EASILY one of the most eagerly anticipated events on the Scottish music calendar, the world-renowned Celtic Connections festival returns this month for three weeks of unique live performances and diverse showcases. Set to take over a myriad of Glasgow’s most well-loved venues for the course of its duration, this year’s festival features a star-studded line-up of incredible emerging talent and established stars. Ranging from ground-breaking multi-art shows to unique tribute performances to musical icons to specially curated gigs from local artists, TTV has picked out some of the best events that are worth checking out over the festival.
Start to End: Joni Mitchell – Court and Speak @ Oran Mor (Monday 22nd January)
Glasgow’s popular Start to End return this month to revisit two of the best modern folk albums ever recorded. Known for their impressive re-interpretations of classic albums, the outfit’s first night will see them cover Joni Mitchell’s 1974 Court and Speak in front of a sold out Oran Mor. A hugely talented collective of Scottish musicians, the star-studded line-up will feature Rachel Lightbody on vocals and Tom Gibbs on piano alongside members of Admiral Fallow, Pronto Mama and Fat-Suit.
Start to End: John Martyn – Solid Air @ Oran Mor (Tuesday 23rd January)
The second Start to End night will feature a re-interpretation of John Martyn’s seminal Solid Air album, released on 1st February 1973. Featuring Sam West on vocals/guitar, further special guest musicians have yet to be announced.
Carly Connor, Real Life Entertainment and The Bar Dogs @ Broadcast (Thursday 25th January)
After bursting back onto the scene last year with the fantastic Mo-town inspired stomper ‘Who’s Gonna Love You’, Glasgow’s Carly Connor is armed with a sensational voice and a bold, utterly fearless approach to her craft. Ready to make her mark on 2018, the singer will headline Broadcast with support from Real Life Entertainment and The Bar Dogs.
Marnie and Special Guests @ The Hug and Pint (27th January)
More widely known as the lead singer of electro-pop pioneers Ladytron, Helen Marnie has certainly proved her credentials as a solo artist. She followed up her critically acclaimed debut with the equally sophisticated Strange Words and Weird Wars last year; an album full of hook-laden choruses and meticulously crafted synth-pop. Catch her at Hug and Pint alongside some as-yet to be announced special guests.
Roaming Roots Revue: The Wild One, Forever – A tribute to Tom Petty @ Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (27th January)
Following his untimely death last year, the sixth Roaming Roots Revue – curated by Roddy Hart with the Lonesome Fire as house band – will pay tribute to the iconic songwriter with a star-studded cast of performers from all over the world. Among those performing Petty covers alongside their own material will be US artists Natalie Prass, Lera Lynn, Cory Chisel and Adriel Denae, Sweden’s Susanne Sundfor and popular Scottish outfit Pictish Trail.
Bothy Culture & Beyond @ SSE Hydro (27th January)
Featuring an 80-piece orchestra, this 20th anniversary celebration of the late Martyn Bennett’s second album Bothy Culture has been described as a groundbreaking ‘music-vision-dance-bike spectacular’. Bennett’s hugely innovative music has been orchestrated by violinist Greg Lawson who will conduct the truly unique GRIT Orchestra, a huge ensemble including some of Scotland’s finest fiddlers alongside leading folk, jack and classical musicians. The show will also feature a special appearance by Scottish stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill.
The Barr Brothers @ Saint Luke’s (28th January)
Hailing from Montreal in Quebec, The Barr Brothers caught our eye when they supported The War on Drugs at the Barrowlands last year. Displaying a fine command of their craft along with a sound that oscillates between uniquely ambient and harmonically rich and dynamic, the talented multi-instrumentalists incorporate elements of Americana, folk, blues and rock into all three of their albums.
Fiskur and Friends @ The Hug and Pint (30th January)
Carefully selected as one of our Ones to Watch for 2018, we highly recommend that you try and catch Fiskur’s show at The Hug & Pint during this year’s Celtic Connections. Rising from the ashes of the popular Three Blind Wolves, Ross Clark’s latest project Fiskur has become a conduit for his creative ingenuity and musical reinvention. Working alongside Frightened Rabbit’s Andy Monaghan, the results have so far proven to be nothing short of riveting with the pair crafting a sound that is as unique and meticulously crafted as it is heartfelt and compelling.
Declan Welsh and Friends @ The Hug and Pint (1st February)
More widely known as the frontman of Declan Welsh & the Decadent West these days, this night at the Hug and Pint will perhaps be a more laid-back occasion for the rising star. Bringing along a number of friends with him, the likes of Emme Woods, Eilidh Mcmillan of Breakfast MUFF, Tom Fraser of Codist and Finn Anderson have all been confirmed to perform alongside Welsh.
Siobhan Wilson with the Demi Octet and Jamie Sutherland @ The Mackintosh Church (3rd February)
Undoubtedly one of Scotland’s most spell-binding talents, Siobhan Wilson earned fervent praise for her second album, 2017’s There Are No Saints. With a voice that is able to soar one minute and grab your heart the next with even the slightest turn, her live shows are known to be every bit as captivating. She will joined here by the Demi Octet on twin violins and cello as well as Jamie Sutherland, best known as frontman of indie-folk group Broken Records.
Out Lines and Hamish Hawk @ Saint Luke’s (4th February)
Three of Scotland’s most prodigious talents came together under the Out Lines moniker to release one of the most deeply moving albums of 2017. Featuring vocals from Kathryn Joseph and James Graham from The Twilight Sad as well as production from Marcus Mackay, Conflats was a deeply affecting portrayal of humanity; a deft balance of sadness and defiance, tragedy and hope. Their beautifully gloomy yet intoxicating compositions are known to translate into a deeply moving live show.
Hazy Recollections @ O2 ABC (4th February)
Celebrating its tenth anniversary year, Hazy Recollections returns to host more exciting emerging talent across three Sunday afternoon bills throughout Celtic Connections. Taking place on the 21st and 28th January before the final Hazy session on the 4th February, the programme has become known as an excellent platform for artists who sit somewhere between folk, pop and indie. Previous artists to grace its stage include Admiral Fallow, Siobhan Wilson and Rachel Sermanni. This year’s Hazy Sessions conclude with a particularly eye-catching line-up featuring Hit the Road alumni Rhona MacFarlane and Age-Otori alongside the insatiable Emme Woods.