Ashley Monroe has just finished up her successful U.K. and European tour where she played solo acoustic, showcasing the power of her honeyed voice. So it is fitting then that everyone can now hear five songs from her excellent 2018 album Sparrow in a similarly stylish and stripped back arrangement. Continue reading “E.P. Review: Ashley Monroe – Sparrow (Acoustic Sessions)”
Witnessing the pure perfection of Aoife O’Donovan, Sarah Jarosz and Sara Watkins live on stage was one of my musical highlights of 2018 and so it is with great delight and relief I can report that the I’m With Her collaboration is set to continue into 2019. The band have announced a series of live dates and released a brand new song ‘Call My Name’. Continue reading “Song Review: I’m With Her – ‘Call My Name’”
Carson McHone started playing the local bars in her hometown of Austin, Texas aged sixteen, paying her dues and getting an education in honky tonk and heartbreak. Her 2018 album ‘Carousel’ has now been rereleased on British label Loose, who have a pedigree for picking out talent like Sturgill Simpson and Courtney Marie Andrews. Combining the feel of traditional country with a distinctive voice and sharp eye for storytelling, Carson McHone looks like another stellar signing. Continue reading “Album Review: Carson McHone – Carousel”
Former Carolina Chocolate Drops cellist Leyla McCalla is set to have a busy year in 2019. As well as releasing her third solo album The Capitalist Blues, she will soon also be heard on the ‘Our Native Daughters’ project with former bandmate Rhiannon Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell. Until then we can treat ourselves to this excellent solo album – a rich exploration of McCalla’s musical heritage, with a socially conscious heart. Continue reading “Album Review: Leyla McCalla – The Capitalist Blues”
The iconic Transatlantic Sessions has a long history of connecting artists from both sides of the pond in an evening of collaboration and mutual appreciation for traditional music. Those who have taken part in the show in the past have included Emmylou Harris, Rosanne Cash, Julie Fowlis, The Secret Sisters, Sarah Jaroz, Aoife O’Donovan, Eddi Reader and Alison Krauss. This year’s show saw guests Gretchen Peters, Cara Dillon, Molly Tuttle, Paul McKenna and Tim O’Brien grace the legendary stage. Continue reading “Live Review – Transatlantic Sessions 2019 @ Celtic Connections”
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”
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”
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”
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”