Tonight a real sense of longing and satisfaction lingered in the air of Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket, as many waited in anticipation for an hour and a half set from Delta Blues musician, Keb’ Mo.’ With The Jellyman’s Daughter on support, a folk band from just up the road (Edinburgh), there was not the same rapport with the crowd. However, they did whet the appretite for a Celtic Connections gig, and well, that it was with a heavy portion of extra blues.
The Jellymans Daughter were on as I entered the venue, which was all kitted out with seats and tables. They had a raw folk sound with a troubadour delivery. Performing tracks such as Giving Up, from 2018’s Dead Reckoning, they also tested some new work out on us from an EP to be released in Edinburgh’s The Caves on 11th February 2020. On the side of quiet for a band that boasts a banjo, double bass, cello, vocals and guitar, there was something not quite right about having them on the big stage in the Old Fruitmarket just yet. With an enthusiasm and passion that will get them there, it was perhaps just a little too soon to have them on the big stage just yet. Despite lacking the vivacity and showmanship, their music kept their own, twee folk with a side of bluegrass.
Grammy-award-winning artist Keb’ Mo’ who everyone had been waiting for (apparently the last time he performed in Scotland was in the late 90s) came on stage in true gentlemen suave. He approached the stage with a full understanding of the anticipation of this gig and proceeded to play some uplifting Delta blues. Tracks like Government Cheese did not appear to be what the crowd were looking for although it had an interesting response. A sold out gig, this place was dying to catch a bit of Keb’ Mo’ and it was those moments where he stripped down to himself and a guitar that I understood why. Charismatic and classy, Keb’ sang lyrics such as “I’ve got a suitcase I take me wherever I go, just a big old bag of trouble,” and it was whilst times like these that you could look across the crowd and witness that they too have a deep-rooted love for the Delta blues. The standing ovation at the end said it all. The charisma, the pronounced impact of his music, the talent, the songwriting, these were all why this sense of longing and anticipation for this Blues’ legend.