Celtic Connections: Lucy Rose, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 19 Jan (4 stars)

Celtic Connections: Lucy Rose, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Sun 19 Jan

Warwickshire-born singer-songwriter presents an emotional and moving set of new tracks and fan favourites

'You're welcome for that miserable record that I produced last year,' a self-deprecating Lucy Rose says before singing the chilling 'Save Me From Your Kindness'. She's not wrong – No Words Left is an utterly miserable album, albeit a gorgeous one that is filled with some of the most honest songs of her career. According to Rose, it was written during one of the hardest times of her life, and it certainly shows.

The Warwickshire-born singer-songwriter's debut album, Like I Used To, was released by Columbia Records in 2012 when she was a mere 23 years old, and before that she regularly recorded and performed with Bombay Bicycle Club. For 2017's aptly-titled Something's Changing, she made the move to Ben Lovett's (of Mumford & Sons fame) independent label Communion Records. Her haunting, Joni Mitchell-esque voice is still the same, but her indie folk sound has matured over time.

Ambient dark-pop Birmingham band Chartreuse and Scottish singer-songwriter Rory Butler open up the show with appropriately melancholic sets before Lucy Rose takes the stage with a 7-piece band including strings. She plays the piano for the first four numbers, including a stirring rendition of 'All That Fear', after which she takes a seat at the front of the stage and switches to guitar. She generously throws in 'Middle of the Bed' from her debut album, noting that she rarely plays the song these days, but a set at Celtic Connections and near the end of her tour feels like a special occasion.

Of the new songs, 'The Confines of This World' particularly stands out with crushingly honest lyrics seemingly detailing a personal struggle with depression: ''Cause the confines of this world / Are what make me uncomfortable / But the world, it keeps on turning / Well, I guess I'll keep turning too.' Rose knows her audience and her banter is undeniably charming, joking that the still very sad 'Song After Song' is 'about as light-hearted as I get'.

Rose kindly lets the crowd know when she has a few songs left, pointing out that going to a concert is like getting on an airplane and you don't know how long the flight is going to be. She returns to the piano to close out the show with 'Moirai' and 'Solo(w)' before the audience quickly calls her back for an encore of fan favourites 'Conversation' and 'Shiver'. We happily would have stayed on this emotional flight all night long.

Reviewed at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, New Auditorium.

Celtic Connections

Glasgow's annual folk, roots, indie, world and traditional music festival celebrates the links between Celtic music and cultures across the globe, featuring ceilidhs, workshops, talks, dancing, art exhibitions, and free events. The 2019 festival hosted the likes of Judy Collins, Rhiannon Giddens, Sharon Shannon, Cherish…

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