Roddy Hart is one of Scotland's finest music talents, excelling as a solo artist, band member, composer, music broadcaster and curator! Ahead of the 30th edition of Celtic Connections, Roddy answers our questions on why Glasgow is a top city for music lovers.
Credit: Gaelle Beri
1. Tell us why Celtic Connections is the best music festival in the world?
It’s a vibrant and exciting festival - with years of history behind it - which now has a real eclecticism and diversity at the heart of it. It brings some much-needed light to each dark and cold January, and features some of the best musicianship the world has to offer. Check out this year's amazing line-up at celticconnections.com.
2. What makes going to a gig in Glasgow so special?
The atmosphere! When an artist or band is in sync with a Glasgow audience, there’s nothing like it. Great performances deserve a great audience, and when both happen to come together at the same time on the same day in Glasgow, the whole place is lifted to a higher level.
3. Tell us about a music moment that sums up your experience of the city?
I saw Pixies play at the Kelvingrove Bandstand last summer with my girlfriend. After the last few years of barely any live music happening because of the pandemic, it felt like a beautiful communal moment which celebrated music in all its raw glory. Perfect setting, perfect company, perfect band. Magical.
4. Why do so many talented musicians come out of Glasgow?
There is something in the theory that the inclement weather can inspire creativity! Being forced to stay inside can bring some unexpected benefits, such as learning an instrument, finding your voice, and writing a song or two. Those songs usually end up being the perfect mix of grounded realism and hopeful dreaming. See: Paul Buchanan, Scott Hutchison and Karine Polwart.
5. What's your favourite Glasgow venue?
Credit: Gaelle Beri
It’s undoubtedly cooler to say the Barrowland Ballroom (which I love), but the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall (GRCH) in the heart of the city has been the source of many magical nights for me. From a formative experience seeing Jackson Browne solo acoustic with my dad at the age of 16, through to more unexpected venue bookings such as Mogwai (amazing, obviously), the sound and the feeling in the room on a sold-out night is exceptional. As a younger musician I was very lucky to play it as support to Kris Kristofferson a number of times, which was an experience I’ll forever treasure, and I’m delighted to be back for our "Roaming Roots Revue” 10th anniversary show for Celtic Connections this year.
6. When travelling the world, how do you describe Glasgow and the city's music scene?
Full of community, heart and spirit!
7. What would you recommend to first-time visitors to the city?
Have some cracking food at Celentanos, Crabshakk, or Lobo. Go to Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and check out the latest exhibition (most recently, the John Byrne retrospective was inspiring). Grab a cocktail at The Gate or The Absent Ear. See who’s playing at The Barrowlands, King Tuts or GRCH. Then wake up and do it all again.