Scots Whay Hae!’s Alternative Hogmanay Night In, 2019…

Once again Montgomery Scott raises a glass to see out the old year and ring in the new and that means it’s time for Scots Whay Hae!’s annual selection of New Year’s Eve treats. It’s an alternative to the Hogmanay telly, so if there’s little you fancy on the box there might be something here to your liking.

2019 saw the launch of BBC Scotland which, despite some initial concerns, became home to some terrific original programming as well as becoming the place to find Scottish film and drama which wouldn’t be shown elsewhere. An example of this is Prophecy, a film about the life and work of artist Peter Howson. You can watch the whole thing here, but to tempt you, here’s the trailer:

One of the best dramas of the year was undoubtedly Guilt, written by Neil Forsyth (of Bob Servant fame) and starring Jamie Sives and Mark Bonnar. It was the first drama commissioned by BBC Scotland and it sets the standard very high. You can find all four episodes here but below is the trailer to give you a taste:

Celtic Connections is almost with us again, and there’ll be a full SWH! preview in the new year, but one of the highlights of 2019’s was undoubtedly the Marina Records Showcase celebrating 25 years of the label, and which saw James Kirk, Malcolm Ross, The Pearlfishers, Cowboy Mouth, The Secret Goldfish, Jazzateers, The Kingfishers, The Bathers, Sugartown, Colin Steele, The Magic Circles, Starless and more share the stage. A highlight was Chris Thomson fronting the house band to give us the old Friends Again classic ‘State of Art’. This is the original:

Our collaboration with Scottish Opera was a highlight of 2019, one which will continue into the new year. You can listen to the SO podcasts to date here, and you can peruse the current programme here, but this is the trailer for their incredible production of Tosca:

Another highlight of our 2019 was getting to do the SWH! Radio Show on the sadly missed LP Radio, a station created by Lorenzo Pacitti which burned brightly for too short a time. We hope that the show will find a new home in the new year, but here’s an old one from 15th July to bring back musical memories of a glorious summer:

While we’re talking about radio, this was the year where there seemed a real renaissance in local radio, with Cam/Glen and Cumbernauld FM n-particular building on the great work done by Sunny Govan among others. In early December Ali joined Cumbernauld FM’s Mark & Gary on their Postcards From The Underground show to talk about their choice of albums of the year:

While we’re talking music, we always like to offer you an alternative Hootenanny so here’s five of the best tracks of 2019 which are perfect for starting the New Year in style. First of, ‘Car Crash Carnivore’ from HYYTS:

2019 was a year of great pop music, and one of the very best songs came from Anna Sweeney in the shape of ‘Way Back When’:

Emme Woods had another cracking year and proved, as if she needed to, that she is one of the very best musicians both recorded and live. To make that point better than mere words could, this is the standout ‘it’s ma party’:

One of the best new bands to emerge in the year were Lemon Drink who you just have to see play whenever possible. This is their debut single ‘A Song For You’ which shows you why you’re going to love them, if you don’t already:

Released in the dying days of the year, this is DENI and the excellent ‘I Don’t Know How To Feel’, which promises great things from them in 2020:

And finally, some classic hogmanay telly from over 40 years ago. This is from Scotch and Wry, and features a young David Hayman:

And that was 2019 for you. We’ve no idea how 2020 is going to pan out (who could?) or who is going to feature, but whatever happens we’ll be there reviewing, commenting, and in conversation with some of those who help to shape it.

From everyone involved with Scots Whay Hae!, Happy New Year and we’ll see you on the other side…

Thank You For The Music: An Appreciation Of Marina Records…


Tonight at Celtic Connections there is a timely celebration of Marina Records, a label responsible for some of my favourite albums over the years. Theirs is an interesting story. An indie-label founded by Stefan Kassel and Frank Lähnemann in 1993 in Hamburg, Marina Records became the home of some of the classiest Scottish pop music around. If ever a label should be celebrated for their auspicious work in promoting Scottish music and supporting musicians it is Marina, and this is the opportunity to do just that.

The Mitchell Theatre gig is part of the label’s 25th birthday festivities – which included the bumper anniversary compilation Goosebumps – and sees the appearance of many Marina artists, including James Kirk, Malcolm Ross, Duglas T. Stewart, The Pearlfishers, Cowboy Mouth, The Secret Goldfish, Jazzateers, The Kingfishers, The Bathers, Sugartown, Colin Steele, The Magic Circles and Starless. That is undoubtedly musical bang for your buck. Continue reading

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…