Jimmie Macgregor and Annie Grace

Jimmie Macgregor and Annie Grace

Jan 30, 2016

An Evening with Saint Andrews In The Square     Friday 29th January 2016

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The joy of seeing seasoned a legend cannot be overstated. Jimmie appeared on stage and immediately set the atmosphere of informality making the audience feel as if they were in his kitchen instead of the grandeur of a converted church. He announced that in June 1956 he went from Springburn to London with sixty pounds in his pocket. He is now a few months off sixty years performing!

Annie Grace hasn’t been in the business anywhere near as long. She first came to promianence as a member of Scots folk band The Iron Horse and later as an artist in her own right as well as a critically recognised actress. A multi-instrumentalist and great singer, she and Jimmie formed a close friendship several years ago. This is the second year they have appeared together at Celtic Connections.

Joining them on stage was another multi instrumentalist, Ally MacRea on mandolin, fiddle and harmonium.

Those on stage were obviously enjoying themselves as much as the sell out audience. Jimmie sung songs about the bankers, the ‘borrowing’of the Stone of Destiny from Westminster Abbey, a Glasgow love song, ‘Because I Like You’, and even paid homage to Skiffle with ‘Turtle Dove’. Listening to many of these songs was a trip down memory lane. At one point Jimmie read his new monologue about Noah during which the audience laughter was in abundance, aided by his difficulty reading it due to the fact that he had forgotten his glasses.

A surprise guest appeared in the second half in the shape of Aberdeen singer, actress and entertainer, Joyce Falconer. Her somewhat physical rendition of ‘The Dundee Weaver’ was something to behold.

I cannot emphasise more just how informal and relaxed the whole evening was. Ullalian pipe instrumental work by Annie, Jimmies’s voice, Ally’s instrumental work, Joyce’s singing, and all so laid back and easy going. Not to forget the patter!

The evening finished with a beaut that Jimmie used to sing with the late Robin Hall, ‘We’re Not Going To Sing The Wild Rover No More’ and ‘Ye Canny Shove Yer Granny Aff A Bus’ as an encore.

Teddy Thompson and Holly Macve

Teddy Thompson and Holly Macve

Jan 28, 2016


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall        Wednesday 27 th January 2016

Teddy Thompson had new ears this evening at our wonderful Concert Hall. They were mine, and, by jove, was I in a minority! This man has honed his craft in audience rapport and excellent singing with a neat guitar style.

He appeared on stage for his one and a half hour show with just his guitar and a ‘wee dram’. From the very first note I realised I was going to see this man again. He read the audience with sheer professionalism often so rare nowadays. His voice is a superb tenor, sometimes floating into near falsetto. His music, mostly self penned, is steeped in early 50’s and 60’s country and blues with a liberal touch of the pop music of the time, music which never dies.

During his set, tracks from his new album due for release on 1 st of April (‘No joke’ says he) which consists of duets with American artist Kelly Jones, were performed with the lady herself, who had been exploring this fine city of Glasgow during the day on her first visit to Scotland. As we say here, ‘Haste ye back lass’. One of their numbers together (OK, didn’t get the titt2le) was so reminiscent of the Everly Brothers in sound and feel.

After their duets Teddy sang more of, mainly his own, songs, a notable exception being a fantastic, paired and slowed down, version of Leonard Cohen’s ‘ Tonight Will Be Fine’.

After a brief standing ovation, he quickly returned to stage (so many artist keep you waiting far too long) for three more numbers, one notably being a superb song Delilah (not the Tom Jones one) then a number ‘It’s Family’ which paid homage to his parents, folk legends Richard and Linda. With one last song, the rocky ‘In My Arms’ with Kelly Jones to finish.

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Opening was the first time in Glasgow was a young Yorkshire lass, Holly Macve. She is another fine example of how some of the biggest voices come from some of the smallest of frames. This voice is seriously versatile varying through a gamut of ranges. While accompanying herself on guitar and piano with an occasional guitar accompaniment, performances of songs such as ‘Sycamore Tree’ about her childhood she had your reviewer rapt in attention, while her Heartbreak Blues could have come from Hank Williams himself. You members of the audience who did that annoying Glasgow thing of not turning up for the opening slot missed something mesmerising!

 

Bill Morris

Scotia Nova; Songs from the Early days of a Better Nation

Scotia Nova; Songs from the Early days of a Better Nation

Jan 21, 2016

Scotia Nova; Songs from the Early days of a Better Nation

Strathclyde Suite       Wednesday 20 th January

The partnership of Ian Green and Ian McCalman is an inspired one which produces works of pure genius. On the top of ‘Far Far from The Ypres’ they have scored again.

Firstly, a wee bit of background. This song collection was inspired by the referendum on Scottish independence of 2014, when the land was abuzz! After the publication of ‘Scotia Nova; Poems for Early Days of a Better Nation’, Ian Green, of Greentrax saw the possibility of a parallel project in song, and, with the help of Ian McCalman, Mairi Campbell and Dave Francis, got to work. From scores of entrants, a mere 18 were selected for the album, 17 of which were performed this evening.

This multi performer concert looked at the future of this great country (a big change from the regular backward naval gazing so prevalent). The songs varied from the rousing to the reflective; others worked hard on the tear ducts and there was even some punk. Folk giants such as Brian McNeill shared stage with comparative newcomers. The message is simply this. This country can be better, a united land of people from all walks of life.

A few special mentions:-

Chris Finegan opened the night with ‘The 19 th, looking at the feelings on the day after the referendum.

Fiona J. Mackenzie’s Gaelic ‘Croanan A’ Chamhanaich’ (Dawn Lullaby) performed as a trio in harmony fell into that ‘tear duct’ category.

Celtic Music Radio’s past presenter and singer songwriter Yvonne Lyon was on stage several times, joining others in harmony and with her own excellent ‘The Road Is Still Leading Us On’.

Scott Murphy of The Sangsters, sang of the homeless with ‘Duke Street To Jericho’ while ‘Pioneers’, written and performed by Duncan McCrone and Cy Jack concentrated on Caledonia’s welcome to those joining us from foreign lands.

Ok, I didn’t expect a punk band, but I did actually enjoy ‘It’s Up To You’ by The Tolerated. I must be getting more tolerant in my older years.

Gill Bowman’s ‘A Bonny Star’ about passing on the future of this land to the next generations and Mairi Campbell’s ‘O Man, Jock Tamson’, sung in Scots, about those who fall into the oblivion of drugs and drink, were magnCDTRAX387ificent.

For the finale, every performer took stage with the rousing title song, Scotia Nova, written by Alistair Findlay.

A final mention must go Gary West who compered the concert with wit and sheer enthusiasm.

I have been typing this review while listening to the album and having a fine a glass of red wine. Time for Horlicks and bed.

 

Bill Morris

 

 

Winter Wilson guest with Bill Morris

Winter Wilson guest with Bill Morris

Mar 4, 2015

Winter Wilson played Glasgow on Tuesday 3 March at Live at the Star at The Admiral Bar, 72a Waterloo Street in Glasgow city centre. Before the gig, Winter Wilson visited Celtic Music Radio for a chat with Bill Morris on the Homeward Bound programme at 5.00pm.

With six critically-acclaimed albums to their name, Winter Wilson (namely Kip Winter and Dave Wilson) are known across the UK acoustic music scene for their fine original songs, stunning harmonies and off-the-wall humour.

Cutting Free, their latest album, has been selected by The Daily Telegraph as one of its top folk albums of 2014, adding to the duo’s reputation as great entertainers.

Bill says: “I loved the Winter Wilson gig on Tuesday night and it could be my Star Club gig of the year!”  Bill is pictured at the new Celtic Music Radio 95 FM studio base at Buchanan House, Glasgow on Tuesday 3 March just before the programme with Kip Winter and Dave Wilson.

Winter Wilson guest on Tuesday Homeward Bound

Winter Wilson guest on Tuesday Homeward Bound

Feb 28, 2015

Winter Wilson plays Glasgow on Tuesday 3 March at Live at the Star, The Admiral Bar, 72a Waterloo Street in Glasgow city centre. Before the gig, Winter Wilson will visit Celtic Music Radio for a chat with Bill Morris on Tuesday after 5.00pm.

With six critically-acclaimed albums to their name, Winter Wilson are known across the UK acoustic music scene for their fine original songs, stunning harmonies and off-the-wall humour.

Cutting Free, their latest album, has been selected by The Daily Telegraph as one of its top folk albums of 2014, adding to the duo’s reputation as greatwinter wilson entertainers.

Kip Winter’s voice is simply one of the best in the business, delivering power and emotion in equal measure. In the past she has sung everything from jazz to opera, but is at her best and happiest when singing folk and blues.

Described by the great John as a “magnificent” songwriter, Dave Wilson is now recognised as one of the best on the English acoustic scene, with his songs covered by some of folk’s “greats” including Vin Garbutt.

Add to this a mellow, relaxed singing style and some mean guitar playing. Put these two together and you get great songs, beautifully sung and much laughter – a performance guaranteed to deliver superb entertainment.

Winter Wilson with Bill Morris, Tuesday 3 March, 5.00-6.00pm and later at Live at the Star, Admiral, 72a Waterloo Street, Glasgow G2 7DA.

Review: Nathaniel Rateliff, Tron Theatre, Sunday 25 January 2015

Nathaniel Rateliff doesn’t like to take himself too seriously and the audience lapped it up big style. Returning from last year’s Celtic Connections gig, on the same date, Burns Night, he had obviously made his mark.

Accompanied by accomplished musicians on drums, electric bass and keyboards used to very fine effect, his versatile voice sailed through The Tron Theatre and rattled the rafters. One minute he was rocky, the next slow and soulful. His lazy Colorado drawl ranging from baritone to almost falsetto at times, coupled with a humour and often colourful language illustrated how much he was enjoying himself on stage. This was particularly evident when the band left and he asked for requests to be played on solo guitar. The biggest of these was ‘Brakeman’ which he admitted to not performing for a while and, although he kept getting the chords wrong, he worked it out and got there. Oh, the joy of live music!

Opening was Louis baker from Wellington, New Zealand who performed a 40 minute set including ‘You Put Me back On My Feet’ which got him in the top five on a New Zealand singer songwriter competition.

Bill Morris

Presenter @ Celtic Music Radio


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