#17 | Carla J Easton & Mark McGowan – Celtic Connections 2019

Carla Mark

We first had the opportunity to listen to Glaswegian artist Mark McGowan via his Speakeasy EP after the lovely folk at Olive Grove Records shared it around back in December. We enjoyed that, and we certainly loved him live in the flesh.

The “dramatic as f***” Mark bolstered such a superb, distinct voice, and he was a phenomenal guitarist with this diverse, multi-tasking style we hadn’t seen the likes of before, plus an excellent lyricist too to top off. He had us and the audience totally drawn in, and we wouldn’t dare avert our eyes or ears.

A charming bloke with stand-out talents that could do with a little more attention, in our humble opinion.

Finally, we were getting to see one of our favourite Scottish artists on stage – Carla J Easton – who had made an indescribable impact on us with Impossible Stuff, our pick for 2018 record of the year, and lo and behold, she was unsurprisingly amazing.

Commencing with Dreamers On The Run, she would go on to play a range of other high quality favourites such as Milk & Honey, Girl From Before, Wanting What I Can’t Have and the underrated Vagabond; the majority sporting these catchy, staggering melodies that were fiercely infectious and captured the sizable scale of the album from which they originated from.

Carla’s vocals as always were awe-inspiring, not to mention that she was a stunning pianist and superb writer, and all three qualities were put on full display, showcasing just why she is one of the country’s purest musicians. Accompanying Carla was her cracking band – Gus, Calum, Ed and the fabulously dressed Paul – all of whom were excellent and truly helped to bring the songs to glorious life.

When we first listened to Impossible Stuff, it sparked something deep within us that had us almost seeping happy tears, and without any shame, we have to admit that it was nearly a repeat here. The experience was overwhelming, and we aren’t sugar-coating it in any way, it is the absolute truth.

Capping off with the title track of her acclaimed record, she and her troupe had put on a dazzling spectacle that had the full attention of the crowd and left us with the fattest of smiles on our face from beginning to end. Not that it was needed, but this was a reminder that Carluke’s resident pop sweetheart is a one-of-a-kind asset who we can’t appreciate enough.


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