Continuing to spread the Celtic joy

​After a weekend that seemed to start last Wednesday, it’s small wonder - and definitely just as well – that the last couple of days have been somewhat on the quiet side, with only a relative handful of shows taking place for the true diehards among our audience. Even this smaller line-up has continued to spread the Celtic joy, however, with Chicago bluegrass veterans Special Consensus, performing last night in the Strathclyde Suite, clearly blown away by their Glasgow welcome, paying tribute afterwards to an “absolutely awesome crowd and wonderful hospitality”. Downstairs in the main hall, meanwhile, a resplendent triple bill of Julie Fowlis, Altan and Mary Chapin Carpenter finished up with all the featured musicians together onstage, wreathed in ear-to-ear smiles, complete with Carpenter’s surprise special guest Jerry Douglas – after which Fowlis, for whom this marked the close of a hectic long weekend, posted: “Every year the festival inspires and re-energises me, it’s a truly world class event. Huge respect to Donald Shaw and all the CC team. Legends. Am away home for a lie down now. . .”
As Douglas’s presence suggests, the clan is already gathering for this weekend’s two Transatlantic Sessions shows, with double bass deity Danny Thompson also spotted checking into his hotel, and walking US roots encyclopaedia Dirk Powell already well settled in, following his Dirt Road show on Sunday. As festival regulars know, this often means some extra-fine tunes to be heard in the Holiday Inn bar during the festival’s final week, so keep your ears peeled.
English folk icon Shirley Collins has announced the accompanying line-up and special guests for her much-anticipated show at the City Halls on Saturday, performing material from her acclaimed 2016 ‘comeback’ recording Lodestar. The Lodestar Band features the Band album’s producer Ian Kearey, English folk veteran and scholar Dave Arthur, Alex Neilson (Trembling Bells), Ossian Brown (Cyclobe) and actor Pip Barnes, while Collins will also be joined by our own Alasdair Roberts, award-winning English singer Sam Lee, and US roots innovator Jayme Stone. Tickets are still available, but going fast.
In case the rest of the week’s choice of gigs isn’t quite enough for you, there’s an extra one tomorrow you might have missed (it was added too late for the main programme brochure), namely the final of the 2017 Young Scottish Jazz Musician of the Year competition, taking place at the Mitchell Theatre. The all-male line-up of finalists comprises bassists Conor Murray, and David Bowden, pianist Fergus McCreadie, guitarist Joe Williamson and drummer Stephen Henderson – no horn players, unusually – while the 2016 winner, saxophonist Helena Kay, will also perform during the judges’ deliberations, before handing on the coveted title: tickets from the festival box office.
Lastly, given that it’s a Tuesday during Celtic Connections, we’ve hunted for details of tonight’s Folkytown shenanigans, but so far in vain – though we do have it on good authority that tuneful shenanigans of some kind will be taking place at the Flying Duck from 10.30pm as usual.