January...what's not to love? The lethargy of Christmas holidays is over, the days get longer and in Glasgow.....there's Celtic Connections. It's also about the possibility of things and beginning again. I'm basically an optimist and I always like mornings, Mondays and beginnings. All things are possible and all things may well happen.
For the last few weeks we've fed you a diet of Another Country Greatest Hits. It's good so many people enjoyed hearing the Dylan specials again and I got great feedback from friends about the Gillian Welch special too. As ever these special nights are lovingly researched and compiled by my producer Richard Murdoch. Both he and I are glad to be back live this Friday bringing you a veritable terrabyte or two of new music. We'll hear from The Punch Brothers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Jonathan Wilson and Jack White and we'll also spend some time with the music and words of this man:
Josh T Pearson is the original a son-of-a-preacher-man from Texas. Having made one album with Lift To Experience he quietly disappeared. Last year (around this time) I had a pile of albums to listen to. Now when that's a pile of albums you've gone out and bought with your Christmas Record Tokens it can be a joy. In this case however I knew none of the artists and I was hoping that along the way something would jump out and make me (metaphorically) pick up the needle and drop it back. That moment came in the unexpected beauty of 'The Last of The Country Gentlemen.'
One of the hardest things to do in any piece of art is to leave things out. They say you can tell a bad film by how much soundtrack is being used to pad it out....invariably true in my experience. In Josh's case there's so little there it would be difficult to know what to drop. The key is that the songs leave you mesmerised and inspired, the imagination is let loose and you are free to drift around in the debris of Josh's aching laments. I think I enjoyed it in the way I first enjoyed the lonely nights I first spent round albums like On The Beach and Tonight's The Night and as always with music we love at ACHQ there's a hint of Hank.
You'll hear Josh's story on Friday - that is a moment to savour and you'll hear him sing. He may make you cry but he will also certainly make you laugh. I don't think we can broadcast the joke he told us involving Willie Nelson but if you catch me on a quiet moment at the Concert Hall over the next couple of weeks I'll happily recall it for you.
And these next couple of weeks is when so many of our favourite artists come in to town. Celtic Connections is going to be a great blast and you can expect to see me out at the Woody Show, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers, Mary Gauthier, Laura Veirs and a whole load of things I'm forgetting about. You can join me live on Another Country, BBC Radio Scotland from five past eight this Friday evening.