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  1. Early Fall

    Friday 16 August 2013, 10:39

    Ricky Ross Ricky Ross Presenter

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    I’m writing this from my desk at my home studio window. It’s all change here round here. For years we’ve let the trees round our house grow until realising recently that ‘something needs to be done.’ Old Conifers planted well before our arrival here 19 years ago have now come so close to the house and grown so high that my working environment began to feel a little too like a walk in the woods. Nice for occasional atmosphere but my room was freezing even in that July heatwave. So the tree surgeons are in and clearing things out and this morning my view includes parts of Glasgow I didn’t know were there.

    As I listened to a little WSM (Nashville’s Legend) online this morning they were talking about a cool wind coming down from the Great Lakes and giving a sense of ‘early fall.’ The trees here have certainly had that. As Scottish children return to school this week at the ‘end of the summer’ then it seems a good time to be coming back to Another Country and this blog. I hope you’ve had a great time enjoying this amazing summer. I’m old enough to realise this is not how things often are so it’s good to celebrate the outdoors as long as we can. I’m hugely indebted...

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  2. Solo Can You Go?

    Thursday 15 August 2013, 11:48

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    Sometimes I think my own musical career – however shambolically it may be hurtling down the line as the days fly past – has happened in reverse.  Whilst I was always drawn to the work of singer/songwriters like a fervent moth might be to a particularly alluring flame, I had grown up convinced that such a destination was the preserve of the older gentleman.  I was content with the fact that I would get to this more serious of plateaus eventually, once my youthful and exuberant face-down-in-a-toilet-bowl-phase as the frontman of a blistering rock n’ roll band was well and truly over.  In short, I didn’t want to be a solo artist quite so early.

    I tried my hardest to form a band at school, but for some reason my fellow pupils saw better than to join musical forces with a nervous young man who had opted to learn two seemingly incompatible instruments in the classical guitar and saxophone (this was before Bon Iver made the honk of a conical-bore woodwind contraption cool, kids).  Undaunted I arrived at University brimming with optimism, hopeful that I might meet the Lennon to my (James) McCartney, only to discover a bunch of law students who thought “Big Star” was something...

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  3. California Dreaming

    Wednesday 7 August 2013, 13:38

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    When I started on the Roddy Hart Show in April of 2012 as a mere radio wildling, I was nervous about what the future might hold.  Having a radio show is an immense honour and privilege – beaming musical offerings into the homes of the canniest of individuals (i.e. you, my dear Radio Scotland devotee) quite the thrill – and when firing on all cylinders, it’s a hell of a lot of fun too.  But with great (FM, MW online and on digital) power comes great responsibility, and I was all too aware that the show shouldn’t purely reflect my own personal tastes and preferences.  How would it develop as the Thursdays galloped by?  Working as a team – producer, presenter and listener – my hope was simply that we would craft a show about nothing more than great songs and great songwriters.  From any geographical location, from any genre of music.  But however the show might change and adapt as it spread its wings, I knew one immutable truth: Californian music had to written through it like a stick of rock. 

    And so it was with some trepidation that I first sat in a meeting with the show’s producers and nervously offered up a number of suggestions for features and tracks.  Dylan...

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  4. It’s All About Chemistry

    Wednesday 31 July 2013, 08:41

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    “A three legged dog is still a dog,” said Michael Stipe, with some panache, after the departure of founding R.E.M. member (and drummer) Bill Berry in 1997.  At the time of Berry’s unexpected retreat from the heady world of show business, the quartet – completed by guitarist Peter Buck and bassist Mike Mills – were at the top of their game. Having enjoyed years of critical success – building from relatively humble beginnings as a college rock band straight out of Athens, Georgia – they were finally fulfilling the commercial promise that almost no one (other than themselves perhaps...

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  5. A Child In These Hills

    Wednesday 24 July 2013, 14:22

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    At the risk of sounding like a broken blog, I love Jackson Browne. 

    It was 1996, and I was in my final year at school.  My own musical ambitions as a songwriter were practically embryonic; content as I was to be “that guy” at the party who could play the songs my own generation was listening to.  I’d studied classical guitar for four years – primarily so I could one day learn to play Cavatina, the theme tune from the movie “The Deerhunter” (duly scaled and conquered) – and eventually graduated to modern pop music, determined to impress a girl I fancied who only had eyes for Damon...

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  6. Time

    Thursday 18 July 2013, 15:59

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    Always make time for music. When you’re young – and I mean in your teens or early twenties (I confess those days are beyond even me now) – the road seems endless: a constant stretch of musical landmarks laid out before you, in the buildings and on the side streets, down the main pathways and off the beaten track, all ripe for discovery. Hours and days are lost to adventure. For me, it feels like whole weeks and infinite summers were spent as a young man in the company of travelling companions like Dylan, Teenage Fanclub, Wilco, and Springsteen. When you get older, however, things start to...

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  7. Days Here and There

    Friday 12 July 2013, 13:09

    Ricky Ross Ricky Ross Presenter

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    I went to Fife this week. I went to see one of my oldest friends be inducted as a Church of Scotland minister in the beautiful old church of St Monans. It’s the nearest church to the sea in Scotland – apparently – and as if to emphasise the point it has two miniature vessels suspended above the pews to remind everyone of the link. After that I went further along the coast to visit some of my family holidaying in Crail. It was one of the loveliest evenings I have spent in a long time. I nosed my way along the coast – still half remembering directions from the days I used to deliver things...

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  8. The Name Game

    Wednesday 10 July 2013, 15:15

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    What’s in a name? There can exist a natural predilection for forming an opinion on a band (or solo artist hiding behind a particular nom de plume) before clapping ears on what matters most: the music. First impressions count after all, but we also know that we mustn’t judge a book by its cover.  I always remember seeing the name "Radiohead" in print before hearing a single note, and wondering just what the head of a radio might look like, or why any right thinking band would want to be named after one. Then of course I heard second album The Bends, swiftly followed by a witnessing of the...

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  9. Miller and Hartford

    Friday 5 July 2013, 10:03

    Ricky Ross Ricky Ross Presenter

    Miller and Hartford. Estate agents? The core of the late seventies Scotland side? Keep reading

    It’s a late train coming home west to Glasgow and I’m thinking about some of the people I’ve encountered over the last few days. Perhaps the most amazing musical moment was standing on the side of the stage at Glastonbury’s Acoustic Tent last Saturday evening with my son, Seamus, Gregor Philp and my manager, Tom O’Rourke. All of us were watching one of my great heroes, Steve Winwood put in a quite extraordinary shift with his band for an hour or so. The remarkable bit was the sheer skill of musicianship...

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  10. Born in the USA

    Thursday 4 July 2013, 09:30

    Roddy Hart Roddy Hart Presenter

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    I’ve loved American music for as long as I can remember. Growing up in a household with a worthy record collection is more prized a memory with every passing year, enriching my life and career in a multitude of ways I could barely have recognised when I was a young man. But it could have been so different – had I not been blessed with parents who not only demonstrated good taste in their already voluminous assortment of vinyl and newly introduced CDs, but also actively sought out the new and the good from their local record store almost weekly, then perhaps I wouldn’t be sitting here writing...

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