Justin Currie with The Poems
ABC, Glasgow, Sat 20 Jan
Every year Celtic Connections’ programme throws up nuggets of thoroughly insightful booking, and this gig - showcasing green pastures new for a couple of Scottish artists whose musical careers seemed consigned to yesteryear - must rank among 2007’s best.
Justin Currie, former frontman and songwriter of radio-friendly 90s rockers Del Amitri is no stranger to the festival, of course, having previously appeared as part of With Strings Attached, alongside Eddi Reader, Colin MacIntyre and Blazin’ Fiddles. This year, Currie is in solo guise, picking up to some extent where Del Amitri left off on disbanding in 2002 with a cracking collection of sweeping, soulful tunes from his as yet unreleased debut LP Rebound, alongside judiciously selected hits from his back catalogue (ie not 1998 Scotland World Cup ‘anthem’ ‘Don’t Come Home to Soon’).
Another face in attendance will be that of Robert Hodgens, singer for 80s jangle pop near things The Bluebells, now putting his pen, vocal chords and guitar to work with rising indie Americana collective The Poems. A second wind certainly looks to be gathering behind his fortunes: featuring a consummately skilled clutch of musicians, the band’s one album to date, Young America, has racked up glowing press and spawned the track ‘Ballad of a Broken Heart’ which was prominently featured on hit US drama Grey’s Anatomy. A tune not to be confused with The Bluebells’ defining hit Young at Heart of course - shouts for which will be inevitable. And perhaps fitting.