<!-- -->

Mike Ritchie


Author's posts

Gary Innes, Celtic Connections, Drygate, February 2, 2017.

This was the night Gary Innes launched his long awaited second album, “Era” twelve years on from his first “How’s The Craic”. It was worth the wait. Gary says “the album is about growing old and very much family orientated” and he thanked his family and friends for the support in making it. The tune …

Continue reading

Robyn Stapleton, Songs of Robert Burns, St Andrews in the Square, January 25, 2017.

What a great way to spend Burns Night with the silky smooth voice of Robyn Stapleton, the BBC Radio Scotland Young Trad Musician of the 2014, described by Sheena Wellington as a “very special singer indeed”. Robyn wowed the Celtic Connections’ audience from her first song, “Coming Thru the Rye” and continued with the “Slaves …

Continue reading

Phil Cunningham, Celtic Connections, Highlands and Island Suite 20th Anniversary, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall January 22, 2017.

The 20th Anniversary Concert at the Royal Concert Hall of Phil Cunningham’s Highlands & Islands Suite was performed for the first time since 1997. Working with composer/arranger, John Ashton Thomas, a brand new ensemble composition was unveiled, inspired by their shared love for the island of Iona. This made up one half of the concert …

Continue reading

Inverary and District Pipe Band with Bagad Kemper, Celtic Connections, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, January 28, 2017.

When the mid Saturday of the Celtic Connections festival comes it can only mean one thing: the fantastically, talented turn of the pipe bands to entertain the masses – and Inverary and District and Bagad Kemper lived up to all expectations. Bagad Kemper from Britanny took to the stage first with pieces from their latest …

Continue reading

Shovels and Rope, Celtic Connections, St Lukes, Glasgow, February 4, 2017.

Shovels and Rope admirably represent folk singers with crazy distortion on their guitars, not forgetting pounding drums, warming keyboards, even warmer harmonies, while baby sleeps outside on the tour bus. Michael Trent and Carey Ann Hearst triumphed at this Celtic Connections date with a blistering and scintillating performance. It wasn’t all punky exuberance and high …

Continue reading

James McMurtry and Nathan Bell, Celtic Connections, Oran Mor, Glasgow, February 2, 2017.

The Continental Club in Austin, Texas is a legendary venue and I’m envious of its patrons as they have the chance to hear the imperious James McMurtry and gorge on his unparalleled collection of bluesy, swampy, rocking, bar-room blues very regularly. The rugged, award-winning McMurtry’s second ever Scottish gig ended more than seven years of …

Continue reading

MARGO PRICE, Oran Mor, Glasgow – Celtic Connections, January 24, 2017

Her lucid songs may be hewn from the sad dirt and upsetting dust of her upbringing and difficult younger life – a biopic, perhaps? – but Margo Price sure does deliver them with great fire, no little wit, loads of tenderness and an approach to performing that is just great to be around. This was …

Continue reading


This sold-out inaugural Celtic Connections 2017 Drygate gig was not short of politics on a monumental day States-side, however, this musical set from Hurray For The Riff Raff was voted a fine one. The band’s bass player wore a T-shirt with the bold wording “Not My President” on it and free-thinking activist, Alynda Lee Segarra …

Continue reading

CHIP TAYLOR, Glasgow Americana Festival, October 7, 2016.

  I was lucky enough to be able to do a CMR interview with Chip Taylor before this bewitching Glasgow Americana 10th Anniversary Festival gig. He was charming, funny, hugely interesting and engaging – and he was the same on stage with a brilliant set list that showed just why he enjoys legendary status. Inducted …

Continue reading


On the wall stage left, there hung a wooden, tribal-type facemask next to a fire extinguisher. Used together, I’m certain, they would have had no effect whatsoever trying to contain or quell this spirited and blazingly inspirational gig by Dan Stuart who was, once again on Glasgow soil, in cracking form. He was brilliant: edgy, funny, …

Continue reading