There was a lovely radio moment the other day. Driving across Glasgow I heard  Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’ with fresh ears. I’m not sure whether it’s the remastering or hearing it in better stereo since the days of medium wave radio, but I noticed elements of the production I’d either forgotten about or missed first time round. There’s these gorgeous strings which seem to be a nod to Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound. Then there’s that male harmony which sound a bit like the voice of Mick Jagger on the choruses…(just checked….apparently it was!) Then there’s the construction of the song itself; just when most pop singles would be signing off and heading to the final play-out , Carly begins another verse. What the hell was she thinking? It was the seventies, she could do what she wanted and we listened and celebrated the song.

Great songs follow their own path and if any of us knew how to give advice on writing a hit we’d surely have written one ourselves. On this week’s Another Country we have a brilliant case in point with a classic song by Warren Zevon. It was my old friend, Darden Smith who was pointing out how perfect a lyric, ‘Hasten Down The Wind’ Is on his recent songwriting blog. A complete story which unfolds in thirteen short lines. We shall play Linda Ronstadt’s fine version of the song and you can hear for yourselves how perfect the writing is. If you think it’s just the lyric that’s great, listen again to the melody. It’s majestiic.


Elsewhere we celebrate some significant live events happening in Scotland this week. Allison Russell, Maren Morris and The Chicks will all have played Glasgow by the end of the week and I suspect those of us lucky to hear any one of these acts will have learned something about the art of the song or the nature of live performance. We shall also have some exclusive information regarding the next step of a country supergroup courtesy of a conversation we hope to broadcast in full over the next month or so with recent visitor, Amanda Shires. You can hear a sample of Amanda’s latest record which she’s made with the late Bobbie Nelson (sister Bobbie, to all Willie fans).

We’ll also have a new Glasgow artist, some English Americana and we will return to that List courtesy of one of the artists Johnny Cash loved, the one and only Jimmie Rodgers. There is also a new collaboration by M Ward and First Aid Kit which is perhaps the loveliest piece of music I’ve heard over the last few days. As ever we have to fit all this into two hours of radio. You can find the show on BBC Radio Scotland or on BBC Sounds and it will be great to have you along for the ride.