One on the great things about Celtic Connections is that it encourages the taking of chances on artists previously unknown to the listener.
Tonight’s gig was one of those cases and was a brilliant choice. No one who attended could have found better value for money with this three and a half hour concert on Glasgow’s wonderful Old Fruitmarket.
First up were Irish duo The Lost Brothers. With acoustic guitars these guys harmonised their way through a forty minute set sounding, at times, uncannily like The Everly Brothers with songs of nature’s cycles, travelling and even a gentle version of Moon River. A brilliant opener.
At nine o’clock Glen Hansard (pictured), another son of Erin, took to the stage with his 11 piece band.
Cello, fiddles, bass guitar, keyboards, drums and a wind section gave a tight full sound which filled the auditorium beautifully. Glen, on acoustic guitar sang songs of feeling and emoti
on in a gentle and beguiling fashion.
Switching to an electric guitar after a few numbers, the mood settled into a gentle and gutsier folk rock sound before the band left leaving Glen to sing one of the songs of the late John Martyn, completely unaccompanied.
armed with a pair of worn acoustic guitars he sung several quiet numbers, including one unamplified about a friend who was dying of cancer.
Later he was joined by members of the band, in various combinations and, at one point, invited a young Glasgow busker whom he had met earlier that day, to take the mike.
To end his two and a half hour set he invited the audience to the front of the stage for an intimate performance of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Passing Through’ to finish his musical epic.
What a night with which to finish Celtic Connections 2013. Sheer class!