Blog going as it has now been a presence for some fifteen years and it seems a safer place to express and receive views than some other corners of the web.

On this week’s show we will be playing a song by the man who paved the way for great country music to be played on BBC Radio Scotland. Many people have been grieving the loss of our very own Rab Noakes over the weekend. Although he’d had some very serious health issues Rab’s death was still a real shock for me, and judging by the reaction I witnessed, for a great many in and around music in Scotland. Apart from being a great singer and songwriter Rab was the originator and producer of The Brand New Opry which was hosted by our colleague, Bryan Burnett for some fourteen years before Another Country came on the air. Rab and Bryan’s mantra was to put on a country music show for people who thought they didn’t like country music. Like so many other listeners, I was an avid fan. I learned and loved what I came to find out and many are gathered here because of the great programmes they made in the 90s and early 2000s. As well as all of that Rab was a pioneering folk musician who was the first artist from Scotland to head to Nashville where he recorded in the early seventies. You can hear all about that adventure in next week’s programme when we will repeat the Rab Noakes special show we broadcast a few years back. It’s safe to say many of us would not be doing what we do now if it had not been for people like Rab beating a path to make so much music possible.

On this week’s show we’ll welcome our Nashville correspondent with his take on the recent CMA Awards, Nashvegas’s own Oscars night. We’ll also get some great new music recommendations from Bill DeMain as he dials in from Music Row. We will have some exciting new bluegrass for you on this week’s show, as well as introducing you to some fabulous new names  you might well wish to add to your collection as you begin to assemble your very own Santa letters. We will share all this from five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland (all frequencies) this Tuesday evening and on BBC Sounds whenever and wherever you like to listen. Thank you for doing that so regularly and so often. The Blog will be back without any supporting social media in a couple of weeks time and you can catch up with me here if you need to. Do join me live or on catch up if you can.