When news broke about David Bowie’s death this week I realised it had left me feeling shocked but also fairly numb. I didn’t really know how to respond alone over my breakfast radio. Then within a short time the news played a montage of songs which broke my heart and then the tears came fairly quickly. What devastating facts could not induce, music succeeded in touching and gently nudging.
Like most, if not all of you, I didn’t know Bowie. Cold facts about loss can be just that until you hear the detail. The detail with any artist has to be the art itself. So, when the news played a montage of small clips from 40 odd years of Bowie songs I felt a deep loss of someone who had touched my life. The songs made all the difference.
One of the things I loved about him most was his enthusiasm for new music. I well remember hearing him being interviewed on radio by Marks Radcliffe and Reilly and being asked what he’d like to hear on the radio after the interview was over. He requested Granddaddy, who were just breaking through at that time. As a fan of that album I was so delighted to hear a star championing that still unheralded gem. In that spirit then we will bring you a playlist tonight that celebrates all that is good and bold in the new releases.
We’ll start with the exciting news of Margo Price. We’ve told you about Margo before and we think we have probably been the first to play her music in the UK. However she’s just been recorded by Jack White and her first release is out on Third Man Records. You can hear that getting its first spin on the show this week.
In fairness some of these records came out towards the end of last year in North America but, to my knowledge, have received very few spins over on this side of the Atlantic. So I’ll play you a great track from Krista Detor who’s beautiful minimal album ‘Barely’ has been playing in my house and car all this week. I will reveal a gorgeous other piece of minimalism from Cam Penner, explain why you might want to check out The Mike and Ruthy Band at The Old Fruitmarket this week and a little piece of magic from this side of the water by Keston Cobblers Club. We’ll also mourn the passing of Red Simpson the great Bakersfield singer who made the Truck song his own particular speciality. We’ll remind you of some of the great country acts appearing at Celtic Connections over the next few weeks and I’m happy to bring you a Don Gibson song covered by two names never before played on the AC, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper.
One final thought: As I went deep into my thought last night at my first yoga session of the new year my mind wandered back to David Bowie. How sad it was I had never seen him in concert or even been in the same place at the same time. And then I remembered the story I used to tell but had temporarily forgotten. It was the early 90s and we were visiting LA and staying down La Cienega which, when it hit Sunset at the top of the hill, had a large parking lot hosting the best Tower Records you could ever imagine. It was always my duty to make a pilgrimage and this morning I’d decided to do the thing no LA resident would ever dream of; I walked. As I made my way from the hotel on a quiet side street a beautiful sight came into view. A racing Green E Type Jaguar convertible, top down gleaming in the morning sunshine. Behind the wheel, slowly taking the corner, the proud driver smiling in the joy of the day. It was David Bowie.