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Episode 140 : Holly Gleason on Women in Country + Guy Clark + Taylor Swift

14 November 2022

In this episode we welcome the splendid Holly Gleason, all the way from downtown Nashville, and invite her to tell us about her life as a country music writer and artist development consultant.

Holly explains how, as a teenage championship golfer, she first became enamoured of country in her native state of Ohio, later writing about it (as well as about rap and R&B) for the Miami Herald. Tying in the episode's main theme with Woman Walk the Line – the wonderful essay collection she assembled and edited in 2017 – Holly's hosts ask her about her favourite female artists from Emmylou Harris to Taylor Swift. Along the way she gives us the inside lowdown on "Music City" – having just attended 2022's CMA Awards – and talks fascinatingly about Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus.

The week's new audio interview, with the late great Guy Clark, gives us a chance to discuss that unpigeonholeable singer-songwriter, his complicated friendship with Townes Van Zandt, and his influence on disciples such as Steve Earle and Rodney Crowell. Two clips from John Tobler's 1986 interview with Guy prompt tearful memories of Holly's friendship with the Texan troubadour.

After we've said our own sad goodbyes to Melody Maker mainstay Colin Irwin, Low's Mimi Parker and Nazareth frontman Dan McCafferty, Mark and Jasper talk us out with their favourite new additions to the RBP library including interviews with Patti Smith and Little Simz.

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Holly Gleason; visit her website at hollygleason.com and find Woman Walk the Line at all good bookshops.