Celtic Connections 2015 Preview

Celtic Connections 2015 Preview

It is now less than one week to go until Glasgow’s celebrated Celtic Connections kicks off for 2015.

The festival is delighted to announce that the Blue Nile’s Paul Buchanan will be joining the line up for Blood & Roses: The Songs of Ewan MacColl in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sunday 25th January. The evening’s entertainment is a tribute to one of the most pivotal figures in Britain ’s folk revival, Ewan MacColl, whose vast legacy of musical classics will be celebrated to mark his centenary year.

Joining Paul on the bill is Norma Waterson of The Watersons and Waterson:Carthy fame alongside her husband Martin Carthy and daughter Eliza Carthy. The festival also announced in December that Pulp’s former frontman Jarvis Cocker will be joining this star-studded line-up.

Four of MacColl’s grandsons, who are musicians themselves, have also joined the line up – Jamie MacColl (Bombay Bicycle Club), Harry Mead (Klangkarussell), Alex MacColl and Tom MacColl.

The concert has been curated by Ewan MacColl’s sons Calum and Neill – both successful musicians themselves – and features a handpicked house band from a diverse range of genres including Kate St. John, Dick Gaughan and Karine Polwart who will perform both well-loved and lesser known songs from MacColl’s repertoire.

Opening Night

Celtic Connections 2015 will open with the live world premiere of Martyn Bennett’s final masterpiece Grit, originally released in 2003, and widely recognised as a towering landmark in contemporary Scottish music. The 2015 festival also coincides with 10th anniversary of Bennett’s passing, and tonight’s performance will be of an almost entirely studio-created album that has been reconstructed by violinist and composer Greg Lawson for a custom designed orchestra of folk, jazz and classical musicians.

An array of fantastic guest singers will be accompanied by well known folk musicians including James Mackintosh, Ross Ainslie, Ali Hutton, Catriona McKay, David McGuinness, Calum MacCrimmon and Fraser Fifield.

Highlights of the Celtic Connections Opening Concert ‘Nae Regrets’ – Martyn Bennett’s Grit will be aired on BBC Two Scotland at 9.30pm on Thursday 22nd January.

Not to be Missed

With less than a week to go until the festival gets underway there are a number of shows that are not to be missed with tickets selling fast.

Jeff Tweedy, founder of top alt-country/rock acts Wilco and Uncle Tupelo, and Billy Bragg’s collaborator on the Mermaid Avenue series of Woody Guthrie material, will be performing in the second week of the festival under the single name Tweedy alongside his 18-year-old son and drummer Spencer. Tweedy will be performing in the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Thursday 29th January.

Continuing his distinctive exploration and reinvention of Southern US sounds, Justin Townes Earle’s two recent albums, Single Mothers and Absent Fathers, address life’s rocky road with the new-found wisdom of hard-won sobriety, amid an expertly crafted, stripped-down blend of old-time country-folk, gritty blues and Memphis soul.

Cited by Neil Young as a key inspiration, Nils Lofgren is best known as the longtime lead guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, but his singing and songwriting talents, alongside his six-string genius, command an extensive cult following of his own. A career spanning five decades was celebrated in all its diverse glory with 2014’s 10-disc Lofgren boxed set, Face the Music.

Look out for some reviews of Celtic Connections shows on the Glasswerk site over the next few weeks.

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