JANUARY is often associated with the blues – but in Glasgow, the word has a different meaning.
The winter month sees the city come alive thanks to the 19th annual Celtic Connections festival, and with 300 events over 18 days, there’s no excuse to wallow in post-Christmas misery.
Whether you’re a fan of traditional music, folk, roots, world, indie, Americana, bluegrass or jazz – or you’re just in the mood for a night out – there’s bound to be something that appeals across its 20 venues.
One of the most anticipated events of the season is a tribute to the late, great Gerry Rafferty.
Bring It All Home, a two-night show at the Royal concert hall, will celebrate the singer-songwriter one year on from his death – and it features a who’s who in the Scottish music scene.
Performers range from long-term friend Rab Noakes to The Proclaimers, Roddy Hart, Emma Pollock and Barbara Dickson (to name but a few), all showcasing hits and lesser-known songs from Gerry’s 40-year career.
Of course, a festival of this size wouldn’t be the same without lesser-known bands appearing off the beaten track.
Proving that Celtic Connections isn’t all about folk music are two bands playing a joint slot at Easterhouse venue Platform, on January 20.
Cornershop, best known for their 1997 hit Brimful of Asha, present a unique blend of indie, dance and Punjabi sounds alongside Glasgow indie outfit The 1990s at the east end gig night – a show not to be missed for open-minded music fans.
Other highlights include Glasgow folk band Admiral Fallow (fresh from a slot on the BBC Hogmanay celebration) and of course, the winner of last year’s Danny Kyle open stage award, Yuptae.
The young southside band proved their worth in last year’s talent-spotting competition and are now supporting the Alan Kelly Gang at the Oran Mor on February 4.
And if you’re hoping to spot the stars of tomorrow, the same contest runs daily at the Royal concert hall from 5pm – best of all, it’s free to watch.
Celtic Connections may just be the perfect antidote to festive season withdrawal – and with such a line-up, there can be no better proof that Glasgow leads the way when it comes to Scottish music.
n The festival begins next Thursday (January 19) and runs until February 5. For full programme and ticket info, visit www.celticconnections.com.