Watch: Transatlantic Sessions (S01)

Dozens of folk musicians from both sides of the Atlantic, such as Emmylou, Guy Clark, Kate and Anna, Iris Dement, Mary Black, Jerry Douglas, Aly Bain, Danny Thompson and John Martyn join what has been called ‘the greatest backporch shows ever’


16 April 2022 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News

This is Session One of the series and features seven full programs. See below the video for complete list of artists and songs played.

Transatlantic Sessions is the collective title for a series of musical productions by Glasgow-based Pelicula Films Ltd, funded by- and produced for BBC Scotland, BBC Four and RTÉ of Ireland.

Montgreenan House, where The Original Transatlantic Sessions production was recorded in 1995 in  in Ayrshire, Scotland

The productions comprise collaborative live performances by various leading folk, bluegrass and country musicians from both sides of the North Atlantic, playing music from Scotland, Ireland, England and North America, who congregate under the musical direction of Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas to record and film a set of half-hour TV episodes.

The Television director is Mike Alexander and the producer is Douglas Eadie.

Folk musicians come together in what have been called ‘the greatest backporch shows ever’


The first (Original) Transatlantic Sessions episode was produced in 1995 – a project conceived at that time by Douglas Eadie, Mike Alexander and Aly Bain.

Emmylou Harris

Subsequent sessions were produced in 1998, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013. To date, the series comprises the six sessions.

For each session, the producer and directors select a special setting – typically a country manor, lodge or hotel in Scotland where the musicians perform and stay while the session is recorded (see also below).

Each session was filmed in a different location with the exception of Series 4 and 5 which were both filmed in the same house, the hunting lodge at Glen Lyon near Aberfeldy in Perthshire. Series 6 was filmed and recorded at a location on the banks of Loch Lomond.

Musicians Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas
BBC 4’s Transatalantic Sessions (Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas) Copyright John MacKinnon

The original transatlantic sessions 1

The Original Transatlantic Sessions (TS1)

Main performers in brackets (not necessarily the composers).

  • Programme OneWheels of Love (Emmylou Harris, Iris DeMent, Mary Black), MacIlmoyle (Aly Bain, Jay Ungar, Russ Barenberg, Molly Mason, Jim Sutherland), Ready for the Storm (Kathy Mattea, Dougie MacLean), Spencer the Rover (John Martyn, Danny Thompson), Big Bug Shuffle (Russ Barenberg), Black Diamond Strings (Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris), Guitar Talk (Michelle Wright, Karen Matheson), Ashokan Farewell (Jay Ungar, Aly Bain)
  • Programme TwoMay You Never (John Martyn, Kathy Mattea), Big Scioty (Jay Ungar, Aly Bain, Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas), Ta Mo Chleamhnas Deanta, (Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Donal Lunny), Grey Eagle (Mark O’Connor), Talk to Me of Mendocino (Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Karen Matheson), Mexican Monterey (Savourna Stevenson, Aly Bain, Danny Thompson), By The Time It Gets Dark (Mary Black, Emmylou Harris, Declan Sinnot), Auld Lang Syne (Rod Paterson, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Martyn Bennett)
  • Programme ThreeThe Loving Time (Mary Black, Emmylou Harris, Declan Sinnott), Goodbye Liza Jane (Jay Ungar, Aly Bain, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas, Molly Mason), Iain Ghlinn Cuaich (Karen Matheson, Donald Shaw), Turning Away (Dougie MacLean, Kathy Mattea), Boulavogue / Mrs McCleod (Davy Spillane, Aly Bain, Russ Barenberg), Let the Mystery Be (Iris DeMent), Wild Mountain Thyme (Dick Gaughan, Emmylou Harris, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright), Far From Home / Big John MacNeil (House Band, Mark O’Connor, Martyn Bennett, Charlie McKerron, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Cathal McConnell)
  • Programme FourGoin’ Back to Harlan (Anna & Kate McGarrigle, Emmylou Harris), Daire’s Dream (Davy Spillane, Jerry Douglas, Russ Barenberg), Canan Nan Gaidheal (Karen Matheson, Donald Shaw), Jim’s Jig / Little Cascades / Fox in the Town (Simon Thoumire, Jim Sutherland), Farewell, Farewell (Mary Black, Declan Sinnott), Cat in the Bag (Mark O’Connor, Russ Barenberg, Donal Lunny, Danny Thompson), Our Town (Iris DeMent), Ronfleuse Gobeil (Jay Ungar, Aly Bain, Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg, Jim Sutherland)
  • Programme FiveI Will (Kathy Mattea, Dougie MacLean), Will the Circle be Unbroken (Michelle Wright, Iris DeMent, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh), You Low Down Dirty Dog (Jay Ungar, Aly Bain, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas, Molly Mason), Gentle Annie (Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rod Paterson), Jesse Polka (Mark O’Connor, Phil Cunningham, Russ Barenberg, Donal Lunny, Danny Thompson), Green Rolling Hills (Emmylou Harris, Mary Black), The Dark Woman of the Glen (Cathal McConnell, Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, Russ Barenberg), Big Muff (John Martyn, Danny Thompson)
  • Programme SixHard Times (Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Rufus Wainwright, Emmylou Harris, Mary Black, Karen Matheson, Rod Paterson), MacCrimmon’s Lament (Martyn Bennett), Dublin Blues (Guy Clark, Karen Matheson), Sweet is the Melody (Iris DeMent), A Maiden’s Prayer (Aly Bain, Jay Ungar, Molly Mason, Russ Barenberg, Jerry Douglas, Jim Sutherland), Don’t Want to Know (John Martyn, Danny Thompson), For No One (Emmylou Harris, Dave Spillane), Scotland (House Band, Mark O’Connor, Martyn Bennett, Charlie McKerron, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Cathal McConnell)
  • Programme SevenOld Fashioned Waltz (Emmylou Harris, Kate & Anna McGarrigle), Clyde to Sandyhook (Savourna Stevenson, Aly Bain), Dark as a Dungeon (Guy Clark, Rod Paterson), The Lover’s Waltz (Molly Mason, Jay Ungar, Aly Bain), Both Sides the Tweed (Dick Gaughan, Emmylou Harris), The Reasons Why I’m Gone (Michelle Wright, Karen Matheson), Uncle Sam / Rain on Olivia Town (Jerry Douglas), This Love Will Carry (Dougie MacLean, Kathy Mattea)

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