Celtic Connections 2019 Preview

In the dead of winter there’s sometimes slim pickings on the live music scene but thankfully in Scotland we have one of the world’s best music festivals to encourage us all out of our hibernation. Celtic Connections runs from the 17th January to 3rd February in a variety of venues all across Glasgow. The festival hosts roots, folk and traditional music from Scotland and all around the world, including a fine selection of Americana acts.

The main dilemma with a festival that offers such an array of different artists is choosing who to see, with many days having multiple events to decide between. Every year the programme is announced I fear bankruptcy is imminent. So to help you decide I have spent some time going through the programme and here’s some of the must see female acts playing the festival this year. Continue reading “Celtic Connections 2019 Preview”

E.P. Review: Iona Fyfe – Dark Turn Of Mind

Talented young Aberdeenshire singer Iona Fyfe released her debut album Away From My Window last year to great acclaim and recently won the MG Alba Scots Singer of the Year award. She begins 2019 by releasing a new E.P. ‘Dark Turn Of Mind’, named after the Gillian Welch song which features on the release. Having been raised in the north-east folk tradition of Doric songs, Fyfe uses this EP to expand her recording repertoire and sing songs in English – including modern folk songs and Appalachian ballads. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Iona Fyfe – Dark Turn Of Mind”

Dolly Parton’s Discography – Dolly: The Seeker – We Used To

Dolly’s second solo release of 1975 was an album made up entirely of self-penned love songs. Porter Wagoner had long been working as an uncredited producer on Dolly’s solo albums but this was the first one which boldly declared itself ‘produced and arranged by Porter Wagoner’. The album was given the original title of simply ‘Dolly’ but it has since become more commonly known with the added subtitle of ‘The Seeker – We Used To’, to differentiate it from other self-titled collections of hits. The subtitle refers to the two singles from the album, the most successful of which was The Seeker, which charted at number two and ended her run of four consecutive number one singles. Continue reading “Dolly Parton’s Discography – Dolly: The Seeker – We Used To”

Albums of the Year 2018

In 2018 I have reviewed nearly seventy albums and listened to many more. The albums I have chosen to review have all connected with me for different reasons, so picking a favourites list feels strange and almost cruel to those I have left out. And yet such a list is also a satisfying way to reflect on the year in music, as a writer and a fan.

In the end I have chosen thirty favourite albums of the year for this list. I have based my choices on a combination of gut instinct and how often I listened to an album. Be aware that my mood changes so much that anything beyond the top four albums might have changed order if I wrote this tomorrow.

This list includes links to my original album reviews, rather than risk repeating myself. Please let me know your favourites in the comments.

Continue reading “Albums of the Year 2018”

Album of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain

At the end of her recent live show in Glasgow, Courtney Marie Andrews parted the crowd and jumped down off the stage to meet her people. In the centre of the room she began singing the title track to her album ‘May Your Kindness Remain’ entirely unplugged. Without amplification the already epic song somehow grew in sound and stature. We stood round her in awe, smiling and wiping away tears. When she finished she received a roar from the crowd, all of whom were thankful to be witness to this musical moment of sense and sanity in an ever spinning world.

Courtney Marie Andrews is a songwriter who asks questions – of her listeners and of herself. She makes us consider the importance of kindness, compassion, love. The power and presence of her music in my life this year has been such a gift and thus there was only one possible choice for the Highway Queens album of the year. Continue reading “Album of the Year: Courtney Marie Andrews – May Your Kindness Remain”

Favourite Songs of 2018

Choosing favourite songs of the year is always an enjoyable experience where you get the chance to savour and celebrate the music that has been the soundtrack to your life over the last twelve months. What I find tricky is trying to rank the songs in some kind of order, as if art can be reduced to a competition. Still I think it’s an interesting challenge to try and compose a chart so I have made an attempt to play favourites. There were so many golden songs this year that really I could have written this tomorrow with an entirely differently order!  Continue reading “Favourite Songs of 2018”

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