Country Music People December 2018 - Page 16

WEEK IN THE LIFE... that also houses Lon Helton’s long running Country Countdown radio show which occasionally gives us a bit of a bargaining chip, especially in this very busy week! First things first though: I take receipt of a new painting from the wonderful Memphis folk artist Lamar Sorrento whose work you see everywhere in the South and on the walls of the rich and famous, including those of - I’m told - Neil Young, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Keith Richards & Lucinda Williams. Gretchen Peters definitely has one as she introduced me to his paintings in the first place! This one is of Bob Dylan, quoting his song “Mississippi” and it’s a beauty, Lamar’s usual mix of funny, strange and oddly moving. Your mileage may differ, as they say around here. Off to work, and first up is Chase Rice. We record the sessions as live, only stopping for things like tuning or truly horrible performances. Neither of those things apply here, and Chase knocks it out of the park with two fine performances and a really interesting interview, Bob teasing out some remarkable insights about Chase’s character & his attitude to his craft. Brett Eldredge - an old friend of the programme - is up next and as luck would have it, the set up means that he is singing facing through the studio window and looking directly at a little building where he began his career as a songwriter. This sets him off on a bit of a nostalgia trip and he’s visibly moved when it comes to recalling those early days, as you’ll hear when the session - and the others we do today - is broadcast early next year in the run up to C2C. At this stage, the entire Radio 2 team still consists of, er, me & Bob but we’re expecting our colleagues Al Booth & Paul Mann this evening to bring us up to our full complement. Perhaps not though, as Al cheerfully texts to say “Carnage in Chicago - may not get there until tomorrow”. We offer up a silent prayer to the gods of air travel and welcome Dustin Lynch to the studio. Last up today is Drake White, who we find at a bit of a crossroads in his career having recently departed his label Dot by mutual consent and holding out for the right deal before he signs to another. Not that this seems to worry him, as he plays two brilliant new songs and is full of optimism for the future. Just time for a quick skim through the CMA Awards running order in order to plan the BBC4 TV links I have to shoot with Bob before an equally swift drink with Liverpudlian expat pop star Siobhan Mayer Kennedy, husband of Ray, and a forensic examination of the CMA nominations & a batch of predictions with Kenny Chesney’s long- standing publicist Holly Gleason, one of Nashville’s most astute commentators, and never a woman afraid to voice an unpopular opinion, usually loudly and always amusingly. Next! Tuesday November 13th Christmas comes early to Nashville in the form of The Mavericks, who come in to play some songs from their new festive album for our last show of the year in December. All is going well until drummer Paul Deakin decides that the music needs more sleigh bells and presses Bob into service as an honorary Maverick. Bah, humbug... A highlight of the week next, as the Pistol Annies - Miranda Lambert, Angaleena Presley & Ashley Monroe - are up next and it is an absolute joy to sit in a small room and hear those beautiful harmonies up close. You sometimes forget what a privilege it is to do this job, but moments like this bring it home in spades and I hope we can bring at least a little of that excitement to you on the radio. Newcomer Tenille Townes is our next session guest and she is a total revelation, bringing several of us in the control close to tears with a visceral reading of “Jersey On The Wall (I’m Just Asking)” If you caught her recently when she was in the UK you’ll know how special she is and this just confirms it. Really one for the future. The final session of our trip comes from Jimmie Allen who sends us 16 cmp - DECEMBER 2018