Summer arrived fairly early and late this year. Last Friday, as we drove east, my son and I, it seemed we were chasing the sun all the way. It arrived by the time we reached Arbroath where we were to spend the evening watching our team (the fabulous Dundee United) start their league campaign. Football chat is for another place and time. What it was really about was dad and lad getting some quality hours together, a drive east, fish and chips at the harbour and some stories and song in the car.
The only son is also (for now) the only pedestrian. Taking driving lessons but unqualified to drive, it falls upon me to be the chauffeur on all occasions. So it’s up to him to be the DJ on the journey. He told me a great story about Brian Eno’s album Apollo as he played me a track from it. It turns out that when Brian Eno was commissioned to write a soundtrack based around NASA’s Apollo missions he found out that each astronaut was allowed to carry one cassette tape onto the flight module. In an interview in The Guardian in 2009 on the anniversary of the first moon landings, Eno was asked about the pedal steel featured in the tracks. ‘Every astronaut was allowed to take one cassette of their favourite music. All but one took country and western. They were cowboys exploring a new frontier, this one just happened to be in space. We worked the piece around the idea of zero-gravity country music.’
Country ambience. It’s a beautiful thing and on that lovely stretch of road between Glencarse and Invergowrie I was overtaken by the majesty of it all.
Shared music and the surprise of something that you weren’t expecting popping out of your speakers is surely still one of the great joys of listening to music. That’s why I still believe in the power of a curated radio show which will slay you with a track at just the right moment. I hope there might be a few of these moments coming up for you this week.
Photo by Ebru Yildiz
In the early days of Another Country we enjoyed a visit from The Carolina Chocolate Drops. It was one of those sessions and conversations which made a huge impression. On this week’s show we will tell a little of the story of what happened to the core members of the band and what they are up to now. CCD were a creative hub so we will play some of the creations from the subsequent solo projects of Rhiannon Giddens, Dom Flemmons and Leylla McCalla.
Without spoiling things you can also expect to hear music from Jason Isbell, Caylee Hammock, Jenny Lewis and Josh Ritter. As ever we’ll be on the wireless from 8 this Tuesday evening and available in your own space and time on BBC Sounds whenever you fancy. Do join me if you can.