WRITING THIS in the summer of 2011, from the perspective of Pelicula Films Ltd having now produced five series of Transatlantic Sessions, and with director Mike Alexander and I having received the Good Tradition gong at the 2010 BBC Radio Two Folk Awards in recognition of what Transatlantic Sessions has done for the development and appreciation of traditional and country music, it's difficult to think back to 1997 when we had just begun trying to get a second series off the ground.
The first series in 1995 had been a success both in terms of television audience appreciation and as a musical experience for the singers and instrumentalists taking part.
Emmylou Harris had said it was one of the best she could remember. But could we ring the changes and come up with another line-up of artists of the calibre of Emmylou?
Well, it greatly helped that that we had promoted Jerry Douglas to become music co-director with Aly Bain. Jerry's fast-growing reputation both as dobro player and producer meant that our preliminary enquiries and invitations were taken seriously. But it was over a breakfast meeting in Goodletsville, just outside of Nashville, that I knew we were going to get there: Ricky Skaggs said he would come on one condition, that being that his wife, Sharon White, could come along too. "She has," said Ricky, "a voice to bring tears to your eyes." Indeed she has. I left a large tip and took the rest of the day off.
So here at last, thirteen years later -and with special thanks due to John Kelleher and Shelagh Hughes of NVC Arts for their enlightened support and permission- is the DVD release of TRANSATLANTIC SESSIONS TWO to join its sisters in the Whirlie stable. For some it will be a long-awaited welcome back, for others a pleasurable hello. Enjoy.
Douglas Eadie, Producer