The Glad Cafe
Wednesday 22nd January 2020
January is not everyone’s favourite month of the year. The festive cheer has been put away along with the tree and the baubles for yet another year, and all that’s left are some unopened boxes of shortbread and that Lidl sherry that you bought just in case some long lost aunt turned up and you needed an emergency gift.
However, Glasgow decided some years ago that January was the perfect month to launch a cultural festival which has steadily grown, and that now attracts artists and visitors from all over the globe. Celtic Connections is a celebration of music which has celtic traditions at its roots.
So, on a chilly, wet Wednesday night on Glasgow’s Southside I, along with 100 or so other lucky souls, attended the aptly named Glad Café, to enjoy the wonderfully talented Americana singer/songwriter Danni Nicholls as she appeared in the city as a welcome addition to the festival's programme.
Opening for Ms Nicholls was David Latto who had travelled from Kirkcaldy to be with us. An affable, young man who has a warm, engaging quality to his voice and treated us to a set which one could describe as transatlantic. Scottish folksy meets Americana? Kind of. For me his strongest song was Blood & Whisky. So impressed was I, that I felt the need to purchase his latest vinyl EP, as this was one of the tracks included on “Show Me How To Feel”.
By the time Ms Nicholls took to the stage the place was full, with little or no standing room left at the back. As it was, I was glad that I had turned up early and secured my seat. I had great expectations for this gig as her latest offering “The Melted Morning”, is without doubt one of my favourite albums of 2019.
Although her opening song was called “Frozen”- a track from “The Melted Morning” - the room was anything but as her voice wrapped us all in a big warm hug. She just captivated from the get-go. Entertaining us with songs from all three of her albums to date.
Sharing stories of her writing, and of her journey to where she is today, she has a lovely, infectious personality. Telling of friendships formed in Nashville I can only imagine how this young woman from Bedford, England is loved and respected by fellow musicians and artistes as they congregate in the music capital of the world.
Before singing “Long Road Home” she explained that it was about returning to her hometown of Bedford having left to take over the world with her music and failing to set it on fire. I swear if she hadn’t said that it was about a place in England you could be forgiven for thinking it was about a young girl returning to any small town in America… except the lyrics make mention of the castle, so maybe not. She comes across as slightly vulnerable and unsure of her talent. She shouldn’t be. She possesses a voice that could melt any morning and plays her guitar (Meryl) with the love and respect that they clearly have for each other.
It was plain to see the audience were enjoying themselves and were only too happy to include in a bit of community singing for “Blue Train”. By the smile on her face this is something I am sure she appreciated and enjoyed.
She spoke passionately about recording her latest album at an idyllic, woodland recording studio just outside of Nashville and how she is proud of her collaborations - and quite rightfully I might add – before performing “Hear Your Voice”. An anthemic girl-power number. Cue some more community singing. I swear she also managed to get a few arms waving their iPhone torches in the air at one point, which was no mean feat in a small room.
This track is nominated for Song of the Year at the upcoming Americana Music Awards UK 2020. Indeed, she will be performing it along with her Nashville buddies from the woodland venue as she recreates the impromptu Gospel choir that she thought would never happen again. I would so love be there to hear that. And to see her lift the accolade of Song of the Year. As she deserves it.
If she doesn’t win this time round, I am sure it is only a matter of time before Danni Nicholls is picking up awards of all shapes and sizes. As an artist. As a writer. And as a performer.
If you do get the chance to see Danni Nicholls on her upcoming tour, I would urge you to see her. Do it before the rest of the world claims her.
Details can be found at www.danninicholls.com
All photos used were taken by article author David Brown