Next year's Celtic Connections starts on the 19th January, but as usual I like to give a heads up as to some of the highlights so that you can hopefully get your hands on some tickets before they disappear. This is probably the biggest festival that Glasgow hosts, and it just seems to get bigger year on year.
There are nights celebrating the life and work of Gerry Rafferty and Woody Guthrie, the appearance of true musical legends such as Jack Bruce, The Average White Band, Janis Ian, the great June Tabor and, stop the press, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Add to that bands as diverse as The Punch Brothers, Admiral Fallow, The Unthanks, Cornershop, Airdrie legends The Big Dish, The Singing Land and then consider the famous Transatlantic Sessions and there is little doubt that, as usual, you could blow the money set aside for such trifles as food and heat with ease. These are just a few of the people I would want to, and hopefully will, see.
First is one of my musical heroes. I love everything Will Oldham does, and Sunday the 29th January sees Bonnie Prince Billy at the Old Fruitmarket. From the latest album Wolfroy Goes to Town this is Quail and Dumplings:
Next is a bit of 1990s nostalgia (is that a thing) in the form of Colin MacIntyre and his Mull Historical Society. He made two of my favourite albums of the early 90s, and although he has been on the go since these are the two that I still play today. He is going to be at the ABC on the 3rd February supported by the excellent Washington Irving. From 2001's Loss, this is Watching Xanadu:
How much did I like Stereolab? A lot is the correct answer, and Laetitia Sadier is going to be at Platform on the 21st January, ably supported by Jo Mango. From last year's The Trip this is Ceci Est Le Couer and is Sadier effortlessly making beautiful music:
Here's another musical crush. Laura Veirs was one of last year's highlights and I don't see any reason why this year will be any different. She'll be at The Arches on the 3rd February, making it difficult choice for who to see that night. From 2010's album July Flame this is I Can See Your Tracks:
Another act playing The Arches (2nd Feb) is Johnathon Wilson who is the current darling of the beardy music mags, but that's no reason to dismiss him (I'm a beardy music lover myself). If your expecting no nonsense Americana then you are in for a surprise and a treat. As an example this is Desert Raven and it's ace:
I'm going to end with one of those legends I mentioned at the top. It's freezing outside and been blowing a storm, so here is the ultimate in aural warmth from Martha and the Vandellas who are going to be at The Arches on the 29th January, a show which should be sensational. Of course this is Heatwave:
Something to look forward to in the New Year, and remember to let me know if you have any spares.