How far we’ve come. This time last year I was readying for a step in to the unknown. Sure, I’d “depped” before (most notably for BBC Radio Scotland stalwarts Iain Anderson and Tom Morton) but this was different somehow – a two and a half hour radio show of my own, every Thursday night from 10.05pm. No pressure then. Our remit was to bring you the best in new and classic folk, rock, Americana and singer/songwriter-ly fare, but as our audience has grown so too has the show and at times we have dipped our toes into altogether more eccentric musical waters. And it’s one of the things I love most about our little show – trading tips and musical notes with you, dear listener – mostly because it drives us in the most unexpected of directions.
There is naturally an almost endless stream of older music to investigate (I’m currently obsessing over Karen Dalton, particularly her affecting vocal performance on the song “Something On Your Mind”, for example), but the lifeblood of any show worth its salt is new music. In addition to my own determination to hunt out the best albums that our moribund record stores have to offer (ok, I admit I do go online when it’s too cold to venture out), I have been grateful for the assistance you have offered on our collective voyage of discovery. Bands like Dawes and Father John Misty made it on to our playlists simply because you were persistent enough to ensure I actually checked them out (both now firm favourites of mine). And you also gave us the heads up on some sublime music closer to home – Robin Adams being one artist of particular note exciting to uncover.
In return I hope we have given you something that lifts your spirits and drowns your sorrows in equal measures. Whether it be Sam Cooke or The Clash, Paul Buchanan or The Milk Carton Kids, Springsteen or Midlake, our big melting pot of music is there to prove that good music is good music. No tags necessary. And we’ve done it together, the best kind of musical collaboration there is. But there’s no stopping us now.
So tonight on the show, as always, we rejoice in some musical offerings both classic and new. Our Record of Note comes from Edwyn Collins, back with a punchy album that exhibits all the analogue-goodness that we’ve come to expect from the great man; we are Live On Arrival with The Pernice Brothers; and as for Undercover, well there was only ever one man who could help us celebrate hitting the big 12 months in style: Bob Dylan. We hope you’ll join us tonight from 10.05pm on BBC Radio Scotland. Your presence, and not your presents, is all that we require.