Celtic Connections 2023: Carty & McGoldrick, Ryan Young, Sarah Markey

Tuesday night, Jan 31, saw a feast of fully acoustic Celtic music at the RCH Strathclyde Suite. The excellent flute player Sarah Markey opened the evening with a solid set of Irish and Scottish tunes – very nice!

The headliners, John Carty and Mike McGoldrick, were as good as you’d expect; it’s always a pleasure to hear Celtic music played by such musicians, especially live.

But I wish to focus on the second artist to take the stage that night. The fiddler Ryan Young was spotted as a special talent by my wife a few years ago already. I have liked his so far only album but this performance really opened my eyes, and ears.

He really blew me away here: I have to say that, judging by what I witnessed, Ryan Young is not just a very good Scottish trad fiddler but a singular, formidable talent. How intense can fiddle playing get?

As the gig ended, I muttered something about Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck being guitar references to Ryan – the same power, the focus, the musicality. Also the way Ryan bends his notes really deep, like a top notch blues guitarist, and never hits a wrong note and is not afraid to give his instrument some punishment – his bow seemed to almost dig into the fiddle at times.

It’s not for show either; the way he is immersed in his playing with his whole being, even as he plays sitting down, is magnetic in its own way, and the audience definitely responded to that. One of the performances to remember in CC2023, I’m sure. 💎🎻⚡️

2 thoughts on “Celtic Connections 2023: Carty & McGoldrick, Ryan Young, Sarah Markey

  1. Spot on review. We were lucky enough to catch his full set at King’s Place London last November, after seeing him open for Jarlath Henderson at CC20 (accompanied by Jenn Butterworth).

    Liked by 1 person

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