Dispatch - Roddy Woomble

The Dispatch

Roddy Woomble heads east for some media probing but keeps his modesty intact.

Celtic Connections passed by in all its hazy, folky glory. I had a great time during the festival, and managed to see a few concerts I’d been looking forward to: John Martyn performing Solid Air, and Dick Gaughan performing his 1981 folk masterpiece Handful of Earth. It seems to be some sort of trend these days, to get artists to perform their most loved/respected /popular albums in their entirety. It’s a novelty, certainly, and I enjoyed both concerts a lot, but I can’t help feeling that for the artist it must feel like everything they’ve done since has been rubbish. Or that they’re being judged solely against those particular albums, especially galling considering that Martyn and Gaughan have been finding new ways to describe themselves, musically, in the decades since.

Anyway, the shows were great, and the whole festival had its usual relaxed atmosphere. My one abiding moment though has to be the look on certain faces as Aereogramme worked their way into a cover of Slayer’s ‘God Hates Us All’, bringing the Ballads of the Book launch night to as unexpected a close as I think Celtic Connections has ever had.

Right now I’m in Germany, talking to a peculiar mixture of bespectacled journalists about the upcoming Idlewild album, in-between taking photographs of Berlin’s amazing buildings, drinking steins of excellent-tasting beer, and being told off for going into the hotel sauna with my trunks on. I’m all for Europe’s free attitude toward nudity, but it doesn’t make it feel any less weird, sitting in a small wooden room sweating out toxins surrounded by a whole load of naked grannies and granddads. Scotland is a part of Europe after all, but we seem to have bypassed (or ignored) the liberal discarding of clothes when poolside. I think Calvinism has a lot to answer for. Or maybe it’s all down to the beer. Thoughts to ponder as I board the train to Cologne.

Tead the review of Idlewild’s new album, Make Another World.

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