Gig review: Cerys By Candlelight - Oran Mor, Glasgow

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FORMER Catatonia frontwoman-turned BBC 6 Music presenter Cerys Matthews is a self-confessed collector of songs, but she did not have to look far in pulling together material for her family-friendly Christmas album, Baby, It’s Cold Outside, which informed the selection at this cosy concert.

Cerys By Candlelight

Oran Mor, Glasgow

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However, she began her very charming offensive with a lovely, simple version of I Know Where I’m Going, the first song she learned to play on guitar, followed by similarly non-Christmassy traditional songs from Ireland and Wales, some “gory stories” from Scotland and a Woody Guthrie sing-song, with banjo and harmonica.

As well as showcasing her lithe instrumental skills, the lighter, sweeter tones of her distinctive voice and her pantomime version of a Scottish accent on a brief and daft recitation of Robert Burns’ Address To The Toothache, Matthews proved an engaging hostess who had no trouble persuading her audience to join in on standards such as Blueberry Hill and Crazy.

This led to an enthusiastic run on lyric sheets during the interval in readiness for the festive singalong, which included a bluegrass Jingle Bells and an accidental star turn by Andy from the audience, who failed to hit the off beat in a riotous Go Tell It On The Mountain but redeemed himself with adequate fire engine sound effects during an extract from A Child’s Christmas In Wales.

Matthews then rounded off this good-natured carol concert with her own carousing song Chardonnay and a rendition of Ring Of Fire. Because nothing says Christmas more than songs about booze and falling for a married man.