Radio 2 enjoys a Summer of Music

Main image: Bruce Springsteen, credit - Danny Clinch


BBC Radio 2

As the Radio 2 schedule returns to pre-Covid timings, this summer, the network will bask in a summer of music.

With the Travel bulletins already returned to the network, from Monday 20 July, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley, Trevor Nelson and the weekday specialist music shows on Radio 2 will revert to their regular, pre-lockdown times. Sara Cox returns to 5-7pm, Jo Whiley to 7-9pm, specialist music shows from 9-10pm and Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation from 10pm-midnight.

Helen Thomas, Head of Content Commissioning, says: “I’d like to thank the Radio 2 presenters and production teams for their incredible work during the pandemic, but it’s now fantastic that next week we’ll be getting back to a more familiar schedule. I’d also say a huge thank you to the listeners for their company and support over these last few months - their positive feedback and wonderful messages to our shows has kept us all going. Our summer schedule has something for everyone, and I’m especially delighted that we’re able to introduce Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours to the Radio 2 airwaves and BBC Sounds.”

During lockdown we've all had to try new things, and the legendary Bruce Springsteen is no exception! In Bruce Springsteen: From My Home To Yours he's become a DJ, presenting his own music show on SiriusXM E Street Radio in the United States. This unique radio series now comes to the BBC, with Bruce playing records from his own personal collection and sharing his thoughts about the times we're living in, direct from his home in New Jersey. In the first show Bruce picks tracks from Roy Orbison, Don Henley, Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Wyclef Jean, Morrissey and many more. The series is also available to listen to on BBC Sounds live and on-demand (midnight-1am from Saturday 25 July). A SiriusXM E Street Radio production, reversioned by BBC Audio. There’s also another chance to hear Bruce’s 2017 documentary, Long Walk Home (3-4am, Saturday 25 July and 1 August) on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds. A Lonesome Pine production.

Join Levi Roots for a summer feast of sunshine music cooked up in his own inimitable fashion, including classics from the likes of Bob Marley, Shaggy, Janet Kay, Blu Cantrell, Sean Paul and more in Sounds Of Summer Reggae Playlist with Levi Roots (8-9pm, Saturday 25 July). A BBC Audio production. Plus his two Levi Reggae Playlist shows will be available on BBC Sounds.

With folk festivals having effectively disappeared this summer, to celebrate this much-missed experience Mark Radcliffe invites music lovers to join him under an imaginary big top and enjoy two hours of exclusive live performances in Radio 2’s Virtual Folk Festival. Mark presents a line-up of much loved folk stars, from Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Suzanne Vega, Kate Rusby, Fisherman’s Friends, Fara and more. On what would have been the weekend of the 2020 Cambridge Folk Festival, Sidmouth Folk Festival and others, listeners can enjoy brand new performances recorded in artists' homes, plus stunning live highlights from Radio 2's archive.

Yusuf/Cat Stevens will headline the show with specially-recorded live versions of his beloved songs, including some from his multi-platinum selling, era-defining record Tea For The Tillerman. This September, Yusuf will release a re-imagined version which marks the album’s 50th anniversary. In 2015 he won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, and at the awards in 2017 Wild World was revealed to be Radio 2’s most-played folk track of all time. In this special show, Yusuf takes time to speak to Mark from his home in Dubai. Kate Rusby performs music from her forthcoming covers album, Hand Me Down, which includes her popular version of The Bangles’ Manic Monday (which made the Radio 2 playlist); Fisherman’s Friends, from Cornwall, are re-united post-lockdown; and Fara, the superb musicians from Orkney, collaborate remotely to join the festival line-up (Saturday 1 August, 8-10pm). A 7Digital production.

Mark Radcliffe says: "One day fellow folkateers, we will meet again in an enchanted glade and carouse to blissful sounds as the sun sets. Until then, close your eyes and dream of those heady times to come, as we throw ourselves headlong into a virtual gathering of the folk clans."

Suzanne says: “I’m so sorry I can’t be there because I was booked for Cambridge Folk Festival which isn’t happening but they’ve re-booked me for 2021. Hope to see you all soon.”

Ken Bruce features American musician, singer, record producer and philanthropist, Aloe Blacc, performing with the BBC Concert Orchestra as part of Radio 2 House Music. Aloe will be presenting his new single, My Way, plus his best known, most popular track from 2011, I Need A Dollar. Another career highlight of his includes writing and performing vocals on Avicii's Wake Me Up, which topped the charts in 22 countries, including the UK. Previous Radio 2 House Music sessions in Ken’s show include singing superstar Barry Manilow from his home in Palm Springs, Nell Bryden in New York, Richard Marx from Malibu, Melanie C in London and Jason Mraz from his front room in San Diego California (9.30am-midday, Thursday 6 August).

Following the huge success of the multi award-winning first series, The Keith Urban Playlist returns to Radio 2. Once again, Keith brings a carefully curated selection of the best contemporary and classic music that’s moved and inspired him. This four-week run will see him explore a varied selection of artists, from well-known to newer discoveries. Keith also brings his own insights from his broader experience of writing, recording and performing (8-9pm from Saturday 8 August). A TBI Media production.

Keith Urban says: “I think there's just so many people in the world that don't feel understood, and when you hear a song and you go, 'Oh, that song understands me’, that's an amazing feeling. I get it when I listen to the radio... That's a beautiful part of music."

In a special edition of Trevor Nelson's Rhythm Nation, Trevor celebrates the music of the year 2000. He also speaks to Craig David about his debut record, Born To Do It, which was the fastest ever selling album by a British solo act. They’ll reminisce on the music and the time and Craig guest selects some of his favourite music from that year (10pm-midnight, Thursday 13 August). A Somethin’ Else production.

In My Life In A Mix Tape, a new strand for Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, stars will create their own playlist of their favourite tunes, revealing the stories behind them and why they mean so much. The first instalments features British actors Emilia Clarke (9pm, Saturday 15 August) and Keeley Hawes (September), both of whom will be sharing their mix tape picks with listeners. Emilia’s choices include Brandy & Monica’s The Boy Is Mine, Little Simz with 101FM, Dionne Warwick’s Walk On By, Gangsta’s Paradise from Coolio and Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice. A BBC Scotland Music production.

As part of Sunday Night Is Music Night (Sunday 16 August), Radio 2 will be joining up with ten BBC local radio stations in the north of England to celebrate The Great Northern Playlist. Nominated by local radio listeners and recorded remotely in lockdown by the BBC Philharmonic, including two pieces arranged by a student from the Royal Northern College of Music, The Great Northern Playlist is made up of ten new orchestral arrangements of iconic songs from the north of England, including Tainted Love by Soft Cell and She’s Electric by Oasis. From 7-8pm, BBC local radio will join Radio 2 for a simulcast programme presented by Craig Charles. It will include performances of all the arrangements, plus live link-ups with presenters from each radio station - from Merseyside to Humberside, from Newcastle to Sheffield. Between 8-9pm, Craig will continue the celebrations, playing additional tracks from the BBC Philharmonic that have been recorded in lockdown, along with highlights from their previous Radio 2 concert performances, including Craig’s own Scary Fairy concerts with the orchestra which saw him bring a modern take on traditional fairy tales.

In Bob And Greg, Radio 2 celebrates the incredible 50 year career of Bob Harris - a master craftsman who has accomplished many unique achievements since his first ever BBC broadcast on Radio 1 on 19 August 1970. Bob has always built his own personal playlists for his radio shows and is loved and respected by his colleagues, world famous musicians and a loyal audience. Above all, Bob retains a huge commitment to helping new musicians - from Emmylou Harris and Tom Petty in the 70s through to Steve Earle, Lady A, Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves in more recent years, and today’s rising stars including The Shires and Ward Thomas. Radio 2’s Country Show with Bob Harris continues to be the destination for anyone wanting to know what’s happening in the world of country music, with sessions and track plays. The emerging artists Bob champions, to the big names still influencing - such as Queen (who he gave their first on air exposure to) and David Bowie (he sang backing vocals on the Space Oddity album) - will be reflected in the programme playlist. Radio 1 Breakfast presenter Greg James grew up with Bob’s famous whispering voice coming out of the radios at home as his father, Alan, has been a fan since that very first broadcast of his 50 years ago, his subsequent television career on The Old Grey Whistle Test, right through to Bob’s current work on Radio 2. They are firm friends through a love of cricket and music and often attend gigs together with their families. In this show, Greg will talk in depth to Bob about his life - including writing sleeve notes for an unknown Elton John, watching Bob Marley play, and touring with bands like Led Zeppelin; his influences and his constant search for the next big thing (9-10pm, Saturday 22 August). A BBC Audio production.

Bob Harris says: “Greg and I have become great friends over recent years. I am a huge fan of his and I am really looking forward to reminiscing with him about my 50 year long career and my love and support of new music, from Bowie and Bolan via John Lennon and Bruce Springsteen to Kacey Musgraves, Lukas Nelson and the stars of Nashville Tennessee. We’ll be going behind the scenes of some of my favourite interviews and on-air moments and playing a selection of amazing music from across the decades.”

Greg James said: “Bob is one of the all-time radio greats and a hero to music fans all over the world. I feel very lucky that I get to sit down with him and hear some of his infamous stories and play a load of his favourite songs. I’ll also make sure to get some tips on how to stay on the radio for as long as he has because I’m bad with money and my crippling mortgage won’t pay itself off!”

The Country Show With Bob Harris will also be marking the occasion with a special programme featuring Bob playing his favourite country songs from across the last 50 years. He’ll be joined by one of his favourite country artists, Mary Chapin Carpenter, live from her home in Maryland (9-10pm, Thursday 20 August). A BBC Audio production.

Two shows will mark 25 years since the legendary Blur Vs Oasis chart battle! In Blur Vs Oasis, Claudia Winkleman looks back at the pinnacle point of Britpop, which took fan loyalty to a whole new level. The show will feature new interviews from the record label teams, who were fighting their own battle behind the scenes, as well as archive from the time. Claudia will look at the build up to the battle and what it paved the way for. And of course, she’ll be playing some of the best of Britpop, which will transport listeners straight back to mid-90s (8-9pm, Saturday 29 August). A Somethin’ Else production. And in a special Britpop Top 50 Chart, Jo Whiley will count down the biggest-selling hits from this classic 90’s era, compiled by the Official Charts Company (2-5pm, Monday 31 August). A 7Digital production.

From Monday 20 July, Sara Cox, Jo Whiley, Trevor Nelson and the weekday specialist music shows on Radio 2 will return to their regular, pre-lockdown times. Sara Cox returns to 5-7pm, Jo Whiley to 7-9pm, specialist music shows from 9-10pm and Trevor Nelson’s Rhythm Nation from 10pm-midnight.

In The Blues Show With Cerys Matthews, Cerys digs into her collection to play blues of all hues, from old to new. With live guest sessions and interviews, alongside blues voices from the archives (9-10pm, Monday 20 July). A Somethin’ Else production.

In The Jazz Show With Jamie Cullum, Jamie brings listeners delights from the jazz greats along with his favourite discoveries from the best emerging artists and exciting new releases. In his first show back, he’ll be replaying a track, I’m Alive, from a recent session with Norah Jones, recorded at her home studio (9-10pm, Tuesday 21 July). A Folded Wing production.

In The Folk Show With Mark Radcliffe, Mark presents the best in folk and acoustic music from Britain and beyond. In this show, Nancy Kerr and Martin Simpson talk about their new electric folk band, The Magpie Arc. Plus there will be classic tracks and news from the folk world (9-10pm, Wednesday 22 July). A 7Digital production.

In The Country Show With Bob Harris, Bob is joined by the Courtney Marie Andrews in session playing songs from her new album, Old Flowers. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when so many musicians are unable to tour, Radio 2's Country Show has featured many artists performing from home, including Carly Pearce, Gretchen Peters, with the likes of Ingrid Andress, Margo Price, Brett Eldredge and Scotty McCreery still to come (Thursday 23 July). A BBC Audio production.

And The Rock Show, hosted by Johnnie Walker, will return to the network from Saturday 5 September.

Source BBC Radio 2

July 17, 2020 6:01am ET by BBC Radio 2  

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