Looking back to two years ago i have a vivid memory for signing up to perform at my good friend, Roddy Hart’s Roaming Roots show at Celtic Connections. The trouble is, there really was no Celtic Connections, as the pandemic was in full swing and everything had been put ‘on line.’ I totally understood why this had to happen, but reflecting on it later with some of the pals, like Roddy and others, who played and sung with me that night, we all remembered just how weird it all was.
What I do recall is our deep desire to make some kind of music, any kind of music together. We’d been locked up/in/out (choose your preposition) for months. Music – which is about so many things – is certainly about common experience. Someone needs to sing or play and someone else needs to listen; that is the deal. For these long winter months of the pandemic there had been none of that and all of us were desperate to do something, anything together if we could. I signed up immediately when Roddy mentioned the possibility of performing. imagine all of our disappointment when we quickly realised we had to stand six feet apart and there would be no backstage area where we could chat or pass the time of day. So acute were the regulations that I missed friends coming in and out of the Concert Hall as I didn’t recognise their faces behind the masks.
Contrast that to this week when Celtic Connections kicks off in Glasgow and next week in Hackney Empire when we celebrate UK Americana Fest. This Thursday the annual CC fest starts a full run for the first time in three years and there is a host of Americana acts coming into Glasgow to perform. Look out for gigs by Lucinda Williams, Madison Violet, Bonny Light Horseman, Nickel Creek, Aoife O’Donovan, Amythyst Kiah, and Beth Nielson Chapman. It’s an exciting line up and, yes, you can also catch Roddy Hart’s full Roaming Roots show too, if you’re lucky enough to have bought a ticket.
I’m hoping to make it out to see a few shows myself and we’ll have some great CC guest dropping in over the next few weeks. You can hear some of the Americana acts from CC on this week’s Another Country. You will also be able to hear the voice of our very own Nashville Correspondent, Bill DeMain, who will be bringing us the latest news from America’s Music City.
Listen out too for more from Madison Cunningham and Adeem The Artist, both of whom we introduced last week. There will be new records from Morgan Wade, Doug Paisley, Lily Rose and HC McEntire. As ever we’re on BBC Radio Scotland this Tuesday evening from five past eight and any time you choose on BBC Sounds. Do join me if you can.