THE 2019 edition of Celtic Connections starts on Thursday and once again it offers an intriguing clash of musical genres – in its own words, trad, folk, roots, indie and Americana.

Without a doubt, everyone will have his or her must-see list of concerts over the 18 days of festivities. Here's ours.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Saturday, January 19, 2pm and 5.30pm

IT'S been nearly seven years since Pixar/Disney scored a major box-office hit ($540m worldwide) with the medieval Scotland-set Brave. The stirring score, by leading Scots composer Patrick Doyle, is here re-created with the aid of musicians who graced the original soundtrack, as well as young singers and traditional instrumentalists, all backed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra as the Oscar-winning film is screened live. (On Jan 24, at the City Halls, there's a celebration of Doyle's film scores, plus two new pieces by him).


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Sunday, January 20, 7.30pm

LOTS of critics gave a cool reception to the songs on the Beatles' Abbey Road upon its 1969 release, but times and opinions change, and the album is now seen as a classic, a reminder of the group's peerless musical gifts. The latest Roaming Roots revue, featuring Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire as house band, highlights the songs, including George Harrison's Something and Here Comes the Sun, with an array of special guests including KT Tunstall, The Staves, and the duo You Tell Me.


Old Fruitmarket

Wednesday, January 23, 8pm

"THERE were girl group hits before the Ronettes, but Ronnie Spector was the first woman in rock to provoke anything like the hysteria that Elvis had caused, which was soon to engulf the Beatles.” So runs an assessment in 2003 by a Canadian critic, quoted on Spector's website. Their distinctive, era-defining hits included Walking in the Rain, Do I Love You, Baby I Love You, I Can Hear Music, and the joyous Be My Baby. This is a rare chance to see them in concert.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Thursday, January 24

THE sinking of the Admiralty yacht Iolaire, early on New Year’s Day 1919, with the loss of 201 lives, had a traumatic and lasting impact on Lewis. This event, commissioned by An Lanntair and 14-18 NOW, sees Fowlis and fiddler Chisholm have creating a "deeply reflective multimedia commemoration, honouring both those who died and survived that night. Drawing on historical records, original letters, personal testimonies and newspaper archives, it combines original music and song with poetry, spoken word and visual imagery, touching on issues from collective trauma to survivor guilt." Other events marking the loss of the Iolaire are The Tragedy of the Iolaire: Malcolm Macdonald and Alyth McCormack, (Waterstones, January 22, 5.30pm) and Sàl/Saltwater: Iain Morrison with Dalziel + Scullion (Mitchell Theatre, same day, 8pm).


City Halls

Friday, January 25, 7.30pm

SERMANNI, the self-described 'Folk-Noir Balladeer', whose 2015 album, Tied to the Moon, was described in these very pages as "a flawless follow-up to what was an excellent debut", teams up with Jarlath Henderson, whose own album in 2016, Hearts Broken, Heads Turned, earned much justified praise, and who, in 2003, was the youngest-ever winner of the BBC Young Folk Award. They are two of Scottish music's most intriguing contemporary artists, and will be supported at the concert by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and special guests.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Sunday, January 27

BACK in November 2008 the Daily Telegraph put John Martyn's 1980 album, Grace & Danger, in a select group of "painful, intense, atmospheric" studio albums, so "emotionally demanding to make that [they] could rarely, if ever, be recreated in live performance." Martyn had just performed the album a "long journey into misery... divorce... lawsuit..." at a gig in London. He died in January 2009, but his music lives on. This concert has a stellar list of musicians, including Paul Weller, Eddi reader, Ross (Blue Rose Code) Wilson and Eric Bibb, and Martyn's friend and frequent collaborator, the legendary double-bass player Danny Thompson, playing the songs from this landmark album.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Wednesday, January 30, 7.30pm,

WELCOME return to Glasgow of Wainwright, a gifted, acerbic and candid singer-songwriter. He describes his absorbing new Netflix special, Surviving Twin, as "a posthumous collaboration, in which I'm gonna combine and connect some of my songs with the writing of my late father, the esteemed Life magazine columnist Loudon Wainwright junior," with whom he had a complicated relationship. The show sees him exploring, with his customary insight and subtlety, issues as diverse as birth, loss, parenthood and mortality. He's supported here by the Irish singer-songwriter, Karan Casey.


King's Theatre

Friday, February 1, 7.30pm

THOSE who saw Grant's appearance at Celtic Connections in 2016 will remember a hugely enjoyable concert in which he and his band played some of his greatest songs, among them GMF, possibly his finest hour, and which ended with Grant giving an elated thumbs-up to the audience as it rose as one to applaud him. He's now back with a new album, the well-received Love Is Strange. With remarkable frankness Grant has mined his own life, including his sexuality, for his albums; he has said of the new album that it is “more of an amalgamation of who I am” and that it captured “the absurdity and beauty of life”.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Monday, January 28, 7.30pm

FOLK revivalist Giddens's most recent album, Freedom Highway, interspersed, to powerful effect, stories based on the slave trade with more recent pieces reflecting on the long and bloody struggle for civil rights in America. "A vital album for an anxious era," said Mojo magazine. Giddens, a co-founder of the Grammy Award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, has performed for President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama; two years ago, she won the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo.


Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Tuesday, January 29, 7.30pm

NASH first made his name with The Hollies before graduating to Crosby, Stills and Nash (a group sometimes augmented by Neil Young, for CSN&Y). A two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, he recently released Over the Years, a comprehensive collection of his best-known songs (Marrakesh Express, Our House, Teach Your Children, Wind on the Water) as well as unreleased demos and mixes. This show will look back at his storied career and its innumerable highlights, among them Woodstock.