THE BOB HARRIS COLUMN

Bob Harris Column

This column comes to you from Texas where I have a few days left of what has so far been a spectacular music adventure. I have now been in America for more than three weeks, having arrived in Nashville at the beginning of November with Al Booth and Mark Hagen to cover the CMA Awards for Radio 2 and record interviews and sessions for ‘Bob Harris Country’.

As always, we moved in to Audio Productions, just off Music Row, where we captured a whole series of wonderful moments to be broadcast on ‘Bob Harris Country’ over the coming months. Aubrey Sellers was soulful and superb, performing her first-ever radio session and Charlie Worsham also proved to be an outstanding new discovery. Striking Matches joined Ashley Monroe for a heartfelt acoustic set and we additionally recorded sessions with Maddie & Tae, Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt, Andrew Combs and man of the moment Chris Stapleton, all of whom will be visiting the UK for Country to Country in 2016. I also got to meet Connie Britton, one of the stars of the ‘Nashville’ TV series^who called into the studio for an interview with Patrick Kielty, who was broadcasting live on Radio 2 a few hours before the CMA

Awards show began.

The major winners of the night, with three awards each, were Little Big Town and Chris Stapleton – for whom the event was a total triumph. His performance with Justin Timberlake was heralded backstage as one of the best at any CMA Awards show ever (Thomas Rhett said it was almost impossible to follow him) and his success sent out all the right messages. His music is proud, defiant and true country. He was thrilled, if somewhat overwhelmed by the impact of the evening and somewhat bewildered that, having spent more than 14 years as a respected writer and bluegrass player in Music City, it had taken just a few moments in the CMA spotlight to transport this modest working musician into superstardom. 1’m still processing all this… was how he described it.

But perhaps the highlight of the entire week was meeting Loretta Lynn, in the heart of the Tennessee countryside at her ranch half way to Memphis. She’d invited Al Booth and myself to record an interview there and she was everything I was hoping she would be – warm, welcoming, sharp and adorable. We talked for over an hour about the days in the early 60s when she and her husband used to drive across America from one country radio station to another, personally delivering her new singles direct to the DJs. She reminisced about her family, Patsy Cline and working with Jack White. 1t was a joy to listen to her stories and hear the passion and humour in her voice. We’ll be broadcasting the interview on ‘Bob Harris Country’ early in 2016. Don’t miss it. She is very special.

So, at the end of an incredible time in Tennessee, I have arrived in Texas with my wife Trudie and our son Miles, to prepare for a house concert staged by singer and writer Kimmie Rhodes at herhome just outside of Austin. Some of the all-time great Texan musicians will be playing there including Kimmie, her son Gabe and daughter Jolie, Ray Benson, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, Eliza Gilkyson, Carrie Elkin and Danny Schmidt, Jessica Clemmons, Andrew Combs, Slaid Cleaves, Gurf Morlix, Marcia Ball, Sunny Sweeney and the Flatlanders. It’s going to be a beautiful day and WBBC will have cameras there to capture the performances as part of our on-going ‘Back To…’ series. I’ll keep you posted as to our plans for future broadcast.

It’s been an amazing American experience but even better, I’ll be bringing it all back home to play to you.

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