Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018

Long time AUK favourites Birds Of Chicago flew into Glasgow as Celtic Connections was nearing the end of its run. With core members, Allison Russell and JT Nero accompanied by the acclaimed producer and wizard guitar player Steve Dawson, the trio’s show was heart-warming and uplifting. Russell and Nero are a delight to see and hear. Their chalk and cheese voices (hers sweet and melodious, his, a sandpapered drawl) combine wonderfully with a definite sense of soul in its essence while the songs flow wonderfully with elements of bluegrass, folk, Celtic and Gospel all entwined. Continue reading “Birds Of Chicago + Salthouse @Celtic Connections, Drygate, Glasgow, 31st January 2018”

The Delines + Dori Freeman @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 27th January 2019

It’s not often that there are more novels than discs on a merch table at a gig but tonight there was an author, Willie Vlautin, on stage, one part of The Delines who produced a magnificent set of songs suffused with southern soul and bleak outlooks, broken hearts and broken fingers, drifters adrift in a sea of loneliness. Vlautin of course has forged a second career as a wordsmith with a couple of his books plucked by Hollywood but we first heard his words via Richmond Fontaine and with The Delines he has created another fabulous band. The story is that he had a bunch of songs he didn’t feel comfortable singing so he asked Amy Boone to step in which she did so excellently on their first album, ‘Colfax’. Disaster struck soon after when Boone was seriously injured in a car accident requiring lengthy rehab for her injuries and the band was put on furlough. Now, with Boone recovered sufficiently, the second album, ‘The Imperial’, is out and the band are on fire. Continue reading “The Delines + Dori Freeman @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 27th January 2019”

Buffalo Blood + Lucas & King @Celtic Connections, The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 25th January 2019

The live world premiere of a project which crosses the Atlantic, delves into roots music and offers insights into current events which blight the planet, is just about perfect fodder for Celtic Connections, a festival which prides itself on, well, connecting. So, conceived in Leith and in Nashville, gestated in New Mexico, and then finally delivered, fully formed, in Glasgow, Buffalo Blood is alive and kicking. Continue reading “Buffalo Blood + Lucas & King @Celtic Connections, The Mitchell Theatre, Glasgow, 25th January 2019”

My Darling Clementine + Taylor & Leigh @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th January 2019

If you’re looking for a great night of cheatin’ country songs then there’s no better way to go about it than to pull up a seat at a My Darling Clementine show. Married couple Lou Dalgleish and Michael Weston King have been performing their quarrelsome pairing for almost a decade now and while, initially, the primary inspiration for the band were Nashville’s warring duos such as George and Tammy and Porter and Dolly, they’ve moved on quite a bit since then. They channel the melting pot of country and soul which was perfected in Memphis in the late sixties while there’s also a grand Brill Building pop sensibility to some of their songs. Tonight they returned to Celtic Connections with a red hot line up and while the theatrics are still there, there’s a deep and abiding love of the genre they so admire with several of the songs performed deep cuts from the country canon. Continue reading “My Darling Clementine + Taylor & Leigh @Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, 19th January 2019”

The Mammals + May Erlewine @Celtic Connections. St Luke’s, Glasgow,18th January 2019

AUK kicked off our Celtic Connections itinerary this year in the hallowed portals of an old church situated on the outskirts of The Barras, a once thriving open-air market place and home to the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom. St. Luke’s doesn’t have the cachet of The Barrowlands but it proved to be a fine venue for The Mammals, the name under which Mike Merenda and Ruth Ungar are back, having revived the band last year. Mike & Ruthy (as they were known then) played a blinder at Celtic Connections a few years back so it was intriguing to see what, if any, differences would transpire given the band moniker. Truth be told, there was very little other than some line up changes, the loss of pedal steel for keyboards and some more harmonising from the boys in the band. Continue reading “The Mammals + May Erlewine @Celtic Connections. St Luke’s, Glasgow,18th January 2019”

Celtic Connections kicks off this week

Glasgow’s annual celebration of roots and traditional music from around the globe opens for business this Thursday and then proceeds for the next three weeks with over 300 events scheduled to take place. Always a highlight of the cultural calendar it’s the largest festival of its type in the world showcasing world music, folk, roots, jazz, blues, Gaelic and Scottish music and, of course, Americana. Continue reading “Celtic Connections kicks off this week”

Celtic Connections announces 2019 line up

Glasgow’s annual winterfest of roots music has unveiled the line up for 2019 and as usual, amidst the myriad of acts with more than 300 events taking place over the festival’s 18 days, there’s plenty of Americana acts to enjoy. As Donald Shaw, Creative Producer for Celtic Connections, says, “Every year we strive to programme the most diverse and eclectic festival yet and 2019 is shaping up to be just that. From artists who have influenced the current scene, to musicians who are re-defining the music of tomorrow, Celtic Connections 2019 will continue to embrace a huge range of styles and genres that showcase artists and cultures from across the world.” Continue reading “Celtic Connections announces 2019 line up”

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”

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”