Showing posts with label guitar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guitar. Show all posts

Tuesday 21 February 2023

Martha Wainwright at Celtic Connections 2023

 

This year’s Transatlantic Sessions 2023 at the CELTIC CONNECTIONS music festival Glasgow,  


hosted its eclectic and diverse line-up with firstly Canadian folk royalty, singer songwriter Martha Wainwright who recently released her fifth album ‘Love Will Be Reborn, as well as her autobiography No Regrets: She sang a poignant Love Will Be Reborn and later more joyous songs with her guitar. She is an accomplished and engrossing performer, with her contemplative vocal nuance. The session then went on tour to six venues across the UK.


I saw Martha back in 2009 at the Old Fruitmarket venue during Celtic Connections and she held the audience with only her guitar, she was impressive with her seasoned performance. I got some fun photos there too! Stage lighting has improved since then.













Sunday 19 February 2023

Transatlantic Sessions 2023

 



The Transatlantic Sessions 2023 celebrated its 20th year with its familiar and successful format – like a warm comfort blanket – which is one of the highlights of cc festivals final weekend. Afterwards the TS goes on tour to six UK venues. The strength of the sessions concerts is the unique quality of the folk, roots band that is fronted by a range of talented solo performers. They set the stage as a relaxed living room to capture that live folk essence.


This year’s sessions hosted its eclectic and diverse line up with firstly - Canadian folk royalty, singer songwriter Martha Wainwright, who recently released her fifth album Love Will Be Reborn, as well as her autobiography 'No Regrets.' She sang a poignant 'Love Will Be Reborn' and later more joyous songs with her guitar. She is an accomplished and engrossing performer, with her contemplative vocal nuances. 


Martha Wainwright


Karen Matheson

It is always good to see new talent coming through, tonight with Americans folk/ blues singer Amythyst Kiah and accomplished roots musicians, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves: their debut album earned them the Independent Music Awards “Best Bluegrass Album.” Amythyst impressed with her strong soul voice: her first album in 2022, Wary + Strange, saw her opening for The Who. 

Amethyst Kiah

                              


Liam O Maonial


Irish musician Liam Ó Maonlai, frontman of Hothouse Flowers, displayed his virtuosity and range on both piano and vocals. His song ‘Worry Not’ had shades of John Marty’s folk blues. Revered Capercaillie vocalist, Scots Gaelic singer  Karen Matheson sang with her tender and pure voice ‘’I will Set my Ship in Order.’ In 2021 she released her album Still Time, with both traditional and contemporary songs. While dubro master Jerry Douglas performed a soaring George Harrison’s ‘My Guitar Gently Weeps ` and the finale of ever popular reels was uplifting.

Crucially the TS concert is led by the synergy between Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas, backed by the quality Scots, Irish and American musicians. As well as the tight dynamism of composers Phil Cunningham, John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick and Donald Shaw.

Jerry Douglas
John Doyle

This was my 14th TS concert, and I did miss some of the American musicians who are often to the right of musical directors Jerry Douglas and Al Bain - Russ Barenburg, Tim O’Brian, Darrell Scott and others. I met audience members who’d travelled a distance to be part of the Celtic connections festivals – from Ireland and the US. A truly international, open and outward-looking musical celebration, as well as building on the Celtic musical traditions.

Many Americans celebrate their Scots Irish, connections – (with 17 Scots Irish of the 44 US presidents). My own background is Scots, Irish too, and the history of religious strife over these islands (and Europe!) is very confusing – even for scholars! Many left Europe for the Americas for freedoms, and took their heritage and religion with them. And also importantly, enlightened thought and freedom of thought, which we so value today. America was and is a melting pot of many diverse cultures, which led to a musical blending with travellers up the Mississippi river from New Orleans, and the Appalachian mountains – from Nashville to Chicago, to New York to Los Angeles. I’ve been on those road trips too, years back. 

Music is one of the most powerful forces to bring us all together. Our culture is very much NOT an extra, it’s the roots and future of who we are, and leads politics. It offers all a creative voice. There’s an artists in all of us. 

The Transatlantic band of both Celtic and Americana roots talent, includes Phil Cunningham, John Doyle, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Donald Shaw, James Mackintosh and Daniel Kimbro.


Sunday 12 February 2023

Kim Carnie at Celtic Connections 202


 Charmed with her soft, mesmerising voice

 

Carnie was the support artist for Duncan Chisholm, tonight and was backed by the strings and piano, and with Megan Henderson on vocals and violin and with Innes White on guitar. For tonight’s concert she performed Gaelic heritage songs. 



The song 
Chan Eil A’ Chuis was based on the work of a female bard, a hymn of the morning light and was backed with only piano, beautiful. Carnie has written new compositions for her album and with the festivals artistic director Donald Shaw producing – And So We Gather and She Moves Me. She has a bubble personality and it would be good to hear more of her upbeat and infectious final song – Nighearn sin Thall. The Gaelic song is ever popular with cc audiences and she performed with her clear tones and poignant songs. More please!





Friday 10 February 2023

Duncan Chisholm at Celtic Connections 2023




Transported us with his engaging playing

 Chisholm has performed at every Celtic Connections since 1993. Duncan Chisholm engaged us with beautiful videos of his violin during the isolation of Covid, often shot on perfect locations on the Western Isles. His music has range of tone and atmosphere, transcends time and space. He has composed music of the Western Isles – of the swift-changing skies of Scotland’s western coastlines and dramatic mountain ranges; often foreboding but illuminating and hopeful as light breaks through.

 

**Tonight he played compositions from his new 2022 album Black Cullins –  the ragged range of jagged rocky mountains on the Isle of Skye. He was backed by an impressive line-up of award-winning Trad musicians - Jalath Henderson on uilleann pipes, Ross Ainslie on low whistle, Hamish Napier on keyboards and piano, Innes Watson on rhythm guitar, and Ross Hamilton on electric bass and guitar. Along with a string section led by Greg Lawson.

 

He began with the tender and forlorn Black Cuillin Theme with accompanying strings; Born on the Wind of Chaos soared with the full band, bass and electric guitar. The band took the energy and vibe up further with piano, pipes, whistle, percussion and rhythm guitar for the tune, To the High Mountain. Beneath the Fortress about the Skye bridge was majestic, as was the intimacy of Donald Shaw’s A Precious Place, who played piano on this tune, and the drama of pipes on Islands on the Edge.



The tune
 The Blue Cuillins of the Islands was Inspired by a poem of Sorley McLean’s. Followed by a touching performance of Donald Shaw’s Constellations. Chisholm played Phil Cunningham’s subdued, haunting When the Snow Melts, with only piano for his finale. Heart-warming.    https://www.duncanchisholm.com

 

Music of Resolutions.


Chisholm was supported by the excellent Gaelic singer Kim Carnie - Review and Photos here - 

 

Black Cuillin’ tells of a dream journey through this landscape over a day and a night.” 

Duncan Chisholm, Scottish fiddle player and composer, has released six solo albums. He tours with the Scots Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis and has toured with the folk rock band Wolfstone and the band Runrig.

 





 

Friday 27 January 2023

Rachel Sermanni at Celtic Connections.

 


Rachel Sermanni sang her haunting lockdown song ‘Lay my heart’ at the Celtic Connections opening concert. One of Scotland's rising stars. 




Wednesday 30 November 2022

My Chats and Tributes to Scots Legend Rab Noakes

Rab Noakes Oran Mor

A Present with no Past has No Idea, Quote Rab Noakes Branch song. Good Roots

So sad to hear the news of our loss of singer songwriter Rab Noakes - what a true gent and legend of Scottish music. Rest in peace. I've had the privilege of taking Rab's photos at several concerts over many years since 2010. 

I’ve had several chats with him over the past decade, both in person and online. I have such fond memories in my twenties we used to sing his early songs. More recently my son played an excellent version of his classic Gently Does It and Moonlight and Gold.

Rab was always a smartly dressed folk singer songwriter, and one of the top guitarist. He drew influences from the 60s radio growing up in Fife, much as his musical hero Bob Dylan did too. While he drew on many influences. The story of the song mattered to Rab, so his chat between songs laid the musical scene and atmosphere.

In the 60s and 70s, Rab played with greats such as Gerry Rafferty and Lindisfarne. When I hung out in the folk scene then, i remember well the harmony singing of Noakes songs, such as Branch, Clear Day, Together Forever. Back in 2007 I saw Noakes still going strong at an Oran Mor gig. He often includes a fifties classic, this time a song my husband remembered his mother singing. He is also a dedicated Dylan follower – check out his excellent version of Dylan’s Mississippi. 


Martha Rafferty & Rab Noakes

Noakes says music is all about the dialogue and more about performing than simply the song. Those residency night gigs were artists can learn their craft in front of the live audience and the live performance when 'flying' in the heart of the music toughens you up and you have to learn loads of songs. He played in Denmark six nights a week.
 Noakes ran his own production company Neon. 

Rab led several tribute concerts at Glasgow’s major music festival. Celtic Connections, for Gerry Rafferty and Michael Marra. I expect we will have a concert for Rab – it’s the passing of a whole generation of the folk scene – and we look forward to the passing of the baton to the younger generations. 

He will be sadly missed, his music lives on and in my memories of my son playing his classic "Gently Does it" and Rafferty's "Moonlight and Gold".


Rab at Milngavie folk club

He has been at the forefront of Scottish folk music for over 50 years, and has recorded over 19 studio albums. He often performed at the Glasgow music festival Celtic Connections. In 1970 Noakes released his first solo recording Do You See The Lights, a blend of easy going country rock, with a line-up that included Robin McKidd, electric guitar and jazz bassist Ronnie Rae, and included songs Too Old To Die, Together Forever and Somebody Counts On Me. In 1971 Noakes was a founding member of the folk rock band Stealers Wheel, along with Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan, He played on the first album by Gerry Rafferty’s Can I Have My Money Back, notably Mary SkeffingtonHe also played with the band Stealers Wheel. 

Noakes songs have been covered by Lindisfarne (Together Forever) and Barbara Dickson.

I will post some extracts on his songwriting from my nine RAB NOAKES reviews. 

Rab at a house party

**RAB gig reviews on my blog

2010 -  Oran Mor

2012 -  Concert for Gerry Rafferty

2012 – Milngavie folk club

2013 -  Concert for Michael Marra

2014 -  tour Barbara Dickson

2016 - MFC

2017 – Celtic, Old Fruitmarket

2022 - MFC

Rab with Alice Marra Celtic Connections

Eddi Reader, Rab Noakes, Dougie MacLean

Rab & Kathleen McInnes

Rab & Barbara Dickson
Rab & Jill Jackson

CHATS with RAB 

A gentle, questioning soul – with a generosity of spirit. 

I sat beside him at a couple of times at Celtic press release mornings. I told him of my sons guitar playing but that he lacked confidence, Rab said in his young days, performers laid the ground work playing the folk clubs for years – but today people seem to often expect quick, instant results. I told him my son enjoyed playing some of the folk tunes, particularly Gently Does It – I had taken my son to our local folk club to see Gaughan, Noakes, Dylan at Braehead Arena. My son also enjoyed rock and pop and learned electric guitar and bass from the rock band the Red Hot Chillis!

 CHATS with Rab at Celtic

I sat beside Rab at the Celtic Press launch on Tuesday. He seemed to know me - maybe from his Oran Mor gig, my review and photos for him and his chatting to me on facebook. Cool and what an interesting guy. 

He’s a massive Dylan fan too!  I asked him if he mentored younger artists – he said no he wasn’t going to simply give his secrets away! He said that too many young people expected things on a plate, and that they were spoon-fed everything. He had to put in years of graft to learn his craft and he thought that was the way things should be done.  He mentioned all these music schools now where they are simply ‘given’ everything rather than finding out for themselves. 

 

I agree. I worry so many young artists in the folk scene for instance have less depth of character in their voice. He said he enjoyed the thread on FB chat with me - interesting thread he said! I told him how interesting the book festival is, and that many authors are also painters and musicians too. I spoke of the Dylan ‘Forever Young’ photos, probably my favourite of an artist.  He remarked that Dylan had so much character he must be good for photos. And I told him of the Chinese writer who when he paints only listens to music for weeks and tries not to think in words at all.   

 

*On Facebook I posted – “The best music is timeless’

Rab replied, ‘No, the best music is very much of its time, and that a present with no past has no future.’ 





Noakes was born in St Andrews Fife in 1947 and grew up in CuparHe drew influences from the 60s Radio growing up in Fife, much as his musical hero Bob Dylan did too. While he drew on many musical influences. In 1963 Noakes moved to London and worked for the Civil Service, and he played folk clubs at night. He returned to Scotland in 1967 and began a duo with Robin McKidd and they played their first gig at the Glasgow Folk centre. In 1769 he played a months residency in Denmark. Noakes was a founding member of the folk rock band Stealers Wheel, along with Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. 

In 1970 Noakes released his first solo recording Do You See The Lights, a blend of easy going country rock, with a line-up that included Robin McKidd, electric guitar and jazz bassist Ronnie Rae, and included songs Too Old To Die, Together Forever and Somebody Counts On Me.

He played on the first album by Gerry Rafferty’s Can I Have My Money Back in 1971, notably Mary SkeffingtonHe also played with the band Stealers Wheel. He performed with Lindisfarne in 1972, on songs Turn a Deaf Ear, Nicely out of Tune, Together Forever, and Fog on the Tyne. He recorded with Lindisfarne for a John Peel concert and in 1995 produced a Radio 2 programme The Story of Lindisfarne. 

One of Noakes's best-known recordings, "Branch", from the Red Pump Special album, was released as a single in 1974 (recorded in Nashville Tennessee and produced by Elliot Mazer) and received Radio One airplay.  He played on a Woody Guthrie tribute album 1987, and toured with the Veraflames – along with Pick Withers, Rod Clements and Fraser Speirs.


Rab & Gerry Rafferty

Rab & Stealers Wheel