The excitement has been building since the opening acts were announced back the in early Fall of 2015. As the tinsel and baubles come down from the holidays, it’s time to welcome the best of folk, roots and traditional to Glasgow, a UNESCO Music City and home to Celtic Connections.
Now in its 23rd year, Celtic Connections is the largest annual winter music festival of its kind and the UK’s premier celebration of Celtic music. In all, 2,100 artists will perform in some 300 different shows, spread over 20 venues. The festival lasts from January 14th and ends on February 1st with a tribute concert to the late, great Bert Jansch in his home town where a number of musicians led by Robert Plant (Led Zeppellin), Bernard Butler (Suede), Graham Coxon (Blur) and others will perform in aid of the Foundation in his name, set up to help emerging acoustic musicians.
One of the highlights will be the show in the Royal Concert Hall by Lucinda Williams on January 20, ahead of her new album ‘The Ghosts of Highway 20’ that is released in same week. Also, fresh from topping the ND readers poll for album of the year 2015, Jason Isbell will showcase his growing reputation and I am looking forward to the live version of the great songs on the ‘Something More Than Free’ CD. The two Transtlantic Sessions that close out the festival are always a highlight and we look forward to the seeing the Milk Carton Kids working with the house band led by the stalwarts of Celtic Connections, Jerry Douglas on dobro, Aly Bain on fiddle, Phil Cunningham on accordion plus others.
Throw in shows by Patty Griffin, Kris Kristofferson, Aoife O’Donovan, Frazey Ford, Ron Pope, Gretchen Peters and Sturgill Simpson, we here in Scotland are blessed by our US and other visitors and the blend of their skills with the talents of these islands make for a festival that heats us up as the mercury falls. Full details can be obtained here.
Welcome to Glasgow 2016. Let the music begin.