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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 Yarra Wine Valley was first up and dedicated to the War Veteran charity. After a trip to Australia Gary wanted to do something for the Vets and the tune came out of that trip. “Road To Lochaber” was a fantastic tune with a video made with the help of STV weather man, Sean Batty with views of Lochaber made with a drone video.

The band was joined on stage by Alec Dalglish of Skerryvore for the song, “Grace and Pride “ which Gary had penned following the 2104 Independence Referendum in Scotland. He needed someone who could put a voice to the song to make it sound better so and Alec was his first choice – and it was a great song to listen to.

From his Box Club Band days, Gary has been helped along by his good friend on keyboard, Duncan Lyle and that is how “Easy Street” came about following a tour of Britanny where they came a cross a street of that name. “May Life Always Be Peachy” was a tune dedicated to family members: he wrote it as a wedding gift and this was a sweet tune that would grace any wedding as a first dance.

Gary keeps a lot of the family in his mind with this album and his niece, “Zara” even gets her own tune as he recalls looking down at the pretty innocent face and thought one to match would be ideal. Robert Robertson came on stage to sing a poem Gary had written about shinty, a sport he took part in for 20 years. “The Caman Man” summed up the sport in the way Gary had both seen and played it.

We got an insight to the quiet side of the giant of shinty, music and his love for Scotland but mostly the love of his family: “Era” the album brings you a tune for all and all seasons.

Sandy Pratt