Matt McGinn + Andy Lucas, Fallen Angels Club/Star Folk Club, The Admiral Bar, Glasgow, 20th March 2018

Ireland’s Matt McGinn is well aware that any appearance of his in Glasgow is bound to cause some confusion, the city being the birthplace of the late songwriter of the same name, famous for having appeared with Bob Dylan at Carnegie Hall in the sixties. Straight off, McGinn asked if anyone wanted a refund declaring that at least one punter had returned tickets once they realised that it wasn’t the legendary Calton songsmith, returned from the grave, who was appearing tonight. He needn’t have worried as the folk who were attending this long established folk club tonight were all well aware of the Irishman’s growing reputation, bolstered with the release of his third album, ‘The End Of The Common Man.’ Continue reading “Matt McGinn + Andy Lucas, Fallen Angels Club/Star Folk Club, The Admiral Bar, Glasgow, 20th March 2018”

Vissia “Placeholder” (Hurry Hard Records, 2017)

From Alberta Canada, Vissia is singer songwriter Alex Vissia who here offers us nine songs born from experience, “This album is a collection of songs, each holding a place in my experiential past.  Like any memory, the edges get fuzzy with time and my perspective on situations can change, but I look at each song as a snapshot, a moment in time and each song brings me back to a place.”  That’s as may be but essentially the album is a fine although unremarkable collection of indie rock with a dash of torch song added to the mix. Continue reading “Vissia “Placeholder” (Hurry Hard Records, 2017)”

The Vagaband “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (Eggsong Recordings, 2018)

Nine piece Norwich band The Vagaband surpass their fine second album with this rollicking mix of Dylan and Ronnie Lane like Romany swirls, full bodied and city sullied dramas and just plain old good fashioned songs. With the core of the band well able to rock and swing out their battalion of instruments allow them to range far and wide with elements of folk, jazz and country all encompassed. It’s an eclectic mix but it’s held together by front man José McGill who has one of those voices perfectly suited for singing vagabond songs, slightly nasal, unenforced , dare we say, Dylanesque? Continue reading “The Vagaband “Something Wicked This Way Comes” (Eggsong Recordings, 2018)”

Texas legend Dale Watson brings the honky tonk back to the UK

Dale Watson, honky-tonk hero and country music maverick, is coming to the UK for a short 4 tour date next week. A member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, Dale has flown the flag for classic honky-tonk and roots music for over two decades now. He’s christened his brand of American roots music, “Ameripolitan” to differentiate it from the current crop of bland Nashville-based pop country. The Alabama-born, Texas-raised Watson may be the hardest working entertainer today, gigging for around 300 nights a year, and has achieved legendary status since the release of his debut album, “Cheatin’ Heart Attack”, in 1995. Continue reading “Texas legend Dale Watson brings the honky tonk back to the UK”

Faeland “All My Swim” (Green Sage Records, 2018)

‘All My Swim’ is the debut album from Bristol based folk duo Faeland – Rebecca Nelson (lead vocals, guitar) and Jacob Morrison (guitar, ukulele, banjo, backing vocals), the pair assisted on several songs by some very able musicians delivering  a sometimes dreamlike pastoral sound. They seem to be delving into that hinterland of faerie music and bucolic wonder which characterised several bands in the early seventies. Continue reading “Faeland “All My Swim” (Green Sage Records, 2018)”

The Mavericks + The Strange Blue Dreams @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 4th February 2018

It’s the last night of Celtic Connections and the big guns are wheeled out for this packed show at The Old Fruitmarket. The doors opened one hour before the support band were due on and by the time your scribe arrived there already was a good crowd packed up front, camped out as it were in order to get a close up view of The Mavericks, and an odd crowd, not one you’d expect at a Celtic Connections gig. Although there were no pink Stetsons on show this was the type of crowd you’d get at a Dolly Parton concert, star quality drawing in the paying public who want a good time and a good time was what the headliners delivered tonight. Continue reading “The Mavericks + The Strange Blue Dreams @Celtic Connections, The Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow, 4th February 2018”

Colter Wall + Tyler Childers @Celtic Connections, The Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 3rd February 2018

Tickets for this Celtic Connections show sold out almost as soon as the gig was announced with both artists noted as the up and coming guys to watch. Wall’s debut album was helmed by the current in vogue producer Dave Cobb while Childers’ debut is produced by a man who has benefitted from Cobb’s studio craftwork, Sturgill Simpson. With both men playing solo sets it was instructive to see their very different approaches to country and folk music and while Wall was the headliner it was Childers who folk were talking about afterwards. Continue reading “Colter Wall + Tyler Childers @Celtic Connections, The Tron Theatre, Glasgow, 3rd February 2018”

Alela Diane “Cusp” (All Points, 2018)

Since her last album in 2013 (About Farewell) Alela Diane has remarried and given birth to two daughters. We mention the daughters as Cusp is, above all, an album about motherhood, even the album cover can be seen as an update on Whistler’s Mother. Diane sings of her own experiences as a mother while some songs are written from a mother’s perspective. She’s moved on from her early days when she was linked to the freak folk movement, Cusp is an assured and mature set of songs. Continue reading “Alela Diane “Cusp” (All Points, 2018)”

Dean Owens & The Whisky Hearts + The Jenny Sturgeon Trio @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 2nd February 2018

Launching his new album, Southern Wind, Edinburgh’s Dean Owens gathered together his regular band, The Whisky Hearts, to play a sold out show in this east end brewery. The album, recorded in Nashville with an all American line up, has more of a Southern swampy sound then Owens’ previous efforts but the band, well versed in his Celtic Americana, were more than able to muddy their hands with some Mississippi grit as they played several of the songs from the new album. Continue reading “Dean Owens & The Whisky Hearts + The Jenny Sturgeon Trio @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 2nd February 2018”

Courtney Marie Andrews @Celtic Connections, O2 ABC Glasgow, 31st January 2018

Despite being spread over 18 days Celtic Connections still throws up gig conflicts. Tonight Willie Vlautin is appearing up the road promoting his latest book, normally a must attend for Americana fans. However, we’ve plumped for Courtney Marie Andrews on the back of her last appearance in Glasgow when she and her band were in magical form. It’s a mild disappointment then to find out that this is a solo show but that’s a bit like saying that only winning a couple of million on the lottery instead of tens would be a disappointment. Continue reading “Courtney Marie Andrews @Celtic Connections, O2 ABC Glasgow, 31st January 2018”