It’s not yet Christmas Eve, but all is quiet in my house. It is however, beginning to feel like Christmas. As a freelance musician I can rejoice in the fact that my working year is over and there is nothing work related I really need to do. My last real duty will be to present this week’s Another Country live from our usual studio – but really, as I’m sure you know, that does not feel like working.

This week’s show will wrap up the AC for 2022. It will be interesting to look back in some years time to see what music was coming out in such a turbulent year. We will perhaps marvel that anyone could do anything as trivial as making a piece of art in such heady times and yet, it only takes a cursory leaf through the back catalogues to notice how much creativity emerged from years which we associate with war and strife. It was interesting to listen in to news recently about how so much music has been made in Ukraine itself over the last nine months despite/because of the Russian invasion. Music gets made and music is needed and as we celebrate the winter holiday we recognise that there have been new pieces of music that have caught our attention without which our lives would feel poorer.

As regular Blog readers will know I refuse to become the sad bloke who posts his top tens of the year and, at my ripe old age, I’m not about to start. I would say however that there have been some beautiful records made by regular AC artists and newcomers alike. As I suggested at the start of the year I think it will be hard to ignore Anais Mitchell‘s self titled album. Everything we heard from it before it emerged suggested it was going to be special and it was that and some more. Ian Noe‘s ‘River Fools and Mountain Saints’ has been another set of songs which has not disappointed. Everything that came out from that album has been played on our show with particular love from us for the title track, River Fool. Both records bear out the fundamental truth that any great song doesn’t have to deviate far from the model suggested by the great Tom T Hall all those years ago: Three Chords and The Truth still seems like a fine recipe for success.


Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell's Musical Where Work Is Hell, Makes It to the Big Time | Vogue

Anais Mitchell

We had some wonderful guests on the show this year and we’ll celebrate the fact that Darden Smith, Lola Kirke and Joshua Hedley spent time with us and we’ll also pay tribute to the acts we’d love to have joined us but couldn’t quite fit in. Elsewhere we will play you the great Christmas songs you may not hear on those loop tapes in shopping malls or daytime radio. It will be two hours of glorious roots music, our way. Blink and you may not even know it’s country. We’re on BBC Radio Scotland FM from five past eight this Tuesday and anytime you choose on BBC Sounds.

Thanks for listening for another year. If you’ve had half as much pleasure listening as we have curating and presenting I shall be delighted. Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year when it come around.