King Creosote, The Barbican, London, 22nd January 2017

On a stage dominated by the Astronaut meets Appleman album cover graphic there is a rag tag band of musicians sporting a variety of Space Age looks – well maybe a ramshackle retro-SF space age look is nearer the mark. So there are silvery wigs the like of which haven’t been seen since Space 1999, and more silver jackets than have been gathered into a single place since the BBC stopped spray painting leather biker jackets to provide the Cybermen with their costumes. NASA t-shirts are the order of the day, and the King himself is resplendent in what appears to be a star adorned chef’s jacket as if to visually ask the question “What am I going to, musically, cook up today?”. Continue reading “King Creosote, The Barbican, London, 22nd January 2017”

Tom Paxton, The Stables, Wavendon, 19th January 2017

His last tour was billed as his last European excursion but here – just a couple of dozen months later – is the return of a folk legend in the form of Tom Paxton. This time he’s brought as musical support Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer – who produced and also helped out musically on his new album Boat in the Water.  Cathy is a marvel on clawhammer banjo – as well as vocals and guitar – whilst Marcy is a multi-instrumentalist (she plays at least fifty instruments Cathy proudly informs us) and a third voice. It makes for a different sound to that we’ve come to know on previous tours. Continue reading “Tom Paxton, The Stables, Wavendon, 19th January 2017”

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry @ Celtic Connections. The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow: 26th January 2017

A bit fanciful I suppose to imagine that Bragg & Henry were taking their train theme a bit too literally tonight with the show arriving almost 40 minutes late, the pair taking to the stage after 10 pm. The reality was that the hall had hosted an earlier event, the upshot a steady stream of people leaving before the end, no doubt to catch their own transport. Unfortunately this included your intrepid reporter so we can’t comment on the finale or any encores. Continue reading “Billy Bragg & Joe Henry @ Celtic Connections. The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow: 26th January 2017”

Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Union Chapel, London, 16th January 2017

Serendipity – it happens all the time, that accidental crossing of life’s tentative threads that seem to indicate something significant when a connection is made. Travelling in London by train one inevitably comes into contact with the free newspapers, and tonight the Standard is proclaiming the death of the £300K home. Seems there has been a steady decline in such houses, deemed affordable because a couple both on average salary who have scraped together a significant deposit can escape crippling rents by purchasing such a dwelling on a slightly less crippling mortgage. Not anymore. There’s only one part of London where the average house price falls into this category – Barking. Whether the Bard of Barking is aware of this I don’t know – but he was in London (with Joe Henry) to sing songs about trains. Continue reading “Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Union Chapel, London, 16th January 2017”

Margo Price @Celtic Connections with Aaron Lee Tasjan – Oran Mor, Glasgow: 24th January 2017

Bold as brass, Margo Price commanded centre stage on her Scottish debut. Wearing a figure hugging mini dress seemingly made from the same material as the ruby red slippers in Wizard of Oz, fishnet tights and thigh high boots she certainly was the centre of attention.  Now this isn’t a fashion review and generally one would avoid describing in detail an artist’s costume however, as a statement, Price’s attire spoke volumes. True rhinestone glamour that reeked of bar bands playing in roadhouse bars to disinterested drinkers, the singer clinging to dreams of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and dressing up for a few dollars a night: you never know, a music row scout might pop in for a quick drink. Continue reading “Margo Price @Celtic Connections with Aaron Lee Tasjan – Oran Mor, Glasgow: 24th January 2017”

Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys @Celtic Connections with Louise Bichan. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow: 21st January 2017

Perhaps due to their previous encounter with Celtic music culture via their attendance at The Shetland Island Folk Festival in 2015 Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys approached their first Celtic Connections with some fervour. Their sold out show on the third night of this year’s festival was actually their third appearance having performed at Thursday’s opening celebrations and then pitching up for Friday’s Late Night Sessions (although it was Saturday by the time they came on stage). Thankfully there was no evidence of burnout or alcohol fuelled ennui when they took to the stage tonight as they parlayed their modern take on bluegrass with Lindsay Lou in fine voice and the guys in the band pretty much on fire as they skipped around the mic and swapped instruments. Continue reading “Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys @Celtic Connections with Louise Bichan. Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow: 21st January 2017”

Hurray For The Riff Raff @ Celtic Connections with Roseanne Reid. Drygate, Glasgow: 20th January 2017

It was probably a given that many of the acts appearing at this year’s Celtic Connections will have a public opinion of sorts on the 45th President of The United States. No real surprise then, on the day of his inauguration, that Hurray For The Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra was at times angry, fiercely proud in her opposition and then visibly upset at the prospect of his term. As a Puerto Rican gay woman she is firmly in the potential firing line here but she’s never shied away from political statements and she’s certainly not going to start now. Continue reading “Hurray For The Riff Raff @ Celtic Connections with Roseanne Reid. Drygate, Glasgow: 20th January 2017”