Beat The January Rhythm & Blues: A Preview Of Celtic Connections 2019…

“January, month of empty pockets! Let us endure this evil month…”, to quote the French writer Sidonie Gabrielle Colette (currently appearing at a cinema near you). This may be a touch dramatic, but you know what she’s getting at. For me, a year doesn’t get going properly til Celtic Connections begins. A festival that never fails to deliver, and which continues to grow in terms of number of gigs, breadth of music, and stature.

This year’s headliners and more well-kent attendees include Blue Rose Code, Judy Collins, Mariza, Sharon Shannon, Mull Historical Society, Rachel Sermanni & Jarlath Henderson, Seth Lakeman, and Karine Polwart, Kris Drever & Scottish Chamber Orchestra. There are also nights featuring or celebrating musical legends, including Ronnie Spector & The RonettesVan Morrison, John Martyn, Loudon Wainwright III, and, covering many of your favourite songs, Karine Polwart’s Scottish Songbook.

However, and as ever, we’d like to point you in the direction of lesser known gems which can be found at the festival. Some of the names below you may recognise from our regular music reviews, and they all are deserving of your attention. Each one promises an unforgettable night, and what more can you ask for in these early days of 2019?

You can peruse the full programme at your leisure at Celtic Connections, and receive all the up-to-date news by following the festival on Twitter, and Facebook.  But before you rush away here is the Scots Whay Hae! guide, (complete with links to further details + tickets). We’re calling it ‘the best of the rest of the fest’…

GOOSEBUMPS: 25 Years of Marina Records (Krach Auf Wiedersehen!) and Fenella

A Wesley Chung and Caitlin Buchanan

Last Night From Glasgow: The Gracious Losers and L-space (acoustic)

The Sweetheart Revue and Headcloud

Zoe Graham and John Edge & The Kings of Nowhere

Withered Hand

Broken Chanter and Jill O’Sullivan

Henry & Fleetwood

Carla J. Easton and Mark McGowan

Andrew Wasylyk and support

Olive Grove Records Showcase: Chrissy Barnacle, Pocket Knife, Moonsoup, Circle Meets Dot and Jared Celosse

Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert with Marry Waterson & Emily Barker

Hope to see you at at least one of the above…

That Was The Year That Was: It’s The Best Of 2018 Podcasts – Part 3 (Music)…

For our final Best Of 2018 podcast Ali, Chris Ward, Wesley Shearer, accompanied by our very own Young Father, Ian, discuss their favourite records of the year, and the best gigs of 2018. What do they choose? Well you’ll just have to listen to find out (although the tags at the bottom of this page give some clues), but we can say that there are a hell of a lot of winners, and nary a loser in sight as they decide that the year in music was a rather fine one.

You can still listen to our review of the best books of the year, with Vikki Reilly, and the review of the year in film, also with Chris & Wesley. And in the new year we can promise you even more special guests and discussion about all things cultural which are happening in and around Scotland, starting with the muscian and writer Beerjacket, (also sometimes known as Peter Kelly).

If you are new round these parts there is also quite a substantial number of previous SWH! podcasts for you to discover. If you aren’t yet a subscriber you can do so, (or simply listen) at iTunes, on Podbean, or by RSS (but you’ll need to have an RSS reader to do so). You can also download the podcast by clicking on the relevant link to the right of this post, or, if you want it right here, right now, you can listen on SoundCloud

..or on YouTube:

That’s yer whack of podcast fun for 2018, but we’ll be back in the new year with new guests to inform, entertain, and delight you.

New Musical Success: A Review Of The Best In New Music…

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Looking for something new to listen to? Well, you have happened upon the right place as the latest music roundup has an eclectic mix of tunes from old friends and new. They are all great songs, and while they are distinctly different to each other, there is more than a little reflection, dissafection, introspection, but also stimulation, invigoration, and songs approaching pop-perfection. All this and a whole lot more before we’re done.

There are few things to brighten a dull, dull day like the recent news from Armellodie Records that The Scottish Enlightenment are back with a new album, Potato Flower. One of the first bands to be reviewed on Scots Whay Hae!, they hold a special place in our hearts. After far too long (since 2010’s St Thomas, if memory serves) they return to fill that Scottish Enlightenment shaped hole in all our lives, which are immediately improved because of it.

In their time away it is clear that life is something which happened between records, and Potato Flower reflects on the highs and lows which are ever-present in the every day. Tackling everything from cradle to grave, these are songs which touch upon love, loss, secrets, lies and some unbearable truths. Taken as a whole, Potato Flower is a thing of fragile beauty, with understated melodies to match David Moyes’ often heartbreaking lyrics. If you’re looking for comparisons, in terms of tone at least, I get American Music Club, Red House Painters, Jason Molina, and even the more reflective work of The Cure.

I was, in a fit of exuberance, going to call it my favourite record of the year so far, then I remembered those from Roberts, Skuse & McGuinness, Modern Studies, Zoe Bestel and Kirsty Law (as well as one mentioned below – no spoilers) and realised that 2018 is shaping up to be one hell of a year for Scottish music. For now, let’s just say, “Potato Flowers by The Scottish Enlightenment – every home should have one”. From it, this is ‘Fingers’:

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You Have Been Watching…Where You’re Meant To Be & Hamish

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At the recent Glasgow Film Festival an unlikely hero emerged in the formidable form of Sheila Stewart, the legendary Scottish folk singer. She is the perhaps surprising link between two of the best films of the year; Ronnie Fraser’s moving and joyous Hamish, a biopic of Hamish Henderson, (more of which below) and Where You’re Meant To Be, Aidan Moffat’s travelogue of Scotland and its traditional music. Sheila Stewart appears in both, and taken together you are left in little doubt that this was a woman of substance who, in refusing to compromise her self, her traditions and her music, leaves a powerful impression onscreen and on the memory of any audience. She certainly had a lasting effect on the two men who are ostensibly the focus of these two films.

Aidan Moffat says early on that the simple idea behind Where You’re Meant To Be was to have a giggle, touring the country and performing his adaptations of Scottish traditional songs. Most of these are originally rooted in the country, part of a rural Scotland that Moffat, and much of modern Scotland, doesn’t easily identify with. At one point he asks why folk songs have to be about hills and heather? Why can’t they be about glass and neon? That’s what he tries to install to into these songs in his own style, and there is little doubt his tongue is firmly in his cheek when he does so (his filmed homages to Tom Weir and Robert The Bruce only confirm this). And then he meets Sheila. Continue reading

Sweet 16: A Preview Of Glasgow Film Festival 2016…

2p8kIQyQIf it’s February it must be raining and it must be the Glasgow Film Festival, surely a marriage made in heaven. Running from 17th – 28th February, it’s a festival which, geographical bias aside, has become one of the very best, and this year’s programme shows a swagger and confidence that befits an event moving comfortably into its second decade.

Here’s just a taste of what’s on offer:

As ever,  there are various categories to guide you to what may be your cup of tea. This year they include Dream Teams On The Silver Scream, Roads To The South: Argentinian Cinema, Window On The World, Local Heroes, Modern Familes, NerdvanaSound & Vision and the always popular FrightFest.

Add to those some very special events at appropriate venues, an opening and closing Gala, celebrations of cinematic anniversaries, a series of talks about the industry, the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the Glasgow Youth Film Festival, and you’ll begin to realise the breadth and depth of what’s on offer, and you should take time to peruse the full programme at your leisure as it offers different potential ‘must sees’ with every read. So much so that you may fear you’ll have to break the bank to enjoy yourself, but there are free showings on offer, as well as a great selection which come under the Festival for a Fiver category. Continue reading

January Jonesing: The Best New Music From Last Month…

Some of Scots Whay Hae!’s favourite bands brought out brand new material last month, many of whom have appeared on these pages before, but I make no apologies for this…although even typing that sentence feels like doing just that.

In the last few years January has become a surprisingly good month for new music, when previously it was hard to find. Whatever the reason for this, it’s good news for the soundtrack to cold winter nights. In this month’s roundup there is music to match the weather, some to get you through the arse end of winter, and even some with a reminder of what summer’s all about; something to match all moods and tastes.

First off, we have a new solo record from Alasdair Roberts, (with a fine portrait from fellow Alasdair, Gray, on the cover). In recent years, Roberts has probably been better known for his collaborations with the likes of The Furrow Collective, Robin Robertson, R.M. Hubbert, and many, many more from what must be a substantial phone book. Last year he featured on the Scots Whay Hae! podcast with another collaborator, the composer Ross Whyte, and you can still hear their chat here. Continue reading