There’s so much to tell you…..
This week’s show is a game of two halves…as they say. I know all of this because, unusually we prerecorded the show on Monday. There was a very good reason for this. Beth Neilson Chapman is visiting Celtic Connections to play her first show in Glasgow for some years. The show itself is the first live showcase for the songs from her excellent new album, Crazy Town. Beth had half-settled on the title in the last days before the pandemic, then when the full force of Covid and 2020 hit home, she knew for sure she’d named the record correctly.
Beth had been in the studio with Ray Kennedy at his Room and Board studios in Berryhill Nashville cutting songs which had been written and redrafted then collated over the preceding years. Running parallel to all of this her husband, Bob Sherman, was suffering from Leukemia. In early December 2022 Bob died of the illness. Beth was with him in these last days and wrote in a public blog, ‘ He was funny, smart, and kind, and brought so much light and love into my life.’ In this week’s show Beth talks about the loss and, in one sense, preparing herself for that loss by doing the very thing which she does most naturally; writing songs. Beth is a true songwriter. Her songs have been cut by Faith Hill, Willie Nelson and many more. She and I have written together and she will wrestle a song to the ground before she is ready to say it’s finished. She is also a great interpreter of songs, fabulous singer and consummate musical talent. You can hear so much about this in this week’s second hour. It’s a must listen. Stay tuned too, as Beth unpacks the full meaning behind her most famous song, Sand And Water.
In the first hour of the show we’re celebrating The UK Americana Awards which took place in London last week. If you’ve detected a slight detachment about this even from me in the past, you are probably not mistaken. I’ve often felt the occasion tried a little too hard to reflect a tradition that wasn’t really there in terms of UK acts. I have to say if that was the case it is certainly not true now. There was a healthy spread of new, young artists playing on the night and the winner of all the categories deserved their gongs.
We will bring you music from these winners including Ferris and Sylvester, Hannah White, Allison Russell and Nickel Creek. As well as all of this we’ve found you some fabulous new records you may well want to explore further from The Mother Hips and Mary Elizabeth Remington. You’ll hear some classics too, chosen by ourselves and Beth Nielson Chapman. It’s a glorious two hours of country music, our way, and it all start at five past eight this Tuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland and whenever you like on BBC Sounds. Join me if you can.