Monday 30 January 2012

Kris Drever PHOTOS Celtic Connections 2012

Kris Drever performed with Eamon (Salsa Celtica) on banjo and Megan Henderson (Breabach) on fiddle.  Kris has a rich vocal and he is a top rhythm guitarist. He sang among other songs Burn’s Parcel of Rogues.  The band also performed a few upbeat reels. They proved an accomplished band and I enjoyed their set. 

Kris is from Orkney Scotland, and he is a Scottish contemporary folk musician and songwriter, who came to prominence in 2006 with the release of his debut solo album, Black Water. 
He also plays in the folk trio, Lau, alongside Martin Green and Aidan O'Rourke and has worked with numerous other British folk contemporaries - including Kate Rusby, John McCusker, Eddi Reader and Julie Fowlis. Lau won Best BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards - Best Group 2008 and 2009. Kris is the son of Ivan Drever, a former member of Wolfstone.

Saturday 28 January 2012

Thea Gilmore Fruitmarket Celtic Connections 2012

The Fruitmarket is one of the most atmospheric venues with its old world wooden balconies, where one feels as if we may be transported to Victorian times. I always enjoy my visits here during Celtic, although I notice there are no images lining the walls now.  I chose to see Gilmore as I enjoyed her at the Dylan concert at Celtic last year. 

Kris Drever supported, with Eamon (Salsa Celtica) on banjo and Megan Henderson (Breabach) on fiddle. Kris has a rich vocal and he is a top rhythm guitarist. He sang among other songs Burn’s Parcel of Rogues and they also performed a few upbeat reels. They proved an accomplished band and I enjoyed their set.

Gilmore is a quiet performer with a beautiful voice. She was supported by Nigel Stonier (her long-time collaborator, producer, husband and co-songwriter) and a full band that included cello and violin strings. She has recorded an album of Sandy Denny songs called Keep On Singing and she has put music to Denny's lyrics.  One of my favourite songs ever is Denny’s ‘Who Knows Where the Time Goes’, she has a voice with subtle natural depth and highs.  Gilmore does a convincing job as to emulate an iconic voice such as Denny’s is a very brave task!  I particularly enjoyed her moving versions of Long Time Gone, Georgia, and Goodnight
She is releasing the song London as a single. 

"Bring it All Back Home: Gerry Rafferty Remembered" PHOTOS

REVIEW below. 
More PHOTOS PKImage site -

Wednesday 25 January 2012

*"Bring It All Home - Gerry Rafferty Remembered" Celtic Connections 2012

Many Voices and the Songwriter gave them One Voice
A stellar cast took to the Glasgow Royal Concert hall stage as part of Celtic Connections 2012, to celebrate the life and fine tunes of folk pop singer songwriter Rafferty. He gave us unforgettable songs that certainly stuck in our heads back in the 70s – among them his biggest hits with the soaring sax of Baker Street and the dancing rhythms of Stuck in the Middle With You
The concert was led by former Humblebum member and friend Rab Noakes and his daughter Martha Rafferty. The songs selected ranged from the Humblebums, Stealerswheel to Rafferty’s solo career. The Rafferty family, blended their perfect harmonies when they sang The Ark, Family Tree, and Whatever’s Written in Your Heart. Noakes commented that only siblings can produce this special sound. Three of Rafferty's regular band members - guitarist Hugh Burns, multi-instrumentalist Graham Preskett and saxophonist Mel Collins joined with the house band, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire.

The Proclaimers gave a stirring performance of City to City. Ron Sexsmith had flown in from Canada, and with his strong vocal he sang Days Gone Down. Mark Rafferty sounded like Gerry on the wonderful song Mary Skeffington and former Cream bassist Jack Bruce finished the first half with a resounding version of Shipyard Town. There were spirited backing vocals from both Betsey Cook and Barbara Dickson.
This was a concert full of fine jewels. Other highlights were Noake’s accomplished rendering of Moonlight and Gold; Maria Muldaur’s beautiful blues-filled Another World; the soaring vocal of Songbird by James Vincent McMorrow; the Rafferty Family singing the moving The Ark. Martha said that this song best showed Rafferty’s philosophy about life.  
The rousing finale came with Paul Brady singing Rafferty’s biggest hit song Baker Street, after which the entire cast took to the stage for Stuck in the Middle With You which had the concert hall audience on it’s feet. These songs were led by the strong playing of lead guitarist Hugh Burns and saxophonist Mel Collins. Noakes gave the glue and character to the show with his stories about Gerry, the Humblebums, late night travels and more. He spoke of Rafferty’s intelligence and of his love of harmony; of his mystical and spiritual side; and of his strong will and self belief. He spoke of the poignancy yet hard core centre of Rafferty’s songs.I'm still singing Rafferty song two weeks later! His songs are spiritual and offer hope.

Rafferty’s songs cover the full spectrum of emotions, they express full-on-energy, questioning cynicism and mystical spiritualism. He was from Paisley Scotland and his music gave the folk song a new voice. He cared about the craft of the song and not celebrity or it’s trimmings. He was an artist in the true sense of the word and had a rare clarity of artistic vision. A wonderful celebration of one of Scotland’s greatest ever singer songwriters that did Gerry proud and a highlight of this years Celtic Connections.

All Photographs are copyrighted Pauline Keightley and are taken with the permission of the artists, the festival, and the venues involved. Please respect my copyright. Photos at Celtic Connections since 2008.

If you watch this wonderful program - you can see me taking photos on the Ron Sexsmith song! Fame at last!
Bring It All Home - Gerry Rafferty Remembered" Celtic Connections 2012 PHOTOS - Raffertyconcert 

Ran Noakes - Can I Have My Money Back
Proclaimers - Mattie's Rag
Ron Sexsmith - Right Down The Live
Maria Muldaur – Didn’t I
Mark Rafferty - Mary Skeffington
Rafferty Family  -  Family Tree
Barbara Dickson – Wise as a Serpent
Paul Brady - One Drink Down and Another to Go
Emma Pollock - To Each and Everyone of Us
James Vincent McMorrow – Songbird
Tom Robinson – Get It Right Next Time
Jack Bruce – Shipyard Town
Rafferty Family –Whatever's Written in Your Heart
Jack Bruce & James Vincent McMorrrow -  Waiting For the Day
Maria Muldaur – Another World
Ron Sexsmith – Days Gone Down
Rab Noakes – Moonlight and Gold
Emma Pollock - Late Again
Barbara Dickson – Steamboat Road
Rafferty Family - The Ark
Proclaimers -  City to City
Roddy Hart – Her Father Doesn't Like Me Anywore
Jack Bruce & Tom Robinson – Life Goes On
Paul Brady – Baker Street
Everyone – Stuck in the Middle With You

Artists included Rab Noakes, The Proclaimers, Ron Sexsmith, Barbara Dickson, Maria Muldaur, Jack Bruce, Paul Brady, Emma Pollock, James Vincent McMorrow, Roddy Hart, Tom Robinson.

Friday 20 January 2012

*I lost my Heart to Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now

I lost my Heart to Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now 
It's life illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all.'

So I grew up on Joni Mitchell.
Her Voice. Well actually I first learnt to play and sing the stage musicals and Burns songs.  I can't remember when I first heard Joni's pure and touching voice but her personal and intimate songs became ingrained in my head, in particular Both Sides Now.
Her dreams and passion took me skyward when I was young and the sands of time stood still for those moments. She sang of her sorrows and offered us a voice. Most memorable was her pure soaring voice. She wrote of loss, of heartache and love with more creative insights than I'd heard before. 
I remember the deep blue colours on her 'Blue' album sleeve. I bought the sheet music and played it often. Like Dylan some of her lyrics are so true we never forget them.  For me Joni is at her best when her songs are lost in those confessional deeply felt emotions. 

Songwriting. By 1974 her songs had been hits for other artists - Both Sides Now for July Collins and Woodstock for Crosby, Stills and Nash.  She may have been known as an also ran folk artist with a cult following or as a folk confessional romantic but many of her songs also show clever wit,irony.   
Joni also states Debussy and classical as big influences on her music and her songs show harmonic complexity and melodic invention. 
"I want the full hyphen: folk-rock-country-jazz-classical, so finally when you get all the hyphens in, maybe they'll drop them all, and get down to just some American music."

Lyrics. She states that she is a painter first and a musician second  and certainly the words of her songs paint such clear honesty I was instantly captivated.....
 'I am a lonely painter, I live in a box of paints,'
'Tears and fears and feeling proud, To say I love you right out loud. ...
And dreams and schemes and circus crowds, I've looked at life that way,
But now it's just another show, You leave them laughing when you go,
So if you care don't let them know, Don't give yourself away.'  
'The times you impress me most are the times when you dont' even try.'

Discography. Her ALBUMS from 1971 to 1975 were her greatest output - Ladies of the Canyon 1970; Blue  ; For the Roses; Court and Spark, 1974, No Billboard chart; Miles of Aisles; The Hissing of Summer Lawns.
Help Me was her only top ten single from her Court and Spark album.  C & S was her biggest selling album (when she brought in a backing band). 
Her Blue album is autobiographical and its' narrative shows her as one the best at writing in the first person. Joni had a young pregnancy and gave away the child and the memory of this loss haunted her and she wrote of this in Little Green.

From 1975 Joni changed direction as she turned to jazz-infusion and sythn sounds, and her music felt less accessible for many fans.
Was she too much the real deal and even too good to be popular?  What an intelligent and individual force of nature she is.  'We love our loving but not like we love our freedom.' 

Thursday 19 January 2012

*So Who is Lana Del Rey?

I thought I’d join the Lana Del Rey debate!  If art is measured by the controversy we create then she is already a winner!

Firstly the way the industry works today there is all this beavering away ‘behind the scenes’ in the studio writing and recording with producers. Fair enough. However there appears to be little emphasis on live music, even as live music and festivals become an ever bigger part of the music industry.

WHY do new artists such as Del Rey (aka Lizzy Grant) have to ‘pretend’ she sat at home playing guitar, when she simply was picked up by a label a few years back. This fairy story that it all happens by ‘magic’ is nearly non-existent these days. (unless you want to believe those pretend reality tv shows?) Many young people now ‘train’ at music colleges or study music at school. With instant Internet inspection the norm these days the minute an artist puts their music online there really is little room for any errors the way it was back in the 6os.  Back then it was even Ok to sing covers, goodness(!) while now to do so you have be a tribute act …..

All this good exposure online also has its drawbacks!  
Lana is clearly used to singing alongside a piano and on the Saturday Night Live YouTube clip she looked lost with the rock band. There are and should be all kinds of performers; those on the big stage and those on the small intimate stage. Lana plays the intimate stage perfectly. She has a unique husky subdued voice. Lovely. 
 Here she sounds pretty good with acoustic piano and one guitar -  actually strings would be good in there too!
(I also enjoy her retro fifties feel of her look and image.) 

Tuesday 17 January 2012

*Celtic Connections Festival Glasgow 2012!

Held when we feel the winter blues, Celtic offers the warm glow of dancing fiddles, energetic guitars and free flowing singers....
In my twenties I dated a folk guitarist in Edinburgh and visited Sandy Bells and Arran folk festivals. The immediacy and passion of live traditional reels and folk songs were infectious and I was hooked. 
The recent successes of younger artists such as Mumford, Laura Marling and Bellowhead, show there is now renewed interest in the musical traditions worldwide. Aly Bain commented stated that there is little acoustic music on tv these days. Celtic started in 1994 when Aly Bain was the only professional fiddle player in Scotland and he wondered would they sell 100,000 tickets in January in Glasgow.....? Well yes they did and now in 2012 Celtic is one of the largest gatherings of folk music worldwide. 
My guitarist son and I take a front row seat every year at the Transatlantic Sessions, one of Celtics highlights which is led by musical directors Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas. This concert, which is held in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall, has an energetic impact where the folk traditions of close live collaborations and instrumental skills abound.
The mix of Scottish traditional lilting tunes alongside its' partner the fun rhythms of American bluegrass and country music works a treat. Nashville legend Dubro guitarist Jerry Douglas leads the Americans on the right if the stage and backing bands don't come any better then this!  Image, age and celebrity matter not one bit. What matters is the live music, nothing else. There are no flashing lights, gimmicks or egos - the music is simply down to the quality of the sound, instruments and playing skills. One of the main aspects I enjoy at Celtic are the very interesting and sometimes usual collaborations. 
The band includes veterans Danny Thompson on double bass, Bruce Molsky on guitar, Phil Cunningham on accordion, and also Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, Darrell Scott, John Doyle, Russ Barenberg and James Mackintosh. 
After a couple of reels we have the pleasure of several singers from Tim O'Brien to the likes of Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis last year in a royal blue velvet dress.  James Taylor, Emmylou Harris and Nanci Griffith have also attended.  This year the sessions include Raul Malo, Ruth Moody, Declan O'Rourke, Eddi Reader and Karen Matheson. This concert is pure class - acoustic music at it's very best.  Long may it last!   Transatlantic now goes on tour after the festival, check for dates 

The festival centres around the concert hall with open mic sessions, concerts and more, as well as many other Glasgow venues that include the Old Fruitmarket, City halls, The Arches, Classic Grande, the ABC, Oran Mor, more.   
This is one of my favourite festivals and 2012 will be my fifth year covering Celtic.

Thursday 12 January 2012

The Most Important Drumbeat Ever

Copyright Laws.
Too strict copyright is as bad as too little copyright laws.
Restrictive copyright laws stifle creativity and the freedom required for the progression of music.

The History of the ‘Amen Break’. Samples of this drum beats were used in hip hop and club dance music that has led to a massive industry and money maker for the music industry.  The industry ignored the sampling in the 80s...perhaps things simply need to renew.

As regulators in the US seeks to tighten copyright laws we should reflect that our culture is richer if our copyright laws are less strict. (and PS why do artists wish to ban fans from supporting their work, what is that about?)

Friday 6 January 2012

Lana Del Rey's National Anthem

'National Anthem' is a song from Lana Del Rey's forthcoming debut album 'Born To Die'. . 

Lana Del Rey (formerly known as Lizzy Grant) has built up a huge following on YouTube in 2011 with her song ‘Video Games’ and was tipped for big things in 2012. She has appeared on the BBCs ‘Later With Jools Holland’ and she is on the cover of Q magazine January 2012.  

DIY Blog likens the song ‘National Anthem’ to the band All Saints and sees the song as a potential chart hit. Quote:” As a pop song, capable of breaking into the charts - and this is the context we should be putting Del Rey in… it’s a potential no.1 hit.”  

Quote Kicksnare blog – ‘Leak after demo after leak has hit the net. The latest ‘National Anthem’ is the first track to really catch me since ‘Video Games’….. Her beautiful and unique voice sometimes doesn’t seem to fit the tempo of her music, but ‘National Anthem’ is brilliant… Lana channels a westcoast vibe that takes me back to the days when slow, soulful and gritty westcoast hip-hop ruled my radio – perfectly showcasing her brazenly seductive attitude. So take into account this is a leak and know the final mix will only be even more spectacular Ok Miss Del Rey, you have finally done it, I am under your spell.’