Day 3 Laid back start to the day and went through to Edinburgh to put my very dirty camera in for a clean. All went smoothly apart from the fact that I had to leave the camera as it was a fairly big job. Going through Linlithgow I dozed off and woke up coming into Queen Street, how time flies. Going back though tomorrow. Great not having a vehicle down, with no parking fines, no stressful city driving, lots of walking and public transport. Then it was off to sort out my rover ticket and discounts. The Celtic Connections box office are very helpful and being pleasant and the good humour helps every one.
Evening saw us heading out to the City Halls to see The Wainwright Sisters. They were preceded by Ethan Johns who, although it seemed he had a newish band, played a fine set. I did not know much about him but was surprised that I knew one of his songs. Becoming a music nerd. The Wainwrights were simply brilliant, funny, homely and, of course, quirky and very musical. A full set of fine songs I have never heard before based largely based on lullabies and fairly dark as well. Apart from El Condor Pasa (If I could). Their dresses bought by brother Rufus were a theme throughout the evening, bit of a bad uniform theme. This has turned out to be the best Festival yet and that does not include all the music at the Festival Club, the many, many concerts we have not seen. The best way to deal with this Festival is to completely ignore what you can’t see and not wonder if you are missing out on anything. As the camera was in Edinburgh this is the only , but poor photo of the Wainwrights taken on iPad.
Day 4 just back from Hillhead and another fine,fine night of music. Tuesday was a quiet night for music and although Rachel Sermani was very tempting the price put me off. We applied for Mike Harding tickets for his Radio 2 but did not get any and I then went for BBC ALBA’s show at the Hillhead Book Club. Turns out it was the right choice. No real idea what to expect and it was with a fair amount of patience we settled down to lots of lights, cameras and sound guys organising a night of music. We thought we ended up with a duff seat but that mattered little and we saw as much as we wanted. Gentle start with a bit of Gaelic and what reminded me a little of Na h-Oganaich, a band from the 80s.
Ewen Macpherson, nice chat earlier as he had spotted us coming in, was playing with a mixture of musicians and as Gillie Brighe. Grand start with lots of interruptions and links and interviews. Then it was The Edith Piaf Show, stunning set and yes we got Regret Rein. She was brilliant show girl and a great back up band.
Then it was the Wainwrights again and they were as good as last night, (If I Could) heard again was stunning. They were on the other more distant stage, slightly unseen but sounding great. We then finished up with James Grant. He was just on the verge of losing his tolerance when he was asked to do the interview before his set just as he was ready to start. There were lots of links and interviews that tried the patience of the artists and some went with the flow slightly better than others He held it together with lots of humour in the end and his music was cracking.
Reminded me a little of Jackie Levin although a bit more upbeat. Finding out so much about these cracking musicians. James Grant passed me by but a wee search and he is one of those guys that you realise you do know, that is, as singer with Love and Money.
So another full on day completed which started in Edinburgh, picking up the camera, a splurge on CDs and lunch at the Royal Concert Hall. Recovery afternoon before the night out at Hillhead.
Day5 a film followed by a meeting of friends at the Cafe Gandolfi. Then round the corner to The Old Fruit Market to see and listen to Jarlath Henderson
Had a couple of ciders and a wonderful evening. The melancholy Jarlath accompanied by familiar faces such as Innes Watson,
played a fine set interspersed with pipes, guitars and fiddles. Pretty dam good for a support act but we are getting used to this. Not really sure I have the right words to describe Rhiannon’s show. Just immense apart from the dry ice. Anyone who sings Patsy Kline and gaelic puirt a beuil in the same set along with a rocking banjo and rapid southern fiddle sits at the top table.
Huge amount of emotion in the music and one of those shows that are timeless and you do not want it to end. And then the last walk along Argyll street for the year after some goodbyes. The one down side to all the enjoyment and music was walking past the several homeless people sitting on the pavements, the knowledge of how fortunate you are to be going to these events, the warmth, camaraderie, food and drink at our fingertips and then you pass these poor unfortunates and you question the society you live in. Every one will have a story of some disruption in their lives as being there does not appear to be one of choice.
Not too early a start but after pre ordering and picking up tickets made it onto the Aberdeen train for Inverness. Lots of time for snoozing, only just waking up for the change over at Perth. Ending up in Dundee would not have helped the signing off of the Pier books. Duly done and then onto the Kyle line before an evening at the Inn. How easily you slip back into the way of ones world, paper work, work at the Inn and tomorrow fishing politics with a little bit of Hydro thrown in, up to 90kw now.
Going back to the Festival I think this picture sums up it all for me, the joy of the artists making superb music to appreciative audiences.