Mary Chapin Carpenter at Celtic Connections 2017 review and photographs by Pauline Keightley

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, 30 January, 2017

Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter, American singer, songwriter performed at the concert hall at Celtic Connections 2017.

This was a concert in three sets.

First we treated to the beautiful voice of Julie Fowlis. She sang several Gaelic songs and the Beatles’ ‘Blackbird’ – her set was far too short! 

Julie Fowlis

Julie Fowlis, Gaelic singer, performed at the concert hall during Celtic Connections 2017.

Next was the accomplished, fun, folk band Altan from Donegal, who played energising reels and jigs. Their lead singer and violinist Mairead Ni Mhaonaigh sang movingly in the Irish Gaelic.


Altan, Irish folk band, performed at the concert hall duirng Celtic Connections 2017.

The main event was the Grammy-winning country singer songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter who performed songs from her 2014 album ‘The Things That We Are Made Of’. This included the well-crafted song ‘Something Tame, Something Wild.’ She said she hoped her songs might offer some balance to the freak show happening in America – her comment drew a loud clap!

Mary Chapin Carpenter

She spoke of walking near her home in the Blue Ridge mountains and of how she wrote the song ‘Oh Rosetta’ – inspired by the spirit of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, she celebrated the gospel singer and ‘godmother of rock n roll’.  She explained how she enjoyed being inside a perfect song with her interpretation of Lucinda William’s ‘Passionate Kisses’.

We had simply MCC’s husky, honey-toned voice and guitar for a tender ‘This Shirt’.  Then she took the tempo up several notches with some rocky, blues songs – ‘Shut Up and Kiss Me’, ‘I Feel Lucky’ and ‘I Took my Chances’ ; when she was backed by the full and luxurious musicality of her band of grand piano, electric guitar and drums. The words of her songs often reach out and reflect on life’s extremes. She is also a talented guitarist.

The theme of Celtic Connections this year was the celebration of women artists and tonight for a grand finale we had Julie Fowlis, Altan, and a surprise appearance by dubro player Jerry Douglas,  for ‘He Thinks He’ll Keep Her’. This was certainly one of the treats of the festival!  

Review and Photos by Pauline Keightley –

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This section: Celtic Connections 2017, Pauline Keightley, Photography

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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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