It's Celtic Connections time again here in Glasgow. A fortnight of reviewer overload results from that and the first strike in the battle to write sensible words about fiddles was fought tonight at the Classic Grand with Nell Bryden and Cory Chisel. Fortunately, there were no fiddles.
Climbing the many stairs to very top of the Classic Grand was its own reward, of course, as was the expensive Guinness in a plastic glass but enough of that for there were distractions to be found on stage. The first of those was Cory Chisel. With the harmonious assistance of Adriel Harris, he ploughed a musical field that he would soon sow with the seeds of folk and Americana that brought forth a crop of songs that flowered with warmth and elegance.
However, it was clear that the audience was here to see Nell Bryden. Taking to the stage with a buoyant "Late Night Call", she put not a - no doubt perfectly manicured - foot wrong exuding the kind of unforced charm that is the mark of a real performer. It wasn't hard to work out her appeal. To the women in the audience, she presents an unthreatening beauty and a line in songs that could easily be made into power ballads if they weren't so danceable. To the balding middle aged men in the audience - and there were many - she's the girl next door. Glamorous in a timelessly classy way, she appears to sing straight at them capturing their hearts just before the leftover love runs dry. She's the mid-life crisis they never had the courage to have.
Backed by a tight and effective three piece band, she is the consummate entertainer. The clever bit, though, is how she appears so normal and approachable. Like I said, she's the girl next door and if the girl next door to me looked like her then I would be borrowing one hell of a lot of cups of sugar.
It would seem that Ms Bryden is looking for a boyfriend. Sometime during "Green Dress", I filled in the application form.