Celtic Connections Grace and Danger, Tribute to John Martyn photographs and review by Pauline Keightley
Grace and Danger Review
A troubled soul looking for love…
What a glorious concert to celebrate one of Scotland’s best loved singer songwriters, John Martyn. He was born in London, and after his parents divorced when he was five, he returned to live in Glasgow with his father and grandmother. .
The tribute concert was hosted by double bass player Danny Thompson, who recounted many anecdotes of his time touring with John Martyn. Martyn’s immense legacy is well preserved and the fine artists at this concert performed many of his best loved songs as part of Celtic Connections. We were graced with some excellent guitar playing by American blues guitarist Eric Bibb, who opened the concert with the perfect Solid Air. He also performed Easy Blues and a moving One World.
Several younger singer songwriters expressed Martyn’s widespread musical influence. With the full band Ross Wilson (aka Blue Rose Code) performed Make no Mistake . In his first set he sang a soulful Fine Lines and Bless the Weather, along with strings led by Greg Lawson. Lucy Rose sang I Couldn’t Love You More with intimate emotion, while Katie Spencer sang, Hurt in Your Heart and John the Baptist. John Smith performed the songs, Walk Down, Spencer the Rover and Go Down Easy. aAccompanied by Danny Thompson on double bass, he sounded very Martyn-like.
Popular Scottish singer Eddi Reader performed Dancing, Certain Surprise, with the upbeat, string ensemble and a moving Fairytale Lullaby. Brit award winner Paul Weller of The Jam played the songs, Evil in Your Heart and Sweet Little Mystery.
The concert ended with all of the acts on stage to sing Martyn’s unforgettable best loved song May You Never. This was followed by a video of Martyn in concert singing the poignant Over the Rainbow.
What a memorable, moving night! Like many of the greats, Martyn mixed various influences to take his music to the edge with pounding blues rhythms, Celtic heart and moving soul. He recorded 22 studio albums and toured extensively.
Photos and Review Pauline Keightley – www.pkimage.co.uk
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