Reviews of live gigs in Glasgow, CD reviews and interviews. On this page you will find reviews by myself (Pat Byrne) and guest reviewers including The Bluesbunny, Campbell Cameron, Douglas Baird, Pauline Keightley and John Alexander.
You can also catch up on Jim Byrne's Acoustic Music Adventures
Celtic Connection 2013 - reviews by Pauline Keightley - including Bellowhead, Aimee Mann and Transatlantic Sessions - January, 2013
- Review by Pat Byrne - November, 2012
Dougie McLean at Milngavie Town Hall - review by Pauline Keightley, July 2012
Duncan McCrone, Linlithgow Folk Club - Pat Byrne, May, 2012
Art for Art Sake 10CC - Campbell Cameron, May, 2012
Gerry Crean at The Dram - April 2012
Emeli Sande at The Old Fruitmarket - Pauline Keightley, April, 2012
The Bluesbunny Review - Jim Byrne CD Launch The Innocent - February, 2012
Jim Byrne & The Blackwoods at Brel Pauline Keightley
...and so to bed - Celtic Connections 2012 - End of Festival Review by Campbell Cameron- 5th February, 2012
Review by Pat Byrne
Jim and I had a great night on Saturday when we went through to see Duncan McCrone play at St Margaret's Hall in Linlithgow. The first time we saw Duncan play was at the Folk Festival in the same town four years ago - we were impressed then and no less impressed on this occasion.
Skirlie kicked off the concert, warming up the audience with a great selection of songs and a very relaxed set. The folk at Linlithgow are a particularly friendly bunch and the atmosphere was already very upbeat as Duncan McCrone, Cy Jack, bass and keyboards, and Stevie Lawrence, guitar and bazuki, took to the stage.
The night just got better and better. It's a pleasure listening to Duncan sing; he has a fine voice and his enjoyment of the music is clear. The lyrics are also clear - some are humourous and some are very beautiful. 'Colourblind', the title track from his new C.D. is a wonderful song; made all the more engaging by Duncan's explanation of the inspiration behind the track.
by Campbell Cameron
I caught up with 10CC at the Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow on Monday as they perform their Greatest Hits and more. We are treated to all the favourites including Rubber Bullets, I'm Not In Love, Dreadlock Holiday, Donna, Art For Art's Sake, Good Morning Judge, The Things We Do For Love, I'm Mandy Fly Me, Life Is A Minestrone, The Dean And I and The Wall Street Shuffle.
Not only were 10CC the creators of some of the Greatest Hits of the 70's as "purveyors of the finest in popular music since 1972" but they are genuinely one of the most exciting live bands in the country and are embarking on a string of major UK venues celebrating 40 years in the business. Tonight gets them off to a flying start.
It has been a patchy 40 years for the band.
Read the full review
After hearing Gerry Creen perform on Ciaran Dorris' Sunday Session, Celtic Music Radio, Jim and I went along the next night to Gerry's gig at The Dram. On a very wet and drab night in Glasgow, he brightened things up considerably, bringing his own brand of relaxed and enjoyable entertainment to town.
His affable approach, fine guitar playing and warm melodic voice drew the audience in from the word go and Gerry had us captivated. He sang a mixture of his own songs and some familiar covers, songs that were happy and some that were sad. He had great connection with the audience in the intimate venue, and we appreciated being told about the background to his songs, including the sad story of the baby 'Marina Jane'.
We also enjoyed hearing his stories about his hometown Belfast and his trips to Nashville. His play on Randy Newman's 'Short People' was both clever and humorous and I particularly enjoyed 'Lucky Star', which Gerry explained was 'not about unrequited love but about unfullfilled dreams'. I was also delighted to hear one of my favourites, 'Star of the County Down'.
It was a great night out and lovely to see Ally and Paul, soon to tie the knot, Celtic Music Radio were well represented with John Collings and Cathie, Ciaran Dorris plus fervent folk fan Lucillia Weir. There were quite a few musicians in the audience and Gerry had no trouble getting folk to join in with some fascinating harmonies.
Hope it won't be too long before we see Gerry Creen back in Glasgow.
Pat Byrne, April, 2012.
I went along today to the Recital Rooms at the City Halls to see Outi Karhula-Smith perform at the Honours Recital of University of Strathclyde's BA Applied Music degree course.
At 11.00 a.m. it wasn't the best time to attract a large audience but those who attended were knocked out by Outi's performance. I sat with her young husband, Crawford Smith (of The Ballachulish Hellhounds) and Callum Rae also a musician (whom I know from the Butterfly & Pig) . We were all very moved by Outi's singing and superb interpretation of the songs she had chosen for the recital.
It really was a fantastic set with a theme of love: love for music, romantic love, and everlasting love. She sang in both English and Finnish and her repertoire was remarkably varied. She started off with an upbeat and catchy number '9-5' then moved on to 'Our Love', which had a jazzy feel and then she sang two songs in Finnish, which is her first language. I absolutely loved the second of the two 'Laula Kuolleesta Rakastetusta', which had a beautiful melody. Outi then sang an aria from 'Dido and Acneas', England's oldest opera, this allowed her to demonstrate the range of her lovely voice. Then she showed, despite her fragile appearance, how she could belt out very big and angry songs with 'You Oughta Know' the single from an Alanis Morissette album. She finished her set with 'As Time Goes By' and her interpretation of this well known composition from the film 'Casablanca' was really wonderful and very emotional. I absolutely loved it.
Apart from sounding great, she looked lovely and gave a very engaging performance. Well done, Outi. I've paid a lot of money to see stars perform in the City Halls, you're up there with the best of them.
(Well done also to the band and to Gerry Rossi, Course Director. With such an example of the talent this course is turning out I really hope that the University reconsiders its plans to cut this course. To do so would be sinful.)
Pat Byrne, 16th May, 2011
Review by Pauline Keightley
I first saw The Low Anthem perform at the Old Fruitmarket during Celtic Connection Festival 2010. The band have a contemporary American country style and with their finely-tuned harmonies and assortment of instruments they are very entertaining Their sound ranges from soft subtle tunes to crashing walls of sound and the voice of Ben Miller, the lead singer, can be sweet or harsh ....read the full review
I've seen Marra twice at the Mugdock Theatre in Milngavie, which, with the grand piano off to the left, is a perfect venue for him. I list his concerts there as some of my favourite ever small venue gigs. The first thing that I noticed about Marra at his gigs was how frail he looked but when he starts to perform his deep gravelly voice is strong and takes you by surprise. With his entertaining banter and songs he projects both a warm heart and a dry wit. At these gigs he led us through a medley of his songs which were full of unforgettable characters and carefully crafted images of place and time.
In March this year I saw him perform once again, this time at a packed Milngavie Folk Club in the Fraser Centre. He played both piano and guitar and sang songs with grand titles such as - 'If Dundee was Africa', 'Bob Dylan's Visit to Embra', 'Grace Kelly's Visit to Dundee,' 'Muggie Shaw', 'Freda Kohl's Visit to the Tay Bridge Bar', and 'Lonesome Death of Francis Clarke'. In 'Schenectady Calling', Marra paid tribute to Peerie Willie Johnson, a noted folk musician from Shetland. He finished his set with a Burns' song ' Green Grow the Rashes O' and his encore song was 'Mary Skeffington' by the late Gerry Rafferty.
Marra's songs often mix Scottish places with a fantasy of American celebrity and he writes about diverse topics such as football, ladies choirs and American idols! Many of his songs are highly amusing, while some are thoughtful and touching. His music has grown out of both his Dundee Scottish roots and his American musical tastes and he has been influenced by the likes of Tom Waits, Randy Newman and Bob Dylan. Marra describes his sound as 'groovy traditional music.'
Although predominantly known as a songwriter, Marra has worked extensively in theatre, radio and television. His children are members of the Dundee based group The Hazy Janes. In the late 70's he was in a band called Skeets Boliver.
Review by Campbell Cameron, May, 2010.
What a fine week it was in the company of the Irish! First it was the marvellous Sawdoctors at the Corran halls in Oban and what a night we had. All the favourites and some from the unreleased, and as yet unnamed, new album. The boys were on song and Leo was happy to chat after the gig. Fresh back in advance of the volcano eruption from Australia - the boys had racked up 14 flights on the tour! It went very well and the Melbourne papers were full of praise for the boys. "We were over years ago" said Lee "but it's so long ago - we were starting again so that was great to hear they liked us!" He agreed that a forest of trees would need to be planted to clear the carbon conscience.
The Bluesbunny and his bunny companions specialise in writing reviews of new live and recorded music from independent labels and unsigned musicians. Read about the bunnies'West End Ramblings.
Alive and kicking 29th May, 2010.
Jim recently played at The Wee Folk Club which is based in The Royal Oak in Edinburgh; a ‘bastion of Scottish folk music scene' that has been providing a platform for the best folk performers over the last 30 years. Paddy Bort had invited Jim to play after seeing him support Hans Theessink at The Edinburgh Folk Club late last year.
Neither of us had ever been to The Wee Folk Club before but we were looking forward to it as we had heard glowing reports of its special atmosphere and friendly club members.
It certainly lived up to its reputation and although the audience was not large (it is an unusually small and intimate venue), comprising of the other musicians, regular Oak aficionados plus some Swiss and Canadian tourists, they made a most receptive and friendly audience.
Read the full review
by Reviewer from Montgomery, November 2009.
Another CD to review, this time Eilidh Patterson's, debut album 'When the Time Comes', and while I'm trying to work out how to pronounce Eilidh, I hit 'play'. The opening chords wash over you and then Eilidh's soothing vocals, which always seem to have a sad tinge, draw you further into the music. Clean, crisp production almost places Eilidh and the band in your living room, and the understated arrangements bring out the simple beauty of the songs as the instruments ebb and flow with the rise and fall of the narrative of the words.
Read the full review
Review of Rallion's new CD by Peter McGee, October 2009
Having quietly begun to make a name for themselves, "One For Sorrow" sees Scottish folk quartet Rallion follow up their 2006 debut "For No-One and Everyone" in fine musical fettle. .....Read the full review
I found myself at Glastonbury just after I lost myself. Worthy Farm is host to thousands of mad festival goers every year and I would like to say thank you to Michael and Emily Eavis, and everyone involved, for organizing the festival. You can tell that a lot of preparation has gone into it by the way it is set up and I think that anyone who goes to Glastonbury will gain something positive from the experience.
Marianne Wilson says "It's the best in Britain"
Review by Iain Strefford ~ Wednesday, 12 August 2009
It's hard to believe that this is only the second solo release from the former Silencers and Casbah Club front man. 2002 saw the release of his excellent debut album Sunnyside PAL and the intervening years have seen him mired down in legal problems and his record label going bust. So, has it been worth the wait? Read on and find out.
Rab Noakes and Friends - review by Pauline Keightley. 1st February
Bluesbunny Reviews - Fanny Plimpton and the Bastard Suit, The Plimptons at 13th Note - 31st January, 2012
Thea Gilmore Celtic Connections review by Pauline Keightley.
Gerry Rafferty Remembered: Bring it on Home - Celtic Connections Review by Pauline Keightley- January, 2012.
Emeli Sande at OranMor - review by Pauline Keightley - November, 2011
Mummy Short Arms, Naked Strangers and Captain Magestic at Pivo Pivo - Bluesbunny, November, 2011
The Raghu Dixit Project at OranMor - August, 2011 - Pauline Keightley.
Ginger and Friends, Hawk Eyes, Exit International - Peter Kane at Bluesbunny 8th December, 2011
Jim Byrne and The Blackwoods at Tchai Ovna - 27th November, 2011
Emeli Sande at OranMor - review by Pauline Keightley, November, 2011
Bad As Me - Tom Waits review by Jim Byrne- 19th October, 2011.
Amanda Palmer, Bitter Ruin, The Horndog Brass Band - Bluesbunny,
K.D. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Little Miss Higgins P. McGee
Outi Karhula-Smith, Honours Recital, City Halls, 16th May - Pat Byrne
The Dirt - Bury Me Tomorrow CD Launch - Pat Byrne - 7th December, 2010
Martin's Mish Mash with Jim Byrne, The Flaming Jetts, Pookah, Daniel Hertzov and Jim McAteer
Scott Macdonald with guests at the iFull Cafe
The Hellfire Club with guest, Jim Byrne
Kris Drever, John McCusker and Donald Shaw at Milngavie Folk Club - review by Pauline Keightley, 24th November, 2010
Review: Emili Sande at King Tuts - Pauline Keightley, 24th November, 2010
Tim Robbins at OranMor - P.A. Keightley, 3rd November, 2010
Kevin Welch at Glasgow Festival of Americana - 10th October, 2010. (Pat Byrne)
The Bluesbunny Reviews: Rockburn and Skinny Villains at King Tut's -7th August, 2010
Review: NME Radar Tour King Tut's - P.A. Keightley, July, 2010
Review: The Magic lantern Show, The Recovery Club and Outi Karhula at Folk, Blues and Beyond, acoustic music festival, 2010. Peter McGee, 17th june, 2010,
Review: The Free Candy Sessions at The Liquid Ship - The Reptile House, Butch Ross and Brigid Kaelin - Pat Byrne, 2nd June, 2010
Jim Byrne - 'Every Day is Sunshine'
Celtic Connections Reflections- Campbell Cameron - March, 2010
Mumford & Sons - P.A. Keightley, 15th March, 2010
Keiran Goss at the Old Fruitmarket - March, 2010 Review by Pat Byrne
Pearl and the Puppets at The Classic Grand review by P.A. Keightley
Texas Songwriters' Night - John Alexander.
A braw nicht! - Burns' Night, Partick Folk Club
Celtic Connections Reviews 2010
Pearl and the Puppets at The Classic Grand review by P.A. Keightley. February, 2010.
Jim Byrne's Acoustic Music Adventures-What's Cookin' Gig with Southern Tenant Folk Union - July, 2009.
Dr Hook featuring Ray Sawyer Baird Travel.
Raining in Glasgow - Dean Owens, Kim Edgar and Jim Byrne at The Twisted Wheel - 11th April, 2009.
Dave Arcari CD Launch - 2nd March, 2009.
We had a great night at the launch party for Jim's debut CD - 'On These Dark Nights'
Feature: Debut Album
Eurydice: Glasgow Women's Socialist Choir - 27th November, 2008.
Southern Tenant Folk Union at Brel - October, 2008.
Rallion - a Review Scottish Traditional Music with a Contemporary Twist.