The World Premiere of songs from Sinner’s Shrine, the album Dean Owens recorded in Tucson, with musicians from Calexico, just before lockdown, with stories of love and lust, sinners and saints, the displaced, the wanderers and the border ghosts. A unique performance, specially recorded for Celtic Connections and one which encapsulates its ethos, the show was recorded over 5,000 miles distance and then edited into a dynamic whole. The songs showcase Owens’ gift for storytelling, with his searingly soulful voice, infused with the dramatic Panavision desert sweep of Calexico, with Joey Burns’ guttural guitar, Martin Wenk’s mariachi trumpet style, underpinned by the pulse of Dean’s former Felsons bandmate Kevin McGuire’s double bass. Award winning Scottish singer songwriter Dean Owens is a Celtic Connections regular, with fans including BBC legend “Whispering” Bob Harris and writers Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. Joey Burns is the heart and soul of Calexico, who last brought their trademark “desert noir” sounds to the festival in 2016. Sinner’s Shrine is due for release later in 2021, preceded by a triple whammy of EPs of related material – The Desert Trilogy - from Feb/March.
Rhiannon Giddens is an American artist of folk and traditional music, played on fiddle and banjo; Francesco Turrisi is an Italian pianist and percussionist well versed in jazz, early music and Mediterranean music; at first blush, their worlds don’t overlap. But at a chance musical meet-up in Ireland they found that her 19th century American minstrel banjo tunes and his traditional Sicilian Tamburello (tambourine) rhythms fit very naturally together. They soon discovered the reason for that - their respective roots coexisted in the past. Pictures of early minstrel bands all represent banjo and tambourine (called tambo) together, where in many cases the tambo is held in the same manner of Southern Italian tamburello traditions today. Giddens and Turrisi’s album there is no Other was recorded in just five days with little editing and overdubbing in Ireland with producer Joe Henry, and is at once a condemnation of “othering” and a celebration of the spread of ideas, connectivity, and shared experience.
Best known as one third of Lau, Kris Drever has long been renowned on the Scottish music scene as a singer, writer and prolific collaborator, working with the likes of Mark Knopfler, Jack Bruce, Danny Thompson, Eddi Reader, Kate Rusby, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis, to name a few. His most recent of many Celtic Connections appearances was through his involvement in the visionary Spell Songs project. A growing discography of solo releases has netted him a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award in 2016, for the title track of his third solo album If Wishes Were Horses. Its 2020 follow-up, Where the World is Thin, prompted Folkradio.co.uk to praise his ability ‘to confidently bridge that elusive gap between tradition and the contemporary,’ and it again confirmed him as both a fine interpreter of others’ songs and a formidable songwriter in his own right: You can expect to enjoy all these attributes in Drever’s solo sets too.
Originally hailing from the high desert of Northern New Mexico, Cahalen Morrison has made a name for himself. Over the past decade touring solo, as a duo with Eli West, or with his roadhouse country band Western Centuries, Cahalen has played shows and festivals all over the world and performed on stage with the likes of Tim O’Brien, Kelly Joe Phelps, Hot Rize, Crooked Still and Kris Drever. Equally at home on guitar, banjo, mandolin, singing three part harmony or unaccompanied, he has carved out a place for himself as a unique voice in American music. An insightful and poetic wordsmith and songwriter, a subtle and accomplished roots multi-instrumentalist and a captivating singer.
*This performance will be available to watch for one week after the live dateto accommodate different time zones.
This performance is included in the Celtic Connections 2021 festival pass, so you will not need to purchase this event if you have already purchased a pass.