This week my head’s been in Alabama. In particular I’ve been imagining Montgomery. I’ve been in Alabama but never that far south and it’s a place I’d like to see some time, not least for its place in the History of the The Civil Rights Movement. I’ve been reading Colin Escott’s excellent biography of Hank Williams and one of the fascinating aspects of Hank’s life is how little he travelled, certainly in comparison with today’s artists. (He only left the States once!) In fact his early life as a musician saw him go between Montgomery and Shreveport, Louisiana. This week on Another Country we finally catch up with another young man whose early life has oscillated between these two states, Dylan LeBlanc.
Dylan’s mother brought him up in Louisiana where (and you might have heard the clip on last week’s Sunday show) he found the fire and brimstone of Baptist preaching a little too scary for comfort. He opted instead to live with his father in Muscle Shoals Alabama where he encountered the less scary but all together more entertaining Black churches. Dylan does a fine impersonation of one of the preachers on the show for us. It’s from this base in in Alabama that the songs Dylan has recorded for his first two albums are drawn. If you want an easy comparison his music has the same beautiful naivety of early Neil Young records like After The Gold Rush and sonically isn’t far away at all from Harvest. Like Neil, Dylan loves the pedal steel and on both records it echoes perfectly with the cadences of his voice. As with all good artists there’s a troubled soul running away from some of the demons on his trail and it’s the way Dylan deals with that aspect of his story which gives the music its potency. On Friday he’s with us in conversation and in session and I can’t recommend it highly enough.
We’ll play music from Buddy and Jim, some early Neil Young and Maria Mckee. I will continue my mea culpa on tribute albums by including something from this year’s Guy Clark compilation album (This One’s For Him)as well as a new tribute to the late Hank Cochran by Jamey Johnson.
It all starts on Friday at five past eight on BBC Radio Scotland
Do you know about the Scottish Youth Parliament? Neither do I! I intend to find a lot more about it from Hamira Khan.
She’s the chief executive and in a year when 16 and 17 year olds are to being allowed to vote on the future of their country it’s worth finding out how politically active a lot of them are. Hamira Khan will be joining me in the first hour of the programme to tell me how her life has gone from being a very successful PR person, via a close encounter with full time politics to heading up the Youth Parliament.
We will find out why so many people are worrying about or planning to watch or even take part in Nativity Plays. They are as popular as they have ever been and Edinburgh’s Churches will have already staged theirs by the time we talk. The doyen of religious drama in Scotland, Suzanne Lofthus and she expalins the pull of the Passion Play and why so many people like putting on dressing gowns and pretending to be shepherds.
The BBC have been filming the work of Westminster Abbey over a year. It tells the story of the complex role the Abbey plays in National life and gives us an insider’s guide to the decisions, dilemmas and duties involved in running such an iconic worship space. Pip Blackledge is an Episcopalian Priest in Morningside and he’s the ideal man to cast his eye over the series and tell us what to look out for – and what to avoid.
Bob Dixon will also give us another of his Folk Saints. This time it’s someone who you will not have heard of but deserves a metaphorical plinth, Alice Scrimgeour.
As always we’ll have music ranging from The Carpenters to Bob Dylan. From Frank Ocean to… well, The Silver Seas. Join us if you can.
It all starts on Sunday morning at five past seven on BBC Radio Scotland.