On Monday night Rhiannon Giddens made a welcome return to Scotland to play a special show with the ‘Celtic Blues’ orchestra, led by Grit conductor Greg Lawson and made up of a varied array of players. The new versions of these songs, arranged by Gabe Witcher of The Punch Brothers, were neither strictly classical or folk but occupied what Giddens called an ‘interesting realm’ between the two. The results of this collaboration produced an evening of music of the highest quality that was a privilege to witness. Continue reading “Live Review: Rhiannon Giddens @ Celtic Connections”
A restored church on a Sunday was a fitting place for country music fans to congregate and worship a woman who is blessed with one of the best voices in the genre. Ashley Monroe returned to these shores for the first time since Country to Country in 2016 and the Scottish crowd were so eager to hear her play again that she sold out both the first venue she was booked to play and this upgrade of St Luke’s as well. Continue reading “Live Review: Ashley Monroe @ Celtic Connections”
Celtic Connections prides itself in bringing the world to Glasgow and on the second Saturday of the festival we were treated to some classic Americana live on stage. Amy Helm has opened for the likes of Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, playing a similarly soulful blend of roots rock, learned from a life lived in the history of American music. Continue reading “Live Review: Amy Helm @ Celtic Connections”
I first started listening to Juliana Hatfield when I was thirteen, when I didn’t know who I was quite yet but I knew who I didn’t want to be, and what kind of music I didn’t want to listen to. I hated anything perfect, anything normal – I gravitated towards the damaged, the delicate, the fragile, the odd. I heard something in Juliana’s music that spoke to that loner soul I had inside of me. Twenty five years later and I still feel the same.
In the last two years we’ve been lucky enough to have two brilliant new Juliana albums released – the politically charged Pussycat and her tribute to her own childhood idol Olivia Newton John. The third album in as many years is more personal, concerned with what it means to be a little Weird. Continue reading “Album Review: Juliana Hatfield – Weird”
The last time I saw Sharon Van Etten play live she hid behind her hair and sang a set filled with brutally honest songs, many of which detailed the reality of an abusive relationship and its aftermath. To get on stage and share this kind of pain was visibly difficult for her. Not long after she announced a shift in focus away from music – she went to college, began acting and recently became a mother. The break became the inspiration behind her new album Remind Me Tomorrow, a step away from the shadows of her past into a different light. Continue reading “Album Review: Sharon Van Etten – Remind Me Tomorrow”
Kaia Kater’s new album Grenades tells the story of her experience as a child of an immigrant, linking to her father’s story of leaving his homeland of Grenada for Canada as a child. Kater adds her traditional banjo to new sonic landscapes of lush instrumentation, creating an album of atmospheric modern folk music. Continue reading “Album Review: Kaia Kater – Grenades”
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”
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’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”