Celtic Connections review: Cory Chisel/Adam Holmes

Taking this support slot as an opportunity to launch his debut solo album, singer-songwriter Adam Holmes clearly impressed the headline act this evening, with Cory Chisel delivering generous words for the Scots youngster.
Cory Chisel, left, delivere generous words for Adam HolmesCory Chisel, left, delivere generous words for Adam Holmes
Cory Chisel, left, delivere generous words for Adam Holmes

Cory Chisel/Adam Holmes - Oran Mor, Glasgow

* * * *

Opening with Monday Morning, Holmes and his band delivered a set shot through with melancholy but beauty too, his lilting bass vocal and blend of Scottish tradition and Americana frequently proving entrancing.

The loved-up Common Ground sounded like a man content with the world, but this was a rarity in a performance riven with gentle but palpable angst. Jokingly introducing the despairing Oh My God as “the happiest song we’ve got”, he broke into laughter in the opening lines, though one shouldn’t overlook the spiritual streak inherent in numbers like Aviemore and Where The River Meets The Hill, the rousing Fire In The Sun or the feelgood drinker’s call of his finale, Mother Oak.

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Hailing from Tennessee, Chisel has plenty of gospel and soul in his itinerant folk-rock too, with a fine rendition of Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come the pick among covers from the likes of Gram Parsons and Tom Waits.

Accompanied by singer Adriel Denae, closely and movingly on the heartfelt harmonies of In The Deep End, there were blues, country and protest song in his repertoire as well. That said, nothing proved as popular as the hazy rebirth of Born Again, inspiring several couples to get up and dance.