January is usually a frozen dead month for live music but in Scotland we are lucky to have a festival filled with fabulous music to keep you warm even on the coldest night. Celtic Connections runs from the 18th January to 4th February in a variety of venues all across Glasgow. Now in its 25th year the festival hosts some of the best roots, folk and traditional music from Scotland and all around the world, with a particularly strong Americana representation (when Jason Isbell played he joked that there was no one left behind in Nashville). Continue reading “Celtic Connections Preview”
Nothing screams ‘Scottish folk singer’ more than appearing on your album cover wearing a dead pheasant on your head. It is a striking image, classic portrait in style, looking like it would be at home on the walls of any Scottish castle. Julie Fowlis, internationally known for singing the theme song from Pixar’s Brave, is the most famous Gaelic singer to emerge from Scotland in the last few years. This album may be called Alterum, suggesting change, but make no mistake this is still a collection of deeply traditional music. There are songs sung in English and two feature American star Mary Chapin Carpenter, but the album does not take her too far away from her roots. The combination of Gaelic songs, folk music and even spoken word makes this an engaging and enjoyable listen. Continue reading “Album Review: JULIE FOWLIS – ALTERUM “
When I was younger I couldn’t wait until Saturday so I could go to the next town and spend what little money I had on albums and singles. Of course I lived in the middle of nowhere so the next town only had a small Woolworths shop but beggars couldn’t be choosers. I want to tell my 14 year old self one day you will be able to listen to whatever album you want instantly for FREE. I’m sure my head would explode. Yet if I explained how we got here and what we lost on the way I don’t think I would be so overjoyed at the prospect. A system which threatens independent record shops and hurts the artist is not something to celebrate. When I was a kid all I dreamed of was shelves stacked with CDs and vinyl. I have that now but I admittedly buy a lot less, leaving my collection a little frozen in time.
With those concerns in mind, and inspired by the shopping haul posts of other bloggers I am committing myself to getting out to a record shop once a month and buying something by a female artist (to keep with the blog theme). I am also hoping to expand my second hand vinyl collection so I will also show you what treasures I find. Continue reading “October Music Haul”
Navigating the infinite shows on offer during Edinburgh festival season can be an overwhelming task. Look past the ubiquitous comedy on offer and you will find an array of interesting music-themed events. So here are some suggestions for you, with our usual focus on female performers. All of these shows have tickets available at time of writing.
The book festival can be an oasis of calm in the city during August (especially in the evenings). Novelist David Mitchell is curating a series of music themed events at this year’s festival, including an event with the wonderful English folk duo The Unthanks who will be discussing and performing work from their recent album of music inspired by the poems and songs of Molly Drake (which I reviewed earlier this year).
In the wave of shows available local performers can sometimes be forgotten but there is a wide variety of Scottish folk and traditional music on offer. Appearing at the Queen’s Hall is Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis, most famous now for singing the songs from Brave (also if you missed Karine Polwart’s show at the same venue she is reprising Wind Resistance later in the year). Iona Fyfe, a folk ballad singer from Aberdeenshire, who has been a finalist in BBC Scotland’s Young Traditional Musician of the Year is also appearing at the festival.
If you are looking for something a little more alternative then Summerhall continues to deliver a cutting edge program of music events under the banner Nothing Ever Happens Here. Appearing across the month include Spanish indie girls Hinds, plus singer songwriters Julie Byrne and Jenny Hval.
In terms of theatre and comedy there are always shows themed around specific musicians, such as the Joni Mitchell Story or the excellent Doris, Dolly and the Dressing Room Divas. And the Fringe wouldn’t be the Fringe if you didn’t go and see something a little bit different and Dollywould appears to fit the bill nicely.
And since we love country music on this blog I feel it’s only right to finish by recommending Reformed Whores: Grand Ole C*ntry for the title and outfits alone.