Celtic Connections 2011: Reviews


Monday 31 Jan 2011

Bob Dylan - 'Forever Young' Tribute Concert

at Celtic Connections January 2011

Photo: gemma hayes and roddy hart.

Cast of singers:

Thea Gilmore, Josh Rouse, Gemma Hayes, James Grant, Justin Townes Earle, Kris Drever, Rab Noakes, Laura Cantrell,? Tommy Reilly, Roseanne Cash, Tim O'Brien, Eddi Reader, Roddy Hart and his band The Lonesome Fire.? One aspect that draws me to Celtic Connections each year is the interesting collaborations you get the opportunity to see so this night was a perfect opportunity.

The show was introduced by Bob Harris. First up was Roddy Hart, the concert organiser, and his band The Lonesome Fire with 'Homesick Blues.'? With thirteen songs each set this concert was certainly pushing the boat out.? (Full set list below, I hope I got right)? The artists performed songs from several of Dylan's albums - 'Blood on the Tracks.'? 'Nashville Skyline' 'Time Out Of Mind' 'Blonde On Blonde' . Roddy's band provided a tight backing unit throughout the concert.

There were several strong highlights including James Grant's vibrant first half finale of 'All Along The Watchtower'; another Scot, veteran Rab Noakes, played a challenging selection of songs: 'Absolutely Sweet Marie' and ' Mississippi.'?? American singer Nell Bryden performed a song from Dylan's romantic side, 'Just Like A Woman', and Thea Gilmore portrayed his darker side with 'Masters' Of War' and 'Lay Down your Weary Bones'? - songs that are still as relevant today.

Bryden spoke of how she admired the way Dylan's writing often encompassed both the innocent, fresh, naive and sweet with lilting arpeggios and vulnerable lyrics yet could at the same time be ironic, strong and dark.?

'I was so much older then I'm younger than that now.'

O'Brien spoke of Alison Krauss asking Dylan to sign his large book of Lyrics - he said that it came in handy for him!?? Gilmore spoke of how Dylan often took old folk tunes, Scottish ones too, and wrote new songs around them (amateurs imitate, professionals steal!)

Photo: singers bob dylan forever young.

Some few get the 'heart' of a song and it is not something that can be taught.

Dylan is 'deep' - an often over-used word!? It is not easy to explain in words, and only truly though the emotions of art. I guess what it is NOT is about being thin, superficial or fake - and Dylan sees through all that!? More than any other artist Dylan is about 'individual voices' and how those voices might work together to create beauty and sometimes miracles.?

I only discovered Dylan in recent years after watching Scorcese's illuminating Dylan documentary 'No Direction Home' - and also reading the brilliant autobiography 'Chronicles'.? I saw him perform with his Highwaymen band at the Glasgow SECC in 2006 - he takes no time to introduce himself (I guess he doesn't need to!) but simply plays his songs with the band. His audience took in all ages and people from every walk of life. He may be turning 70 this year but he is still on that artistic road....

Words to describe Dylan - substance, elusive, questioning and a true troubadour - one who lives through music and art.?? Some of his albums (of which there are many and not all are great) are now like old friends of mine. If I need sustenance - he provides; if I need answers - his lyrics inspire and take me home.?

Noakes said that 'Dylan's creative longevity was one of the wonders of the 20th century.'

A concert packed with not only talent but the genius that is Mr Bob Dylan.?

'Time is an Ocean it isn't the Show'

Order of Performance - Set List

  • Roddy Hart - Subterranean homesick Blues
  • Rab Noakes - 'Absolutely Sweet Marie'
  • Tim O'Brien (and band) -? 'I Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm no More'
  • Eddi Reader -? 'Buckets of Rain'
  • Thea Gilmore - 'Lay Down Your Weary Tune'?
  • Thea Gilmore - 'Masters of War'
  • Gemma Hayes - 'Times They are a Changing'
  • Gemma Hayes - 'Most of the Time'
  • Kris Drever - 'Hard Rain Gonna Fall'
  • Nell Bryden - 'Just Like a Woman'?
  • James Grant - All Along The Watchtower'
  • II Roddy Hart - 'It's Not Dark Yet but It's Getting There'
  • Josh Rouse - 'The Man in Me'
  • Josh Rouse - 'Lay Lady Lay '
  • James Grant - 'Simple Twist of Fate'
  • Laura Cantrell - 'I Threw it All Away'
  • Laura Cantrell - 'Mr Tambourine Man'?
  • Tommy Reilly - 'It Ain't Me Babe'
  • Gemma Hayes and Roddy Hart - 'Oh Sister'
  • Rab Noakes - 'Mississippi'
  • Rab Noakes and Thea Gilmore - 'Blowin In the Wind'
  • Rosanne Cash - 'Licence To Kill'?
  • Rosanne Cash - 'Girl From The North Country'
  • Rab Noakes, Tommy Reilly, Gemma Hayes - 'My Back Pages'
  • Assembled Cast on stage Finale - 'Forever Young'


  • Roddy Hart- 'Baby Blue'
  • Assembled Cast on stage - 'I Shall Be Released'
  • 'Like A Rolling Stone'

This is as accurate a list as I could make without asking for the set list!

?? Review by Pauline Keightley (www.pkimage.co.uk)

Sunday 30 Jan 2011

The Henry Girls and Foxhunt

- a warm-up for Fiddlers Bid.

Take three girls from Donegal and add four boys from West Virginia and mix them all together on a Glasgow stage and the blend is Celtic. Well more Americana actually but foot stomping none the less! All of a sudden we realise what Celtic connections is all about - collaboration. They met at a festival last year and the magic began.

Original and cleverly mastered round just one big old -style microphone the bands take turns to lead throughout the songs in a musical merry go round that delights the Royal Concert hall regulars and first timers alike. It's like being back in the fifties ( I imagine) and listening to American radio on the short wave. We meet the girls and boys later back at the hotel - a dram or two were had (networking, I call it), and I think we will see them in the Highlands before long - watch this space.. www.forargyll.com

Review by Cambell Cameron
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Iain Thomson has launched the new Album Fields of Dreams - at St Andrews in the Square Glasgow. Great airplay and reviews on the radio! have a wee listen at; www.iainthomsonband.co.uk/cd.html

Weblog archive

Rosanne Cash at the City Halls Celtic Connections January 2011: Thursday 27 Jan 2011

Shetland Magic at Celtic Connections 2011: Wednesday 26 Jan 2011

Jerry Douglas at Celtic Connections 2011: Wednesday 26 Jan 2011

Steele the Show, Celtic Connections 2011: Sunday 23 Jan 2011

The Burns Unit, Celtic Connections 2011: Thursday 20 Jan 2011

Broken Records, Celtic Connection 2011: Thursday 20 Jan 2011

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