The show must go on

MY FIRST outing to this year's Celtic Connections fell through when a trio from Texas called off after one of the Quebe Sisters contracted pneumonia.

Not entirely conducive to three-part harmonies, obviously, and most obviously a decision on sound medical advice which, nevertheless robbed music lovers of a long-awaited Glasgow close-harmony debut.

Another disappointment for many will be the news that Kate Rusby will no longer be appearing (work pressures are cited) in the Steele The Show tribute to Davy Steele.

But with Karine Polwart, Dick Gaughan (above left) and many more, the show will go ahead tomorrow night at the City Halls.

Meanwhile, the world's greatest winter musical festival is now well and truly underway and as one door closes so another opens as the latest round of comprehensive musical chairs plays out across the city.

The Boston-based stringband Joy Kills Sorrow has now been added to the bill for the first-ever European broadcast of the hugely-influential Mountain Stage radio show.

Legendary American gospel singer Mavis Staples and Perthshire singer-songwriter Dougie MacLean (above) — whose anthemic Caledonia is among first minister Alex Salmond's Desert Island Discs to be repeated on BBC Radio Four at 9am tomorrow — will also perform in this very special event at Glasgow's royal concert hall tomorrow night.

Ahead of the weekend the musical choices remain stunning. Tonight in the concert hall's main auditorium, there's Basque accordionist Kepa Junkera.

He plays a trikitixa, fronts a full band and will introduce several special guests – among them the young female choir Leioa Kantika Korala, which also guests on his latest recording Beti Bizi.

Another returning visitor to the festival, like the genre-busting curly-haired Kepa, is dobro deity Jerry Douglas. It is already standing room only at the 02 ABC1 for Sunday's show with JD which also features Omar Hakim, Viktor Krauss and the wondrously-named Scoville Units. Hot stuff indeed.

Tuesday next brings back singer-songwriter and ace guitarist Richard Thompson (to the main auditorium of the concert hall) with his Dream Attic tour and an electrifying band including multi-instrumentaqlist Pete Zorn and fiddler-mandolinist Joel Zifkin.

And that should be quite exciting enough for one week of concentrated concert going.