The Americans @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 28th January 2018

“Where are they from?” asks a friend, when I announce that I’m going to see a band called The Americans. Not such a surprising question especially when so many Scottish acts name check former colonial places – Idlewild, Texas and the rest.  These Americans, from, er, California are on their first visit to Scotland, on a rainy Sunday night , playing Celtic Connections in the old church crypt at Oran Mor in Glasgow’s West End. They are promoting their 2017 album I’ll Be Yours and 2016 EP First Recordings on the Loose label. Continue reading “The Americans @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 28th January 2018”

Hayes Carll + Corb Lund @Celtic Connections, St. Lukes, Glasgow, 26th January 2018

This fine pair, Carll, a sardonic Texan and Lund, rangy and Canadian, have been buddies for some time, co-writing songs, hanging out, even appearing in each other’s videos. Tonight, and for one night only here at Celtic Connections while on their current tours, they were teamed up to give us a Bluebird Cafe styled “in the round” set (if you can do that with just two artists, maybe a musical ping pong would be more appropriate). Continue reading “Hayes Carll + Corb Lund @Celtic Connections, St. Lukes, Glasgow, 26th January 2018”

Lord Huron, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 23rd January 2018

Having attended Lord Huron’s first gig of their first proper UK tour back in 2013 this reviewer suggested that the masses should get out and see them at the moderate sized venues they’d been booked into, as the next time would see Lord Huron playing considerably larger and fuller gigs. And here we are in the sold out Shepherds Bush Empire. It’s been a busy few years in between – with a second album recorded and released and some high profile song appearances most notably in the Robert Redford hiking movie “A Walk in the Woods”. Continue reading “Lord Huron, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 23rd January 2018”

The Deslondes + Underhill Rose @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 24th January 2018

Sometimes you just know when you have made the right choice and so it was that when The Deslondes struck up it was clear that the other attractions at tonight’s Celtic Connections would pale in comparison. From the very start this five piece New Orleans band transformed Oran Mor into a dusty American Roadhouse, the standing audience swaying in time to the beer stained music throughout the show. Continue reading “The Deslondes + Underhill Rose @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 24th January 2018”

Doghouse Roses + John Alexander + Mandulu & Hephzibah, @Celtic Connections, The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 21st January 2018

From the quiet dignity of a church to the crammed basement of a West End bar for tonight’s Celtic Connections show. A sold out show for Doghouse Roses, the Scottish duo of Paul Tasker and Iona MacDonald who can be considered as our version of Gillian Welch and David Rawling, a similar combination of a superb voice and masterful guitar. Continue reading “Doghouse Roses + John Alexander + Mandulu & Hephzibah, @Celtic Connections, The Hug & Pint, Glasgow, 21st January 2018”

Findlay Napier + Boo Hewerdine + Eddi Reader, @Celtic Connections, The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow, 20th January 2018

It’s fitting really that the first Celtic Connections show Americana UK attends this year is a celebration of Glasgow. Glasgow of course is home to Celtic Connections which, in its 25th year, has put the city firmly on the musical map with over 300 shows in 20 venues spread over three weeks. Tonight it’s Findlay Napier presenting his latest album, Glasgow, a celebration of his 20 years of living and working in the city and the venue is a listed church built by the renowned architect, Charles Rennie MacIntosh. Continue reading “Findlay Napier + Boo Hewerdine + Eddi Reader, @Celtic Connections, The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow, 20th January 2018”

David Ramirez, St Pancras Old Church, London, 12th January 2018

“I may as well get in his good graces before I start getting blasphemous”, says David Ramirez as he pauses to reflect on the intimate surroundings of St Pancras Old Church towards the beginning of his set tonight. Ramirez is playing completely solo on his current tour although he pauses to reflect at one point on how playing with the compatriots in his regular band has meant his music is tending to evolve in a more rock ‘n’ roll direction. As for the evening, the environment is perfectly suited to his more intimately personal style of song writing, with Ramirez on acoustic guitar throughout. Continue reading “David Ramirez, St Pancras Old Church, London, 12th January 2018”

Roots In The Round – Dean Owens +Robert Vincent +The Worry Dolls, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th December 2017

Wrapping up a ten date tour,  this caravan of rootsy singer/songwriters pulled into Glasgow for their final gig on a night that saw sub zero temperatures outside. Happily, a hardy bunch came out to see the line up – A Scot, A Scouser (their words) and the London based up and comers The Worry Dolls. Despite nursing a cold Owens led off the night which consisted of each act performing a song before handing the baton to the next one. It’s a concept popular in Nashville and indeed Owens got the idea for the shows while over there for along with The Worry Dolls and Vincent (the Scouser). Continue reading “Roots In The Round – Dean Owens +Robert Vincent +The Worry Dolls, The Glad Cafe, Glasgow, 10th December 2017”

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Dingwall’s, London, 5th December 2017

A random conversation with a total stranger at this summer’s Ramblin’ Man Fair, who insisted I head directly to the Blues tent to see an amazing guitar slinger from Nashville, is what brought me to this pass on a Tuesday evening in Camden. That afternoon’s set in Maidstone back in July had other complete strangers turning to each other in the tent, with a look of excitement borne of witnessing a future star in the making. Continue reading “Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown, Dingwall’s, London, 5th December 2017”

Broken Witt Rebels, Boston Music Room, London, 29 November 2017

The Broken Witt Rebels brought their unique blend of heavy blues, high energy rock, southern soul and Americana to north London last Tuesday, during a tour for their debut album which they’ve just released. Continue reading “Broken Witt Rebels, Boston Music Room, London, 29 November 2017”