We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.


Guitars that sound like bagpipes. A woman in a wetsuit kicking ass. Spiky hair, ATV racing, and, on lead guitar, the most convincing evidence yet of Stuart Murdoch‘s life before Belle and Sebastian.

Yes, Big Country’s “In a Big Country” has everything. On my way to the softball game where the CP treated Express like Express treats wire copy, this tune came on 94.7 the Globe and rocked me halfway to Montgomery County. I went home, found my copy of the band’s 1983 debut, The Crossing, and proceeded to fill the house with Steve Lillywhite-finessed huge drums and simulated bagpipes. (Interesting fact: None of Big Country’s members were born in Scotland.) Singer Stuart Adamson‘s big, booming voice evinces a certain folk-tinged optimism that characterized some of my favorite ’80s music, from Aztec Camera to Fetchin’ Bones. Jesus, I’m old! Anyway, crank it up, raise a glass to a man whose troubled life ended too soon, and chant with me: “Cha!”