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”

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”

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”

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”

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”