BBC Radio Scotland Blog
I know when it was. It was an hour or so into The Mavericks show on Tuesday evening. Raul Malo alone at the mic with a Spanish guitar playing Blue Bayou. A Cuban, Floridian from Nashville in Glasgow playing a Roy Orbison song on a freezing night in January.  That was when I realised the joy that is Celtic Connections.

Sometimes things don’t quite work as you hope they will. Sometimes you have weeks that go badly and you unwind them constantly in your head to figure out the place where mistakes were made. I’d had one of these odd starts to the week where you begin to wonder if everything is going to be an uphill struggle and you should, instead be spending your energies elsewhere. It was then the music began to work its magic and I let it take over. CS Lewis described his conversion experience as being ‘surprised by joy’ and a little of that  - which is easily enough – is what I felt on Tuesday night.

As ever we too will try to bring a flavour of the magic of Celtic Connections to you through the airwaves on Friday night. It’s the fifth BBC Radio Scotland show from The Green Room at The Royal Concert Hall this week but believe me, it will not feel tired. We have three significant guest acts to make you feel as if you will right at the heart of the festival.

The Be Good Tanyas are old friends of Celtic Connections and are welcome return visitors. Featuring the voice of Frazey Ford they are from Vancouver Canada and any group which cover Mississipi John Hurt and songs from Neil Young’s On The Beach have got to be worth checking out.

John Murry’s, The Graceless Age is many people’s favourite Americana album of 2012 and we will be so delighted that John is joining us fresh from his show with The Cowboy Junkies this week. Lastly from Ireland via Nashville we welcome The Lost Brothers.


The brothers charming albums have some interesting collaborators including Brendan Benson, who produced their last album.

If you have tickets you can join us at the Royal Concert Hall and if you can’t be there you can join us as ever on BBC Radio Scotland from five past eight.

On Sunday
I’ll be talking to this woman.

Alison Peebles is familiar to most of us. She’s a brilliant actor, director and film maker. She is also originally a visual artist. Last year she gave one of her bravest performances as she took to theatres with her devised show, My Shrinking Life. In the play Alison tells the story of how she discovered and learns to live with Multiple Sclerosis. Alison will also be bringing some records she really loves and I’m already intrigued by what she might choose. She’s a beautiful woman who is hugely respected by the theatre community and professionals alike and she will be telling me her story during the first part of the show.

What’s it like to be a Jewish person living in Scotland. On Holocaust Memorial Day we talk to Fiona Frank who is Outreach and Project Worker for the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities. They have recently carried out an extensive survey of the community right across Scotland and it is interesting to see ourselves as one particular group sees us. On the whole there’s much to be glad about but as ever, there’s some things that can always get better.

Whether you are aware of it or not Sunday Morning With comes out of the Religious Department of BBC Radio Scotland. I hope that hasn’t put you off! When I grew up Religious Broadcasting was Songs of Praise and Rev I.M. Jolly ….maybe that’s what it still is? So, as Claire Balding replaces Aled Jones on Radio 2 and people increasingly don’t hold a particular religious affiliation, we thought we’d take the temperature of the genre.

Not only that but we’ll hear what IF is all about…hopefully you’ll know by now and how it feels to be a new Scot and what it might mean for how you practice your faith.

As ever, we’ll play you some of the best music to wake up to on a Sunday morning. This will be my last show for a month or so but next week you will be back in the loving care of the good Cathy Macdonald. See you soon. We start on Sunday morning at seven. Join me if you can.

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