It had been 501 days since Nashville Meets London headliner Tebey last performed in Europe at Country 2 Country in Berlin and on Thursday night (22nd July) at Pizza Express Live in London. For Tebey, the wait between European dates should have only been 6 days but we all know why that didn’t happen! Fast forward 16 months and music venues across the country are slowly beginning to open their doors.
Nashville Meets London has wasted no time in ensuring live music returns to the capital with three nights of music showcasing some of the UK’s up and coming country artists as well as introducing the crowd to Nashville based Canadian artist Tebey at Holborn’s Pizza Express Live and teaming up with Buck and Bull’s Southern Friday Party Cruise.
We went along to the middle night of the three to see Kevin McGuire, Emma and Jolie, Tebey and a surprise appearance from Tim Prottey-Jones, who all looked delighted to be back on stage (and out of quarantine in Tebey’s case!) at Pizza Express Live. This is certainly one of the capital’s more unique music venues with staff busy bringing around table service pizza, dough balls and drinks prior to the show starting.
Hosted by Absolute Radio Country’s Matt Spracklen, he was able to introduce a special guest to start the night in the form of former Wandering Hearts singer Tim Prottey-Jones. Kelsey Bovey had been scheduled to open but, as is likely to become the norm over the coming months, had to pull out due to COVID reasons. Tim only reached out to the organisers a few hours before the show and was clearly delighted he had as in his two-set performance he was able to play his brand-new song ‘Fire’ which would be coming out just a few hours later. If you hadn’t been told, you wouldn’t have known he had a limited time to get ready for the show and demonstrated why he is quickly becoming one of the most recognisable names in the UK Country music scene.
Next up, Kevin McGuire was keen to dust off the live show cobwebs with his first show since last March. During his set, McGuire performed his current single ‘Hottest One Yet’, took the opportunity to perform a new track in ‘Killing Time’, as well as a cover of Jimmie Allen’s ‘Freedom is a Highway’ and Enrique Iglesias’ ‘Escape’.
In November 2019, Emma and Jolie made their Nashville debut at Song Suffragettes. Incredibly, this week they performed for just the fourth time together! The duo looked comfortable on stage during their 5 track set which introduced the crowd to a mix of already released songs in ‘I Don’t Need a Man’ and their latest release ‘How Do I Choose’, as well as showcasing what they have up their sleeves with several new tracks that have the potential to bring them to the attention of not just the UK country music scene but also stateside with ‘Pink Lemonade’ and ‘All That Glitters’.
Tebey was so keen to headline Thursday nights show that he was prepared to quarantine in a Soho flat for five days. Having made his UK debut at 2019’s Country Music Week, Tebey has been keen to build a fan base this side of the Atlantic and has steadily been releasing music to our market. During his seven song set, it didn’t take long for Tebey to get the attention of the room with his up-tempo tracks ‘Happened On a Saturday Night’, ‘Shotgun Rider’ and his latest release that features a duet with Una Healy in ‘Song Of The Summer’. The amusing backstory behind ‘Who’s Gonna Love You’ got the laughs around the room before the sing-a-long kicked off with his popular cover of Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’. Tebey closed out his set with the fan favourite ‘Denim on Denim’ before letting his band have an early night to close out with a solo acoustic performance of ‘When The Buzz Wears Off’. Next week, like the other three artists, Tebey will be heading north to headline the Sunday night of Buckle and Boots Festival and based on this performance his set is one that attendees there will not want to miss.
It may not have been what I expected to be my next gig after C2C Berlin, but 16 months later it was well worth the wait to see live music return to the capital.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks