Celtic Connections 2014: Roaming Roots Revue – review by P. Keightley

Roaming Roots Review by Pauline Keightley

I was at a Laurel Canyon concert Sunday, such great songs came out of this era – and this was all about the young people keeping the groove alive today…. 

The concert was a journey with through the California sounds of Laurel Canyon with some of the newer Scottish and American performers. There was a lot of nostalgia but it proved a real treat both for ageing hippies and the younger fans!

Roddy Hart


Forty years ago many young musicians seeking artistic freedom and sunshine took off for LA – The Byrds, Crosby, Stills & Nash, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Jackson Browne. I chose this concert because last year’s inaugural event received top reviews and also because the early 70s produced so many top albums of recent times and some of my favourite sounds.
Scottish singer songwriter Roddy Hart and his band The Lonesome Fire opened this colourful and varied concert with the Byrd’s song So You Want to Be A Rock n Roll Star.  Idlewild front man Roddy Woomble sang Neil Young’s Out On The Weekend and then a song written by himself and Roddy Hart, Love Steals Us From Loneliness.

Next James Taylor and Joni Mitchell look-alikes and sound-a-likes Zervas and Pepper performed Ghost Writer and Mitchell’s Woodstock. After which respected folk band Lau, with Kris Drever on vocals, performed James Taylor’s Fire and Rain.

The beautiful Webb Sisters demonstrated their close subtle harmonies on Everything Changes and Linda Ronstadt’s Heart Like a Wheel. Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire were joined on stage by Taylor Goldsmith from California’s The Dawes for an excellent rendition of Jackson Browne’s After The Deluge. Frank Reader then sang a moving interpretation of a Judee Sill song The Kiss. A treat to end the first half were Cory Chisel and Adriel Harris, who looked and sounded the part in casual American style. They sang Times Won’t Change and the Eagles Hotel California.  

Lindi OrtegaSecond Half.

Roddy Hart and The Lonesome Fire began with a rocking version of Jackson Browne’s Running on Empty. Another highlight was the dramatic American country singer Lindi Ortega with her song Cigarettes and Truckstop and the Eagles Desperado.

The top Scottish trio, Clark, Mitchell, Reilly performed Helpless (CSNY) and a young Glaswegian singer songwriter Siobhan Wilson followed with her song All Dressed Up and then, with Tommy Reilly on piano, one of my all time favourite songs, A Case of You – with a beauty of voice and interpretation that captured the essence of the song and held the audience silent.

The Webb Sisters sang Judee Sill’s song Jesus Was A Crossmaker, followed by Roddy Woomble and Lau with Roll Um Easy (Little Feat). The Dawes made an impact  with their songs Most People, A Little Bit Of Everything and Desperados Under The Eaves (Warren Zevon). Hart is clearly both a fan of Jackson Browne and The Dawes!
The entire cast of players finished on stage with some of Laurel Canyon’s biggest hits – Love The One You’re With (Stephen Stills), Take It Easy (The Eagles) and California Dreaming (The Mamas and The Papas).
Quote Rolling Stone – ‘It’s about the vibe man and free jamming … Goldberg.‘ They want to be loose.. to have the freedom to groove their own groove.’
Roddy Hart succeeded in pulling together and compering another top quality concert that offered the audience breadth, diversity and quality. Hart also organised Celtic Connection’s “Forever Young: A 70th Birthday Tribute To Bob Dylan”  (2011) and his band were house band for the Gerry Rafferty Concert (2012) broadcast on BBC 2 Scotland.

The concert drew on Celtic Connection’s success in melding American and Scottish sounds – offering interesting crossovers and highlighting the links between the Celtic music of the British Isles and the American States.

Photos and Review by Pauline Keightley – http://pkimage.co.uk/

More Photos by Pauline Keightley


Roddy Woomble

Roddy Hart

Lindi Ortega


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Celtic Connections: Ullapool Guitar Festival, 30th January, 2014

This section: Celtic Connections 2014, Music Reviews, Pauline Keightley

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Avatar of PatByrne Publisher of Pat's Guide to Glasgow West End; the community guide to the West End of Glasgow. Fiction and non-fiction writer.

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