Tickets for our FRETS at Celtic Connections concert at St. Luke’s sold out on the day of release. Standing tickets are available, however these will also sell quickly. Tickets available at https://www.celticconnections.com/event/1/frets-norman-blake-bernard-butler-james-grant-and-monica-queen
Norman Blake, Bernard Butler & James Grant
I established FRETS on 19.06.19, the impulse was generated after watching Neil Young In Concert, an old BBC 2 music program from 1971. I was taken back to the notion that people really enjoyed sitting listening to performers and songs, a two way street as performers equally enjoy performing to an attentive audience. It also struck me that you cannot download the live experience of being in the same room at the same time as a performer singing songs, you have to be there to feel the air.
With this in mind I spoke to the owner of the Strathaven Hotel, Hans Rissman, and discussed the idea of FRETS acoustic concerts taking place in the hotel, he agreed to give it a go. The Strathaven Hotel is an old rural hotel in South Lanarkshire and is the perfect environment for intimate live acoustic concerts. The seated audience is limited to 200 people, they have been a major element in the atmosphere created at the concerts.
The first FRETS concert was by Lloyd Cole, accompanied by Commotions’ guitarist Neil Clark, which took place on 4th October 2019. We’ve also booked acoustic performances by James Grant, Norman Blake & Euros Childs, Robert Forster, The Bluebells, Robyn Hitchcock, Kevin McDermott, Tim Burgess, David Scott & Duglas T. Stewart, Hipsway, Altered Images, JJ Gilmour, King Creosote, Roddy Woomble, among others. We pride ourselves in booking an eclectic array of performers, not all of whom are normally associated with acoustic concerts.
The ethos at FRETS is very much geared towards a seated and listening audience, with the onus on live performance and songwriting. The artists really appreciate performing to an attentive audience, magic is invariably in the air. Our dream concert would be Neil Young with an acoustic guitar and harmonica performing his On The Beach album, or Bill Callahan performing Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle.
It is with the utmost pleasure that we take FRETS out of the rural environs of the Strathaven Hotel for the first time to perform in Glasgow at Celtic Connections. We have curated a one-off event at St.Lukes on Sunday 30th January, which will involve three singer-songwriters performing acoustically on stage as a song-circle, whereby they will perform songs from their back catalogue and a few choice covers. The artists performing are;
NORMAN BLAKE – A centrifugal force in Teenage Fanclub for the past 30 years. Norman’s songs have resonated over this period. The group released their debut album A Catholic Education in 1990, but it was on signing to Creation Records and releasing Bandwagonesque in 1991 that the group really connected. The album was released on the Geffen label in the US and quickly became a favourite on college radio, which helped build a devoted audience for the group that still exists. Teenage Fanclub has released ten albums to date, Norman’s writing is still going strong, as evidenced in the latest Teenage Fanclub album Endless Arcade. Norman has collaborated with other writers in past, perhaps most prominently with Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci’s Euros Childs in an album project, Jonny.
BERNARD BUTLER – Bernard came to the fore as guitarist and co-writer with Suede on their era-defining albums Suede and Dog Man Star. After leaving the group he teamed up with David McAlmont and released the classic single Yes under the name McAlmont & Butler, along with an album collection The Sound of McAlmont & Butler, followed by two successful solo albums on Creation Records. Bernard has written, produced and/or played alongside many artists including Bert Jansch, Duffy, The Libertines, Texas, Pet Shop Boys, Tricky, Ben Watt, Sam Lee, Mark Eitzel, Robert Plant, Bryan Ferry and many others. His debut solo album People Move On is being reissued in Jan 2022.
JAMES GRANT – James first started making records and touring with Glasgow group Friends Again, during which time several singles and a critically acclaimed album, Trapped and Unwrapped, were released. On the demise of Friends Again, Grant formed a new group, Love & Money, as a platform for his songwriting, with James having developed into an impressive vocalist, guitarist and group leader. Love & Money released five albums in total, working with an array of legendary producers and musicians during this period (including Tom Dowd, Gary Katz, Steve Nye, among others). James launched his solo career in 1998 with his debut album, Sawdust In My Veins, and has released five solo albums thus far, the last being Strange Flowers in 2009.
MONICA QUEEN – Monica will be opening the evening in the company of producer Johnny Smillie, performing a set of songs from her forthcoming album Stop That Girl on the Creeping Bent label via Last Night From Glasgow. Monica came to prominence with Thrum who released an album on the Fire label and has since released albums under her own name and as part of Tenement & Temple, she has also appeared live and on recordings by Belle & Sebastian, James Grant, and Port Sulphur among others.
Douglas MacIntyre / FRETS