From Thu 13  – Sun 30 Jan @ Various Glasgow venues
Now that festive season has left us bloated & hungover, what can one do but start drinking again…whilst enjoying the soundtrack of some of the finest folk, world & country talent.
With around 300 varied events housed in 14 of Glasgow’s finest venues, all within staggering distance of each other, where does one start the totter for this year’s festival? Don’t worry guys, that’s where The Wee Review’s Connections experience will give you a hearty shove in the right direction.
Leith’s, if not the UKs’, finest folk protest voice Dick Gaughan will be playing the opening night, Friday the 14th, at the Òran Mór. Playing with friends, this should be a who’s who of some of the folks scene old school troubadours.
The next day stalwarts of all that is alt country meets gospel tinged punk – Giant Sand will be bring over two dozen albums of desert blues to The ABC on Saturday the 15th. With head honcho Howe Gelb hopefully bringing a bit of the Arizona sun to warm things up.
Providing the new English folk revolution north of the border are Spiers & Boden. Featuring founding member of Bellowhead, offering rapturous noise to the City Halls on Sunday the 16th. The duo are much beloved by the BBC, but don’t hold that against them.

On the same night The Burns Unit will be playing at the Old Fruitmarket, sporting indie & folk alumni Emma Pollock, Karine Polwart and King Creostote amongst others. A rabble rousing night would be difficult not to guarantee. Worth getting in early to catch Edinburgh’s Broken Records, will break the ice with their folk-rock-racket before they embark on stratospheric UK and US tour schedule.

After his latest spiritually led album described as a “sick joke” by the Vice President of his own record label, Tom Jones will be performing his refreshingly earnest ‘Praise & Blame’ in full at the Royal Concert Hall on Monday the 17th. With Glasgow’s Gospel Truth Choir in tow, this will undoubtedly be a night of sin & redemption for a truly exclusive headline date.

Dundonian song-smith Michael Marra will be playing the Strathclyde Suite at the Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday the 18th. With his wry humour, songs about Bob Dylan coming to Embra and what if Frida Kahlo came to the Tayside bar in Dundee. Bring the hip flask!

With their critically entused new album ‘Lisbon’, The Walkmen will be playing the Òran Mór on Wednesday the 19th. Immaculate tales of disappointment and woe should prove to be the theme of the night on a potentially dreary January evening.
Righteous babe Ani Difranco will be performing at the ABC on Thursday the 20th, drawing together the usual singer songwriter influences mashing punk and big band, she is sure to cause a folk ruckus, in an enviably good way.
A staple of the Celtic Connections and one of the respected & appreciated Scottish folk bands, Malinky will be playing the Strathclyde Suite at the Royal Concert Hall on Friday the 21st. From reels to murder ballads this will be an eclectic evening of tuneage.

One of the most respected country acts of the moment, Crooked Still will be playing the ABC on Saturday the 22nd. This will be presenting their good time kicks to a keen audience, akin to a cheerful Whiskeytown. Beforehand, Scottish supergroup Lau will be holding court, since the release of their second album ‘Arc Light’ featuring the cover of the Beatles ‘Dear Prudence’ they have been getting a lot of attention. On the same night bass legend & former PIL mainstay Jah Wobble & the Nippon Dub Ensemble will be bring a mix of Western & Eastern musical styles for a packed Saturday at the Arches. With rave reviews in the music press with regards to the live shows, it will be interesting if nothing else.

Sunday the 23rd enjoys the company of The Blind Boys of Alabama performing their Southern soaked gospel tunes at the Royal Concert Hall. In support, Bettye Lavette, will be performing. Fresh from her work with the Drive By Truckers on her ‘Scene of the Crime’ album and with new album ‘interpretations: The British Rock Songbook’. There is no better place to be this night!
A familiar face on the indie rock scene, Roddy Woomble, fresh from the 10th anniversary tour for Idlewild’s ‘100 Broken Windows’, will be delighting an eager crowd with his folk compositions. Playing at St Andrews in the Square on Saturday the 29th, considering his album is filled with guest appearances from some well known folkers you never know who might turn up…
On the last day of the festival Fran Healy – from a little band called Travis – will be playing the Old Fruitmarket on Sunday the 30th. His gothic folk songs are sure to be order of the day after such an exhausting couple of weeks of gigs & drink. Worth turning up early to catch support from Joel Plaskett, the Canadian folk rocker to get you dancing before the Celtic come down.

For these tickets, and more, check Celtic Connections 2011 website.