A Musical Month

I had a musical month in January with the 27th outing of Glasgow’s winter music festival, Celtic Connections. My volunteering role as an Artist Liaison meant that I met many great artists from near and far, heard some fabulous music, and met friends old and new amongst the many other volunteers at the festival, at many of the great venues around the city. A few of my favourites being the MacKintosh Church, St Luke’s and the Old Fruitmarket.

The 18 days of music and events brightened up the dark January nights for me with a great mixture of concerts, late-night sessions and even The National Whisky Festival at SWG3 where good food and whisky were to be found with loads of great food, especially that offered up at Julie’s Kopitiam at the Acid Bar

Americana was high on my list of favourite acts with concerts by Anais Mitchell and The Bonny Light Horseman at St Luke’s and the Old Fruitmarket, Frazey Ford, with support from Edinburgh’s Adam Holmes & the Embers.  One of my first concerts this year was with the Canadian Duo Cam Penner and Jon Wood at the Strathclyde Suite with the London based all-girl Bluegrass band, the Midnight Skyracer.

After listening to so much of it, I have starting to enjoy Traditional Scottish Folk music from bands such as the ever-popular  Ímar, who more than satisfied a capacity audience at the City Halls, Rura, The Ciaran Ryan Band, and many new and up and coming musicians such as Hannah Rarity, a new album was launched on the night by  Chris Gray at Oran Mor. 2019’s Danny Kyle Winners, young talented multi-instrumentalist Malin Lewis the ever-popular (and busy) Sam Mabbet from The Canny Band and Luc McNally showcased new work while supporting Miller, MacDonald & Cormier.

The Finnish ‘Nordgrass’ band Frigg supplied an interesting mix of Nordic tradition and American bluegrass in their music, theirs was a sell-out at the City Halls and judged by their CD sales on the night, were extremely popular.  The concerts are hugely popular with a mix of old oldies and the young, they make for a great fun night out.

The Roaming Roots Revue in the Old Fruitmarket saw a full house (following a full house the previous night at the Royal Concert Hall) being presented with ‘Born To Run’, a 70th-birthday tribute to The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, this was a fantastic night with Roddy Hart And The Lonesome Fire’s house band supporting guest singers such as Lisa Hannigan, Karine Polwart, Craig Finn, Jonathan Wilson, Ryan Bingham, The Rails and Glasgows own Phil Campbell.

I even managed to take in a little bit of soul with the fantastic J.P. Bimeni and his backing band, The Black Belts, who set Oran Mor on fire with a similar tremendous soul-filled set, it was one of the best shows I have seen in a long time, and as another volunteer said: “That guy is a superstar, why have I never heard of him before?”

As usual, some street art appeared through the month with the St Luke’s and the Winged Ox mural by SMUG, and me finding a mural in tribute to late Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison by Alex Coyle, in Allison Street in the southside of Glasgow. Alex stated that he wished to raise some awareness for the charity Tiny Changes set up in Scott’s name following his death.

Also new this month is EJEK‘s latest in a series of pieces at the entrance of Ad Lib on Hope street, this time it’s a fine portrait of Aretha Franklin, it certainly is worth popping frequently as the mural at the door is changed by him on a regular basis.

Un-Connected

Now that Celtic Connections is over for another year, I can try and get back to normal again. I’ve really enjoyed my involvement in the festival, heard some great music, and met loads of interesting people along the way.

For my final week, I was involved in gigs at the Mitchell Theatre, The Old Fruitmarket and the O2 Academy, the bands performing were Smith & McClellan, Josie Duncan, Symbio, The Nordic Fiddlers Bloc, Julietnorth, Karine Polwart and finally The Dead South supported by the Hooten Hollers and the Pretty Archie at the Academy, each of them were interesting and different in their own way.

I never got much chance to take photographs, but I really loved the imagery of the Old Fruitmarket when it was empty.

I’m off to Reykjavik later this week so I hope there will be plenty of photo oportunities.