3hattrio with Lizabett Russo @Celtic Connections. The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow: 4th February 2017

The last weekend of Celtic Connections and we’re excited to see, at long last, the strange three headed creature born in the Utah desert, the weird aggregation of old time Americana, chamber music and jazz that is 3hattrio. Over the course of three albums this trio (Hal Cannon, Greg Istock and Eli Wrankle) have insinuated their way into late night listening habits here at home, their mingling of old weird America and parched landscapes, played with, at times, an almost avant-garde edge, a perfect balm after a hectic day. Continue reading “3hattrio with Lizabett Russo @Celtic Connections. The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow: 4th February 2017”

Nathan Bell @Celtic Connections. Oran Mor, Glasgow: 2nd February 2017

Nathan Bell , a troubadour in the tradition of Townes Van Zandt and Steve Earle, was sandwiched in between two rather noisy acts for this, his Scottish debut. The fans had packed Oran Mor for the headliner James McMurtry and had been warmed up by the opening act, Alice Drinks The Kool Aid. This peculiarly named act turned out to be an old style blues trio (and yes, from Chicago) who turned in a set that reeked of student unions back in the seventies when everyone and their dog covered Cream and Taste. That may be a tad unfair as the sound system wasn’t doing them any favours but it has been a long long time since I heard a bass solo in a 12 bar workout. Their USP was the fact that guitarist and singer Tony Magee runs a brewery, Lagunitas, and he had donated a keg of his IPA to the bar offering all present free beer until the keg ran dry. So more power to his elbow then and in truth the band did offer up some fine ZZ Top styled boogie. Continue reading “Nathan Bell @Celtic Connections. Oran Mor, Glasgow: 2nd February 2017”

John Paul White @Celtic Connections. The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow: 1st February 2017

It was a sold out show for John Paul White’s first visit to Glasgow since the collapse of the Grammy award winning The Civil Wars, an episode mired in some mystery as he and Joy Williams imploded. Since then he’s kept a low profile, setting up his record label and producing an excellent album by the legendary Donnie Fritts. Back in September of last year however a solo album, Beulah, was released. An album of bittersweet Southern grooves and creamy country rock Beulah was taken by some to be a veiled response to the breakup of the band. Continue reading “John Paul White @Celtic Connections. The Mackintosh Church, Glasgow: 1st February 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”

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”