Gary Innes plus Vishtèn at Drygate Brewery, Glasgow on Thursday 2 February 2017.
Celtic Connections debutants Vishtèn made a huge impression on this Glasgow audience. Hailing from the east coast of Canada, this three piece Acadian band were absolutely outstanding with their traditional music which was played at a very high tempo.
Multi instrumentalists Emmanuelle and Pastelle Le Blanc come from the Evangeline region of Prince Edward Island which has a thriving Francophone Acadian, with a strong tradition of song and instrumental music.
The third member of the trio, Pascal Miousse, is from neighbouring Magdalen Island which is predominantly Francophone.
Vishtèn have been together for 10 years during which time they have honed their interpretation of Acadian music and musicality to a very high standard. Between them they play an array of traditional instruments and also do foot percussion whilst playing their instruments making a wonderfully entertaining show. Having toured extensively since their inception and winning many awards they were still a relatively unknown entity to this Celtic Connections audience, however, they were raving about them by the end of their incredibly entertaining set.
Twelve years on, and Gary has brought out his much anticipated second album titled Era, which he launched on this evening.
Explaining the title name, he states that he is in a new era in his life and thought it a very apt name. Formerly a well known shinty player and part time fireman in his native Spean Bridge, he has put all that behind him now and is concentrating on his forthcoming marriage, a new radio career hosting the iconic Take The Floor programme on BBC Radio Scotland, as well as writing and performing music.
Launching Era which is an entirely self penned album, Gary Innes was joined on stage for this magical night by many friends and musicians who also feature on the album.
Backing band included fellow Mànran member Ewen Henderson on fiddle and bagpipes; Calum Stewart on Uilleann pipes; Steve Byrnes on drums; Duncan Lyall on bass, Hamish Napier on piano and co-producer of the album, Ali Hutton on guitars.
Already well known for his writing of traditional tunes, Gary Innes has also now added songwriting to his repertoire with three songs on the album, all telling their own stories personal to him. Invited onto stage were the three different singers performing on the album. Robert Robertson sang the recently released single The Caman Man, Siobhan Miller with Zara and Alec Dalglish with Grace and Pride.
From the opening tune of the night, Yarra Wine Valley to the closing one of Our Heroes, this was a stunning night of music.
With each tune being written by Gary Innes, it made the evening more personal with stories how each tune came about. Although there has been a twelve year gap between solo albums, it was certainly worth the wait. Already this album has to be a fore runner for album of the year.