Having interviewed Rod on the afternoon of the concert at the Celtic Music Radio studio, I got a first hand glimpse of his songwriting ability, which mainly paints a picture of his life, but when I saw his performance on stage, he was, of course much more animated and amusing.
His songs are generally down beat and have a thoughtful and serious theme , but there were a few more upbeat and one which got very good response was “Uncle John”. His pre-song description of his uncle had me laughing out loud, because I could just imagine it ! He apparently used to come to Rod’s concerts and sit right at the front and try to carry on a conversation with him while he was trying to introduce some meaningful ballad. “Have you got your snow tyres on the car yet “ etc. which got a great laugh, especially from me.
His humour was quietly endearing and got a nice response.
I particularly liked his self penned song “Elbow Grease” which he wrote because he thought it was time to write it, as he was, in his own words “ a middle-aged, skinny-assed white guy”
He sang a very personal song about a relationship he’d had with a girl called “Alicia” and said that his producer kept asking if she had heard it at each stage of the production and he kept saying “not yet” so we were left wondering. His thought provoking song ”Soldiers Don’t Come Home” got a really long appreciative applause.
The audience obviously really took to Rod’s songs and his performing style and judging by the long queue at his CD table at the interval, they wanted to hear more.
That was Rod’s first appearance at Celtic Connections and I don’t think it will be his last.