From the award-winning BBC TV series, the Transatlantic Sessions will be coming to Bristol for the first time. Fresh from the success of last year’s sold out tour are musical directors: fiddle maestro Aly Bain and dobro legend Jerry Douglas, with the ultimate house band who will accompany some very special guests. The Transatlantic Sessions continue to revisit shared roots and forge new common ground between today’s finest Celtic and Americana musicians with an all star line up that includes Rodney Crowell and Patty Griffin.
Perhaps the ultimate secret to the Transatlantic Sessions’ winning formula is that there is, ultimately, no formula, beyond the magic of world-class musicians, drawn from diverse but kindred fields either side of the Pond, inspiring one another afresh. For performers it is a rare chance to cut loose from their customary territory, in cahoots with an A-list mix of old and new friends, and stretch their creative wings. As a Telegraph reviewer observed at Glasgow’s Celtic Connections performances, “There is something pure about these concerts.”
Epitomising the calibre of line-up that the event now routinely attracts, Rodney Crowell makes his appearance among the US contingent, as his 40-year career continues on a renewed artistic roll. After sharing a Grammy with Emmylou Harris for their 2013 duets collection Old Yellow Moon, he reaped further plaudits the following year for his latest solo release, the gutsy yet eloquent Tarpaper Sky. Also appearing is fellow Grammy-winner Patty Griffin has long been acclaimed as one of contemporary Americana’s most distinctively poetic voices, most recently for her seventh album American Kid, a movingly meditative tribute to her late father.
Also performing in this show is Devon-born guitarist and singer John Smith, who will bring his stunning steel-strung guitar work and earthily compelling songs, while ex-Nickel Creek singer and fiddler Sara Watkins, now forging a successful solo career, and all-round US roots maestro Dirk Powell are both welcome visitors. Kathleen MacInnes brings sublime vocals from Scotland, alongside the ever-wonderful Tim O’Brien and guitar hero Russ Barenberg. Musical directors Aly Bain and Jerry Douglas helm the dream-team house band of Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Danny Thompson, John Doyle, James Mackintosh and Donald Shaw.