ABC1, Glasgow, January 16 * * * *

Last night’s torchlight parade from George Square to the steps of the Concert Hall marked the start of the sixteenth Celtic Connections. Tonight however the eighteen-day event really kicked off with Glasgow playing host to numerous gigs across the city. Undoubtedly the pick of the bunch was the appearance by Drever McCusker Woomble.
The trio, accompanied in part by Heidi Talbot, guitarist Boo Hewerdine and Ewen Vernal on double bass, played a crowd-pleasing selection of songs from both their individual repertoires and last year’s collaborative effort Before The Ruin.
After gentle opener Silver and Gold, the packed ABC1 crowd were introduced to Irish singer Talbot. It didn’t take long for the striking singer to make her presence felt, her distinctive vocal providing the perfect foil to Roddy Woomble’s restrained delivery and giving new single Into The Blue real depth.
The highlight of their eleven-song set came courtesy of All Along The Way, John McCusker’s wistful violin coupled with Woomble’s more emotive vocals helping elevate the song.
A couple of fairly non-descript folk numbers could have derailed proceedings somewhat but ultimately they did little to dampen the spirits of what was a hugely receptive and appreciative crowd.