Upcoming album “Prose and Consciousness” is an autobiographical album exploring life and it’s ups and downs.
1 - As a writer, does it get any easier revisiting crucial moments in life and singing about it in front of an audience? I think it's been getting easier for me. I've noticed especially over the past few years, I only really feel like I'm my true, 100% self if I'm doing something related to music. So that's also made it easier, even if it's hard, if that makes sense? I think now I am better at embracing the hard part. And knowing there's something really special about the connection between the artist and listener, even if you go to some uncomfortable places. I used to get sorta embarrassed about it ... I wanted to play music that was personal and meant something, but sometimes it just felt so revealing and weird. Now I've come to realize that, at least for me, if you're not feeling a little weird about it, you're probably not doing it right!
2 - With a couple of albums under your belt and collaborations, what has recording music taught you so far? To embrace the uncertainty that comes with letting folks in. I write all the songs by myself and I'm pretty introverted, so at first it felt like this big shift, when I would play the songs with a band. Sometimes it still does, because the songs end up sounding really different. But they evolve to something bigger than I could have imagined by myself. That's really neat, even if I don't always immediately agree with every single thing someone brings to it. It's taught me to depend much more on how something feels. If it still maintains the same feel I was going for, and doesn't feel forced, then I usually go with it. But it's also taught me to stand up for myself, and my songs, when it doesn't. Because ultimately they came from my heart, so it's important that they stay true to that. Finally, I think because I've been so fortunate to play with so many really talented people, it's taught me to have a little more confidence in my songs. It's taught me that they're worth it.
3: One artist you’d want to collaborate with? - So many ... but I keep coming back to John Darnielle (The Mountain Goats). When I was first starting to play guitar, because I had played drums for so long, I approached it like a percussion instrument. And kinda banged the hell out of it. Super strummy and loud. A little reminiscent of his early stuff. I often looked to that as a reference point, and for his lyrics, too. His writing is so visual, but also really direct, and again because his early stuff was so sparse, you really heard it. It was really raw and emotional yet the songs were still short and simple. He and I both have evolved to bringing in more people and instrumentation; it would be so rad to do a really stripped down album with him. Or even just a song! I'd love to sing with him.
4: Your Top 5 country records? - I feel like people are always arguing over what's "real" country. But I'm gonna go with what's country to me (and of course this list could change every day): 1. Eddie Rabbitt - S/T 2. Kenny Rogers - Greatest Hits (from 1980) 3. Lori McKenna - The Bird & the Rifle 4. Kathleen Edwards - Failer 5. Robert Ellis - S/T
Notice there's a big gap between the first couple and the rest, as far as when the albums were released. When I was a kid, my mom had some country pop records (which I included) that I used to listen to all the time. But then when I got older and made my own decisions about what I listened to, I veered away from country, big time. I think I associated it with the small, southern town that I desperately wanted to get away from. Even when I first started writing songs, I tried to hide the twang a little. (That was dumb.) Now I love it. I'm not sure you'd classify 3-5 as pure "country", but I'm going with them. Lori McKenna and Kathleen Edwards are such great storytellers and all at least have a strong country / rootsy influence that I love. Especially Lori's stuff, it's so intimate, it's like she's inviting you into her home for every single song. And Robert Ellis's album harkens back to that country pop stuff I loved in the 80s (and he's just a beast of a live performer, one of the best shows I've ever seen!).
5: What inspires you to keep going? - If we're talking music, or even just creating in general, I think it's really important to put something out into the universe that you care about, is from the heart, and is honest and real. It definitely makes me feel like I'm tapped into something a little bigger than myself, especially when I'm fortunate enough to experience those moments where the songs just seem to come with little prompting. Like they were there all along, I just had to find them. That's just the neatest thing. I've also come around to recognising music and songwriting as something essential to my happiness. Just the process of doing it makes me feel so much better about whatever challenge I might be dealing with at the time. So I keep doing it because I have to.
Quick Fire 5 with Morgan Evans
Across the US and Australia Morgan Evans has been playing huge sold out shows and has been supporting the likes of Dan & Shay, Chris Young, Rascal Flatts and even Taylor Swift a while back and UK fans absolutely adore him as well and his last appearance here was at C2C 2018. He released his hugely successful album Things That We Drink To last year through Warner Music / Warner Music Nashville which has spawned multiple successful singles including the US #1 single ‘Kiss Somebody’, the chart-topping ‘Day Drunk’ and the gorgeous ‘I Do’.
- Yesterday you released a bluegrass version to “Young Again” from your 2018 album “Things That We Drink To” How did that come about?
- We rerecorded all these songs in the studio just me and my producers. We just play all the instruments on it. It all kinda happened piece by piece which is also how I perform live as well. But I love the song so much and I feel like a great song can be experienced in different ways. At first, we did it with ‘Day Drunk’ I did it as a mash-up with Dan & Shay song ‘Tequilia’ and people seemed to dig that and then we did it to ‘Things We Drink To’ and we added the piano and the violin version and I thought what else we can do? ‘Young Again’ is easily my favorite song to play live. I remember when I wrote that I wrote it on mandolin and it kind of felt like it had that tendency. We got the 4 of the best bluegrass players in the world which they happen to live in Nashville, we just bought them over one day and we just played it down and had so much fun and I’m stocked it finally came out.
- Speaking on new releases, will there be a new Morgan Evans album anytime soon? - Yes! There is new music coming. We just booked a couple of studio days to track the first couple of songs. They’ll probably be coming out sooner than everyone thinks.
- One artist you’d want to collaborate with? - Super cheesy, but Keith Urban is my hero I’d love to collaborate with him. Even if he just came and played guitar or something like that, he loves to play guitar on everything. It’ll be a big deal for me It’ll make my life.
- Your Top 4 country records? - 1- 'Golden Road' by Keith Urban, one of my favourite ones. Most impactful on my life. 2: Garth Brooks- 'The Hits', This isn’t an album but another impactful one for me. 3: '20 Years of Dirt' by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, another one of the best ones, this was a defining record of my childhood. So my parents came to America when I was young for a family wedding and they bought back a bunch of albums at the airport about six to 10 albums of which I thought what country music was. There was a Glen Campbell one there as well. 4: The record my wife is going to put out at the start of next year. It’s not out yet but I’ve heard it and it’s in my top 4.
- What inspires you to keep going? - I just love it. I think the day I stop loving it I Probably will stop doing it.
CCMA Five with The Hunter Brothers
Canadian country musicians are set to descend on Calgary, Alberta tonight (8th September 2019) for the Canadian Country Music Awards. With three nominations, we caught up with family outfit The Hunter Brothers, who will also be performing on the night, for their take on the awards night.
What do the Canadian Country Music Awards mean to you? The Canadian Country Music Awards are essentially a massive celebration of Country Music in our Nation. We remember watching the awards on TV growing up, and so to be not only attending, but also nominated is a dream come true. The CCMA's extend far beyond just the awards themselves. They really are like a big family reunion. The artists, industry members and fans congregate together in one location for almost a week, and we all have the opportunity to celebrate what each other has accomplished over the course of the year.
How did it feel to find out State of Mind had been nominated for the Album of the Year? Whenever you pour your heart and soul into a record, you hope it resonates with your audience. State Of Mind is a celebration of life, and a compilation of our stories from the last two and a half years, so when we heard the news that it was being acknowledged on a National level, it was one of the highlights of our career. We are so thankful that our fans are connecting with our music, and feel truly honoured to have received this nomination.
What can we expect from your performance on the night? We can't give too much away in terms of our performance the night of the Awards show, however we will say that people can expect lots of harmonies, energy, and brotherly interaction-along with a few other surprises!
With your home town being down Highway 1 from Calgary, are you expecting many family and friends to be in attendance at the awards? We will have multiple family members in the audience that night. Our wives, parents, some of our in-laws, and friends will be attending. To have them there after such a crazy year really is a blessing, as they have all invested into many aspects of our career. We wouldn't be doing this without them, and so we are very grateful they are able to attend.
What inspires you to keep going? There are many components that ultimately inspire us to keep going. Our faith, our love for music and performing, our family, friends and fans are all fuel to the fire of pressing on. Over the years, we have built many friendships with people in the industry and all over the world, and we want to keep building relationships, connecting with our audience, and inspiring others to live a great story!
Quick Fire Five with Darrin Bradbury
Darrin Bradbury is set to make his official debut September 20th with album "Talking Dogs and Atom Bombs" on ANTI Label. Produced by Milk Carton Kids Kenneth Pattengale. Ahead of the release, we bought Darrin for a Quick Fire Five to learn a little bit more about his new album.
Upcoming album ‘Talking Dogs & Atom Bombs’ cleverly delivers life in the most ironic possible way ever. What do you hope for people to learn from this album? - It is my hope that the record acts as a companion piece to the existential dilemma of everyday modern life.
If you were to define the town you live in, as a storyteller, how can you best describe a town like Nashville? - It’s an island of misfit dreams and last resorts, it’s where you go because there’s nowhere left to go w/ these silly little ideas you think might be of use to someone else. It’s a place that shines best in the dark, in the day time it’s awfully funny looking.
One artist you’d want to collaborate with? - Dan Reeder, an American songwriter living in Germany who was a big inspiration for me on this record.
Top 5 country records? -I’m not by any means an expert, but 5 records that really inspired me: 1: Dar Williams - The Honesty Room 2: Dave Dondero - The Transient 3: Dan Reeder (self titled) 4: John Prine - Bruised Orange 5: Jenny Lewis - Rabbit Fur Coat
What inspires you to keep going? - There’s a natural story arc to every walk of life and one must follow it to its last page. Everyone’s a character-everything is interesting-it just depends on your willingness to look at it long enough.
Quick Fire Five with Kaleb Lee
Kaleb Lee made his UK debut at London's New Years Day Parade and has now teamed up with none other than Kelly Clarkson to produce his debut album, which will be available later this year. Following his rise on the 2018 season of The Voice USA, his latest single - I Need A Drink - is out now and we caught up with Kaleb to find out what it was like to work with Kelly and a bit more about him.
New single ‘I Need A Drink’ says it all can you tell us a little bit more of what fans might expect next in the release of the album later on the year? I wanted my first two singles to connect with the fans that just wanted to have a good time and enjoy life. The remainder of the EP, that will be released later in the year, brings a much more serious side including songs that talk about love and memories of growing up.
How has the experience of having Kelly Clarkson as an executive producer been so far? Kelly is simply an incredible person. Not only crazy talented but she has genuinely been involved in this process and wanted to see me succeed every step of the way.
One artist you’d want to collaborate with? Well, outside of Kelly Clarkson (which will be happening on my new EP), I would love to collaborate with Bonnie Raitt
Your Top 5 country records? Garth Brooks - In Pieces; Travis Tritt - T-R-O-U-B-L-E: George Strait - The Cowboy Rides Away; Chris Stapleton - Traveller; Eric Church - Mr.Misunderstood
What inspires you to keep going? Being able to continue creating is what inspires me to keep going. The fact that I know my best songs are ahead of me keeps me wanting to push forward.
Quick Fire Five with Drivin 'N' Cryin's Kevn Kinney
1) First up let's talk about the album name, ‘Live The Love Beautiful’ what’s the story behind it? The title came from a note that I wrote my friend Lenny Kaye. At the end of one of my messages to him, I wrote: "live the love beautiful." He copied it down on a Post-it note and stuck it to his office wall and sent me a picture so I knew I was on the right track I wrote the song around that from a soundcheck idea The music is influenced by T. Rex and David Bowie and Alice Cooper. Another song to remind me that important things are really about love... In our desire to have it, to keep it, to leave it, to cherish or to live it...
2) The new album Live The Love Beautiful celebrates not only another successful great release but also maturity and growth. How has this experience recording the album been to previous work? I really felt it was important to capture this version of Drivin n Cryin. Laur (Joamets, formerly played with Sturgill Simpson) is such a great addition to our music right now. And the band is in a really great place. We’ve climbed a lot of mountains and traveled a lot of roads...
But we keep learning.
This generation of musicians of late is so inspiring. Every show is my first ever show and also could be my last. I’m hoping our sense of humor and sense of hope come across on this album. We all really enjoy the process this time.
3) Aaron Lee Tasjan is a produced the new album who also was once upon a time a member in your band. Aside from being undeniably an outstanding musician when did you guys to decide you want him to produce this record? I really view this album more like a movie, I needed a director that had a vision and could put all of my ideas and the band's ideas together in one cohesive film. I needed the director to create a story arc from the screenwriting and the soundtrack...
Aaron has been playing with me for years... and we lived together briefly in New York. He knows my songs better than I do in many cases. His last 2 records I think are flawless. I love how he creates a soundscape. After we recorded the album, the band was not allowed to participate in the mixing, that was my idea, but I really wanted Aaron to feel free to explore all different options without us constantly adjusting or muddying the waters. I heard it for the first time when it was completed and sequenced...
And I haven’t changed a thing since...
That’s a new process for me. But I thought it would be the best for Aaron to feel confident and know that we trusted his instincts.
4) Right, Top 5 records? Times are a Changin - Bob Dylan Rocket To Russia - Ramones Never Mind the Bullocks - Sex Pistol’ Nuggets - Collection by Lenny Kaye Reckoning - REM
But really. Ramones any Patti Smith any First three Robin Trower First three Elvis Costello Any Dylan All REM ALL CLASH ALL WHO ALL ROLLING STONES ALL BEATLES ALL KINKS ALL ANIMALS!!!!
5) Finally, what inspires you to keep going? Not remembering where I’ve been...
Quick Fire Five with Brett Kissel
The Winner of the 2019 JUNO Country Album of the Year, Brett Kissel, made his way across the Atlantic at the end of May to perform at this years Buckle and Boots Festival. Following his trip, we caught up with Brett to find out what it was like to perform to the UK and European fans as well as asking the all important question - will you be back?
1. What was the experience of playing in England like? Performing in the UK was one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. Getting an opportunity to bring my brand of country music to another country is very special - but having the crowds respond the way that they did was extraordinary.
2. What was the most surprising part of the trip? I knew in the UK, as well as in Europe, that country music is growing in popularity. So I expected most people to be familiar with my music and I expected everyone to have a great time. What I didn't expect was for everyone to sing along to everything, or party as hard as they did! It was so surprising!
3. As n artist, what encourages you to tour overseas? Like I said, I know that there's a hunger for country music all around the world. It's finding those groups of people and those festivals that can be the tough thing. But, I'm passionate about bringing my music across the Atlantic into the UK, and across Europe, Asia, Australia, even into Africa. Whatever continent and whatever country wants to host me, my band, and my show - you can bet that I'll make the effort to go and play.
4. What was your favourite song to perform live at Buckle and Boots? I have a song I wrote called 'Nights in the Sun', which I recorded for my grandfather. My grandfather was going through his cancer treatments last year and expressed to me how much he wants me to soak in this time as a young man. He called these golden years my 'Nights in the Sun'. So, I wrote the song. It was never a single in North America, and I've rarely played it live. But for some reason I felt compelled to play it at Buckle and Boots. The response I got from the crowd, singing along and swaying their arms was remarkable. It was emotional. And something I'll never forget.
5. Will we hear plans for a full tour soon? One word: absolutely.
Quick Fire Five with The High Divers
On the 7th June, Charleston Americana rockers, The High Divers, will release their latest EP - Ride With You. This week, we caught up with their lead singer and guitarist Luke Mitchell to find out a little more about the EP.
1) How has the process of recording the first EP been so far? It’s been quick, emotional, exhausting, and a creative high point for us. Having Sadler Vaden on board to take us into a deeper place with our songwriting was the key to how authentic and touching these songs came out to be. We were allowed to focus on the songs while Sadler and Jeremy (owner and engineer of Battletapes Studio) got into the sounds and tones for the songs. Having guys around you that can nail the sound you’ve been hearing in your head makes the recording process 10 times easier.
2) For an EP that is has a wide range of styles what makes you as a band stand out? As a band we’ve always really focused on the songs first. We’ve been less concerned with “vibe” and fitting into any fads that are happening around us. I think I’ve always been good (or maybe bad) at having blinders on to what is current and edgy, and I think we’ve made music that isn’t easy to pigeonhole or date. We let the songs breathe, and stand on their own, instead of trying to force them into some box they don’t belong in. Also, we’re all about harmonies! The more, the better!
3) One artist you’d want to collaborate with? I think we’d have a ball recording with Jim James from My Morning Jacket. He seems like a great guy to work with. The album he made with Monsters Of Folk is one of my favorite albums ever, and his contributions to the Basement Tapes II make him seem like a creative powerhouse.
4) Your Top 5 country records? 1. John Prine - John Prine 2. Waylon Jennings - Dreaming My Dreams 3. Hank Williams - 40 Greatest Hits 4. Johnny Cash - American Recordings 5. Dolly Parton - Jolene
5) What inspires you to keep going? My inspiration usually comes from the people around me hustling and staying on their path of creativity. Inspiring figures to me are the people that keep their heads down, focus on their work, show up and do the best job they can do every day. They don’t sit around and complain about what the world owes them, they just get out and get to it. I love meeting those people out there on the road, and they are what inspire me to keep going. Playing for a room full of people singing your songs back to you isn’t bad either!
Quick Fire Five with Jes Marie
This week, Maryland native Jes Marie released her second track - Party in the Sun. The summer anthem is her follow up track to last years 'Birds and the Bees' which featured in Spotify's New Music Nashville Playlist. We caught up with Jes for our latest Quick Fire Five to find out a little more about her and the new track
1) What was the inspiration behind the track? My inspiration for “Party in the Sun” came to me on a beautiful sunny day! I was walking around Los Angeles thinking about how gorgeous the weather was that day and the “party in the sun” line just came to me. From there I got inspired and came up with the melody, then wrote the rest of the lyrics.
2) What fact should listeners know about you? I’m from Frederick, Maryland originally and grew up absolutely loving country and pop music. I just love the hybrid of these two genres. Fans describe my music as a cross between Shania Twain and Kelsea Ballerini.
3) One artist you’d want to collaborate with? That’s an amazing question! One artist I would absolutely love to collaborate with would be Dolly Parton. She is just so inspiring to me - what a talent she is! She’s an incredible writer and performer, and she seems like she would be such a nice person. I saw her speak and perform a few songs live at an event once, and she had such a bubbly, likeable personality.
4) Top 5 country records Oo that’s a super tough question! I absolutely love Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Taylor Swift, so many artists - I don’t think I can just pick 5 records! It’s too hard! :)
5) What aspires you to keep going? Music is my passion and it’s what I know I am meant to do on this earth! Inspiring people, making them feel good through music - that is my goal and my true love. I will always make music because I don’t think my heart could take it if I didn’t create! It brings me so much joy, and I love sharing in that with others.
Last month, St. Ives native Bailey Tomkinson saw her most recent release (7 Minutes In Heaven) peak at number 2 on the UK iTunes Country chart. Following the release of the tracks music video (see it below), we caught up with Bailey for our Quick Fire Five to find out more about her and some of her influences in country music.
1: What is country music to you? I’m part of a generation that grew up watching Nashville, listening to Taylor Swift and The Dixie Chicks. For as long as I can remember, Country music has been my preferred form of self-expression. I write Country songs because it’s about telling the truth, I can take my feelings and put them in a song.
2: How can you describe your sound to a new audience? I’m a British Country Artist. I’m British, so I want my brand of country music to be authentic to that reality. I don’t want to impersonate the American scene by putting on a fake Southern US accent or anything like that. Three chords and a British truth is what I’m aiming for. I guess I sit best in the country-pop space...Some people get a bit antsy about the purity of genres but I like Country and I like Pop and I’m inspired by artists across all genres, you’ll pick up elements of my record collection in my sound! Cyndi Lauper, John Denver, Madonna, Jewel, Taylor Swift, The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra to name a few.
3: One artist you’d want to collaborate with? I’d love to collaborate with Billy Joel, I think his stories are so intricately described with such a personal narrative - I find this quality inspiring. So much of what we hear now can be a bit karaoke but I think of him as a true musician. He plays piano so beautifully and I’ve always idolised his unique style.
4: What are your all time top five country tracks? Run - George Strait I love George. This feels like a traditional country song, thanks to the narrative and the instrumentation - but there’s some really clever things happening with the rhyming and near rhymes to create the chorus. I think melody is the most important part of a song, a great melody is the gateway to people discovering your message. Rhinestone Cowboy - Glen Campbell This is a song that brings back many happy memories from my childhood - always puts me in a great mood. Strawberry Wine - Deana Carter This song is in my set list. The narrative structure has been massively influential to my writing, you feel as though you’ve read her diary and that’s exactly how I want my music to be perceived. Untouchable - Taylor Swift This is one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard, I love mix of pop and country - this was one of the songs that made me fall in love with country music. This song is pure magic to me. Summer Rain - Courtney Jaye I discovered this artists music in a movie I loved and I’ve been a massive fan of hers ever since. I love the Hawaiian influences on country, they’re enchanting and I think they show really well how Country Music can be shaped by places other than just the American South.. The lyric “I fall for you like drops of summer rain” is one of my all time favourite lyrics.
5: Final question, which venue you’d like to perform in the near future? I’ve always dreamed of playing The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. I’ve never been to Nashville, I really want to visit it - I promised my Grandma before she passed I’d get there one day!
If you want to see Bailey, there are plenty of opportunities over the coming months: April 13 - Luna, London April 27 - The Union Inn, St Ives May 31 - The Great Estate Festival June 8 - The Union Inn, St Ives August 2 - St Moritz Hotel, Trebertherick August 10 - Boardmasters Festival August 29 - Helly's International Guitar Festival
Quick Fire Five with Graham Stone
On April 12th, Richmond, Virginia based artist Graham Stone will be releasing his sophomore album - Bad News. We've had a listen to the record already and reached out to Graham to find out more about him and the Bad News album.
1: Describe your sound in 5 words? Pretty gritty plain and simple
2: 3 artists that changed your life? Here's 4. Doc Watson, B.B. King, Dustin Kensrue and Emmylou Harris
3: Leading different bands that vary in time players and sound, what have each moment taught you? Not to try and control things too much, just really to try and enjoy every second of it.
4: If you were to pick 1 song from the upcoming album [Bad News] which one would you pick and why? I'd pick Tennessee Hills because it's a love letter to my wife. I'd pick Fightin For because it's a love letter to my son. I'd pick Little River because it's a love letter to my brother. I'd pick Oh Hell because it's real, I'd pick Bad News because it's true, I'd pick Richmond Town just because I love it, and I'd pick Celebrate because I love it enough to want to change it, I'd pick Nobody because it's funny and I'd pick Haulin Grass because it rips.
5: In a world full of opinionated people speaking their mind about the current state of the world, what to you do you think stands out in your upcoming release [Bad News]? The Good News! I think that joy and hope stand out. At least I hope they do. Right in the face of the acknowledgement of the current state. That we have a choice, that we can actually still choose joy and hope. I'm not exactly sure how successful I was at actually getting those themes across, but that's what I was going for. That's the gospel message.
Michael Ray Fast Four
As we continue our build-up to this years Country2Country festival we caught up with an artist who will be appearing in both London and Glasgow this year. Taking to the Spotlight stage in the main arena on Saturday before headlining the evenings after party, Michael Ray has now confirmed he will be playing a set on the Sunday as Nashville's famed Bluebird Cafe takes over the O2 Blueroom.
1. What fact should the UK fans know about you? I want my UK fans to know that this is my first time ever playing over there. This will be a new experience for all of us, and I hope they bring all the energy they’re known because I know we’re ready to match it.
2. What is your favourite song to perform live? I love playing my current single “One That Got Away” live for our fans. Even before it was a single, the energy and the excitement that the fans brought every night we played that song is actually what got us thinking ‘Hey, maybe this should our next song at radio.’” I love seeing people sing it back to us.
3. What can we expect from your set? Fans can expect a high energy set full of songs from my latest album Amos, as well as some of my favorites from the first album and a few covers thrown into the set.
4. What encouraged you to want to come play at this year’s Country2Country? I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to bring our music to our fans in the UK, and I’m so excited to finally make my first trip over there to play for everyone. Every artist I’ve talked to about playing the UK have all said the same thing – the fans over there know every word to every song you’ve ever played and they bring an energy that’s indescribable. I’m excited to experience it all for the first time.
Quick Fire Five with Dan Davidson
On our first listen to his new EP, Juliet, we knew we wouldn't be turning this one off for quite some time so we reached out to Dan to find out a little more about the album and being an independent artist in the world of major record labels.
What is your favourite track to perform from the new album? Church! Its a fun, foot stomping, fiddle tune that gets everybody dancing. On our recent tour of Canada I was getting an email or a DM every night about this one. Its just so much fun!
With so many uptempo tracks what was the inspiration for the album? I think the uptempo thing comes to me naturally (maybe its my rock background), I just like to see fun music when I go to shows, so that's what comes out of me. I named the record for my youngest daughter Juliet who is just about to turn three. She loves to rock out and sing and dance to all these songs in her Elsa costume. Its the best!
How did the video for can't help myself come about? Well as an indie artist, budget is ALWAYS a constraint - I decided I would take a small video budget as an opportunity to be creative instead of a constraint. We decided that if the catering budget was the prop budget, that would make for a fun video. I think my video director just wanted to hit me a cake. Haha!
What advice would you give to independent artists? I think the best advice I could give was to try to not ask people to sign you, book you, or represent you. Go out, make some waves, figure out how things work in the industry and do your best to take care of things - even on a micro level. Then benchmark your growth. THAT info is crucial to getting potential team members interested. Instead of asking for people to sign you, find out who your dream team is and just keep them in the loop on your growth.
What else can we look forward to in 2019? Well I'm really excited to get back on the road this summer - were playing festivals across Canada and I cant wait to start playing this new record live!!
Quick Fire Five with James Barker Band
The James Barker Band may be one of the less familiar name to many of the UK country music fans that will be attending C2C at The O2 in less than two weeks time. That will certainly have changed by the time they step off from the CMW Hub stage on Sunday afternoon. The Ontario natives will be performing four times over the weekend and based on our love for their 2017 EP, Game On, they are certainly an artist you will find us at several times. We caught up with the guys this week to find out a little more about them.
What fact should the UK fans know about you? A fact that UK fans should know about us is that, above all, we like to have fun. We’re kind of idiots. Whether it’s on stage, on the bus or in an interview, we’re always just goofing around having a good time.
What is your favourite song to perform live? It’s hard to pick a favourite song, because they all kind of have a special place in our hearts, but Chills might just take the cake. We really rock it up when we play it live, and it gives it a crazy energy. I guess because of that Chills wins, but honestly it’s a blast playing any of our original stuff.
What can we expect from your set? You can expect a pretty high energy, but loose performance. We really have a lot of fun when we play on stage and I think it translates to the audience. Live music it about taking people away from the everyday stress of life and that’s exactly what we try to do every night, so people can expect to leave with a smile!
What encouraged you to want to come play at this years Country2Country? We’ve known about C2C for a few years now, and it’s always been a goal of ours. It will be our first time playing outside of North America and that’s pretty big for us. We’ve seen lots of videos from previous years and heard so many amazing things from our friends who’ve played it, it was a no brainer for us.
What are London sights are on your bucket list to see while here? None of us have ever been to the United Kingdom, so we’ve all booked off a couple of weeks surrounding the shows to try and soak it up. We’ll definitely be hitting all of the stereotypical tourist spots, but we’re open to suggestions about any hidden gems too. I particularly looking forward to making the drive up to Liverpool. My grandfather was born and raised up there, so I think it’ll be pretty cool to go back and see where my roots came from!
JBB will be performing in The Saloon on Friday night (11:15-midnight), BBC Radio Two Stage on Saturday (2:40-3:15) and twice on Sunday (C2C Sessions 10:30-10:55, CMW Hub 2:00-2:40)
Lauren Jenkins Quick Fire Five
It is now less than a month until the biggest weekend of country music in 2019 takes over London's O2 Arena and we have our second Quick Fire Five buildup. This time we have spoken with Festival Stage artist Lauren Jenkins. Over the weekend you will be able to see Lauren perform on the BBC Radio 2 Stage and at the Town Square.
1. What fact should the UK fans know about you? Storytelling has always been my favorite thing in the world.
2. What is your favourite song to perform live? It changes night to night. But lately it’s been “Running Out Of Road.” 3. What can we expect from your set? It will be 100% real and honest… also I’ll probably be drinking whiskey on stage and raise a toast to all of you.
4. What encouraged you to want to come play at this years Country2Country? I’ve been dreaming about playing C2C for several years now. I have so many friends that live in Europe and I’m always inspired every time I visit. I’m SO excited I get to be part of the festival this year!
5. What London sights are on your bucket list to see while here? Hyde Park looks beautiful and seems like the perfect spot to write a new song. I’ve only been to London once for a layover, so I’m taking suggestions of where the locals hang.
Quick Fire Five with Sonia Leigh
Tonight (19th Feb), Nashville based artist Sonia Leigh will play the first Nashville Meets London event of 2019 at Pizza Express Live. We caught up with her to find out what fans can expect from the show and what she gets up to while in London
1: What fact should the UK fans know about you? I actually am a homebody, shy, and an introvert. Playing music challenges me to come out of my shell. But I get nervous every show. I love comedy and to make people laugh. I also love 2-pac ya!
2: What is your favorite song to perform live? That a really hard question. It changes for me a lot. I really love to play sky submarine- waste the day. And walking in the moonlight a lot. Also my song fairy tale dream from. My record counting skeletons .
3: What can we expect from your set? My set at pizza express will be like sitting with me in my living. Room. I like to feel these kinds of gigs out as I go. I have a basic outline in my head of what I’m going to ply but sometimes it changes up as I take requests a lot. I like to interact with the crowd a lot.
4: What London sights are on your bucket list to see while here? I got to go to the Tate for my first time that was a cool experience. I love to go to Camden Markets I just love the energy there on a Sunday with everyone buzzing about. I’ve not done a lot of tourist stuff surprisingly. I’ve been here more times than I can count and still not made it to see Big Ben up close. I’d like to do that one day.
5: Final question if there were one artist you wish to collaborate with who might that be and why? I get this question a lot. I always say Sia. Sia is such an amazing and creative woman of our modern music world. I relate a lot to her journey and how she is versatile with her style. I have so much respect for her craft and process. I’ve read Interviews with and I adore her way of thinking and what she’s been through. She is a creative soul,song writer, and performer that I am inspired by. I would love to work with her one day. Plus she’s a Sagittarius like me and seems like a very fun and interesting person.
In January, The Steel Woods released their latest album - Old News - the follow up to their 2017 debut Straw in The Wind. This week we caught up with guitarist Jason Cope to find out a little more about the album.
1: What is the source of influence on the record? Years of hard working and fighting off demons, and a nod to our musical heroes who came before us and passed away during the writing process.
2: Can you tell us a little bit more where did the album title come from? The album title comes from the song Old News.
3: What made you come up with a decision to include covers such as Townes Van Zandt, Tom Petty and Black Sabbath? The last 4 songs on the album are meant to be the Obituary section of the newspaper: Merle Haggard, Tom Petty, and Greg Allman all passed away while we were writing for the album. They paved the way for us to do what we do, and we always want to acknowledge that. The Townes Van Zandt and Black Sabbath covers fit in with the overall theme of the record while also allowing us to showcase the musical diversity in our sound.
4: Would you consider this album as a reintroduction from the band to your audiences with the presented songs? Yes, I think the fans that have been around from Day 1 have been waiting for new music and this album will serve as a reintroduction in some ways. We cut the album very live. We did some overdubs on some songs, but 90% of the album is four guys throwing down at once.
5: How can you describe your sound? People ask us to describe our sound and it’s kind of a hard question. Our sound is 4 musicians trying to play the best we can. It has a very southern American imprint on it naturally because of our influences. (Bluegrass, Funk, Rock, Gospel, Blues and Country). I guess we’re just a straight up southern rock band.
Fans of The Steel Woods will be counting down to September when the band head to the UK for three dates as part of their European tour
Nashville outlaw country rocker Boo Ray's forthcoming LP Tennessee Alabama Fireworks is set for release in just a few weeks time (due Feb 15). With the release date just around the corner, we caught up with Boo to find out a little more about the record and the inspiration behind it
1. How would you describe the album's sound to new listeners? SiriusXM Outlaw Country's been playing it a lot, which I consider a type of sound that I'm interested in and am glad to be grouped with. A few people have called it hillbilly rock & roll. We might could be on the Jerry Reed/Tony Joe White/Delbert McClinton/Willie Nelson/Lowell George part of that spectrum. I like to call that moody, mid-tempo part of our sound "Gulf Coast R & B." We like to make the club bounce. I think we're a guitar slingin'/singer-songwriter type of outfit, kinda like a Tom Petty or Dwight Yoakam approach maybe. Lots of pedal steel, plenty of telecasters, some twin guitars, and we're gonna send you home singin' a line or two.
Producer Noah Shain recorded my band live to tape at Welcome To 1979 Studio in Nashville, mixed it to 1/4" tape, Pete Lyman Mastered it, and Kindercore Vinyl in Athens, GA manufactured it on their WarmTone record presses. Our production/manufacturing is a 1st choice dream-team across the board.
2. What makes this record unique compared to most music coming from Nashville? I reckon starting the record off with a 6-minute long single that's got a 1-minute long fade-out might make us look like screwballs to everybody over on Music Row. And then I suppose we might not be quite ironic enough for your average hipster either, you know? I mean hell, I'm still trying to write a song or two on each record that might ought to be cut by another artist. You know, John Hiatt/Jim Lauderdale style.
3. What is your favourite track to perform from the album? "Don't Look Back" has been a great jam every time we've cranked it up so far and "Gone Back Down To Georgia" is hitting real hard too. The other night in Indianapolis when we played "A Tune You Can Whistle" it felt like we might knock the damned back wall of the honky-tonk down. It just hooked-up like a big rig and steady rolled through the night. Then when we played "20 Questions" and everybody in the club was hollerin' "Why why why why why why! Why'd you leave your car downtown last night" on the choruses, the "favorite" category became a coin toss. The way the songs function live is the acid test for me. I feel lucky and fortunate to be playing most of the songs off of each of my records every night. You know, "Redneck Rock & Roll", "Bad News Travels Fast", "I Got The Jug", "Six Weeks In A Motel", "One More Round", "4 Letters In A Heart", "Johnny's Tavern", and "Sea Of Lights" continue to be favorites off of earlier records. So far all of Side-A on "Tennessee Alabama Fireworks" is playing real cool and we're digging in with numbers like "Skin & Ink" and "We Ain't Got The Good" off Side-B.
4. Where did inspiration for the tracks come from? Oh hell I don't know... maybe I operate kind of like a cameraman using an Extreme Long Establishing Shot - High Angle - Zoom In - Close Up on this one. I'd been writing new songs on the road the whole year and becoming a little bit successful as an artist, while simultaneously the notorious demons of the entertainment business; financial insecurity, unpredictable schedules, depression, irregular sleep cycles, and countless big let downs wreaked havoc on a relationship that was very important to me. The love of my life left Nashville right as things started to work out for me here. No need to fabricate irony you know? And it's all about perspective which spawns humor right? When you do the emotional math on it ,the problem is always bad communication and the remainder that I'm aiming at is understanding, compassion and joy. It's household knowledge that longterm relationships and the institution of marriage are taking a severe beating at the hands of fear, jealousy, greed, financial insecurity, alcoholism, addiction, digital distraction, and lack of communication maybe topping the list. I think people who can stay together in love are heroes.
Producer Noah Shain and I developed the big picture approach for this album while we were recording "Sea Of Lights" at his studio in Los Angeles with an all-star band led by our great friend Steve Ferrone on drums and Paul Ill on Bass. That was a real dream team. Noah and Steve, both close friends and mentors of mine, began discussing and setting my task for the next record to be recorded 12 months later. They told me to assemble my East Nashville band and make the playing I'm doing with those cats so important that they won't be able to use an all-star band and they'll have to record my guys. We did 6 months worth of Thursday-Sunday regional runs and coast to coast tours on the "Sea Of Lights" album. We pretty much went right in the studio after we got back to Nashville from the final leg of the eastern seaboard tour and recorded 13 songs live to tape at Welcome To 1979 Studio in 5 days with my band. 5. With this albums release so early in 2019, what else is on the bucket list to achieve this year? We'll be touring all year in support of this album. I'd like to come join y'all in the U.K. for summer festivals this year. We recorded 13 songs and only 10 are on the album. So maybe those'll come out later as special edition pressing or something. And, there are a couple of exciting collaborations in the Boocoo Amigos series coming up also.
Quick Fire Five with Kaylee Bell
With the UK's biggest weekend of country music just over a month away, we have caught up with one of the acts that will be making their way to London for Country2Country. Kaylee Bell, from Waimate in New Zealand's South Island, will be performing across the weekend on the Big Entrance Stage and Town Square.
1. What fact should the UK fans know about you? I am a Kiwi. I have been singing country music since I was 4 and am as much a fan as I am an artist of the genre. I won Toyota Star Maker in Australia and have played with Keith Urban (headliner) a few times on his NZ/Aus tours. I have music out on Spotify including my new single 'Keith' released in February.
2. What is your favourite song to perform live? Getting Closer- a song I wrote with Morgan Evans about a real life situation that was the most satisfying song to write and the feedback I get from that song always makes me happy, as people relate!!
3. What can we expect from your set? Looping, original songs, Country Pop!!
4. What encouraged you to want to come play at this years Country2Country? I have seen so much buzz around this festival the lat few years and had major FOMO and wanted to get over to the UK to experience the place, the culture and share my music with more people.
5. What London sights are on your bucket list to see while here? London eye, Buckingham, a musical if I can get to one.....London pub!!!!
Fast Four with Hayes Carll
Ahead of the release of Hayes' upcoming album, 'What It Is', we caught up with him for a quick question and answer session to find out more about the record.
1: Where did the inspiration come from for new album title ‘What it is’ ? A lot of this record is about taking stock of life, love, and the world around me. I've been trying to find ways to connect and be present with my life and the song "What It Is" summed all of that up so I made it the title track.
2: Your upcoming album shines a light on numerous topics including ‘eccentric love’ and living day by day, when did you realize it was about time to share your voice yet again with the world? I’M LUCKY THAT I HAVE OUTLETS FOR MY WORK AND PEOPLE WHO WANT TO SUPPORT MY EFFORTS IN GETTING IT OUT TO THE WORLD. MAKING RECORDS AND RELEASING THEM IS WHAT I DO, SO IT WASN’T SOMETHING I HAD TO REALLY GEAR UP FOR. I HAD A COLLECTION OF SONGS I LIKED AND I WANTED TO MAKE A NEW ALBUM, SO I DID.
3: Favourite song on the upcoming album? That's tough because they all scratch a different itch for me. But at the time of this answer I would say “None’ya."
4: What differentiates Texas country music to Nashville? IT DEPENDS ON WHAT ASPECTS OF EACH YOU’RE REFERRING TO — THERE ARE GOOD AND BAD ASPECTS TO BOTH. THE RED DIRT SCENE MUSIC MIGHT BE MORE SPECIFICALLY ORIENTED TOWARD ITS SPECIFIC AUDIENCE, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY I DON’T SEE WHAT THERE IS TO ARGUE OVER — A GOOD SONG IS A GOOD SONG NO MATTER WHERE IT COMES FROM.
What It Is will be out February 15th and is available to pre-order now.
Quick Fire Five with Mitchell Tenpenny
Fresh off the back of his first number one single, Drunk Me, Nashville native Mitchell Tenpenny has now released his debut album, Telling All My Secrets. Following the albums release we caught up with Mitchell for our latest Quick Fire Five.
1. In a year of so many highs, what has been the moment of 2018? Getting our first number one song has to be the moment of 2018! 2. Aside from tracks from the EP, what one song did you know you had to include in the album? Walk Like Him
3. How would you describe the album to a new listener? I would say it’s honest and diverse. Country, Pop, Rock Soul a little something for everybody 4. What reaction did you get from your label when you told them you had over 50 track ideas for the album? They were just happy we had enough material to choose from and make a record 5. With plenty of North American tour dates and festivals already penned for 2019, what else can we expect? Any international dates? Yes we plan to go overseas as soon as possible! We are looking into every option as we speak!
Quick Fire Five with Darius Rucker
Country music is taking over London this week for the annual Country Music Week. With some of Nashvilles biggest stars set to play some of the cities most iconic venues this week. On Sunday night, Darius Rucker will make his return to London to play in front of a sold out Royal Albert Hall. We caught up with Darius this week, ready with five questions.
1: What are most looking forward to your visit to London? It has to be playing at the Royal Albert hall. It has always been on my bucket list and now I can tick it off. The tour has been a great success as I have heard from the promoter that most of the regions are sold out and The Royal Albert hall – another dream come true
2: Can you describe your music in 5 words? SOUTHERN, REAL,COUNTRY, ALIVE, ENTERTAINING
3: Current favourite tune to listen to? Adele Someone Like You
4: What can fans expect from a Darius Rucker performance today? A party! We should all have a great time
5: Final question, if there were any artists you’d want to work with who might that be and reason behind choosing this very person? Adele – She is a great writer and honest performer Ed Sheeran – he is an absolute genius Stevie Wonder – He is also a genius
Quick Fire Five with Danielle Bradbery
Following an appearance at March's Country to Country Festival, Danielle Bradbery returned to the England recently to play on the main stage at the inaugural Long Road Festival. Country in the UK caught up with Danielle for a Quick Fire Five interview - keep scrolling down for a special sixth question too. Danielle will be returning to the UK for a third time this year in November as she supports Thomas Rhett on his headline tour.
1) Since first performing in England, what has surprised you about the fans? They pay so much attention and love every moment of the show! I appreciate it so much as an artist!
2) Did you ever expect fans in the UK to be singing back lyrics to you? - even as far back as your first single No, I didn't actually! That surprised me so much, but it’s the best feeling in the world!
3) What are you most looking forward to when touring the country in November? The fans, the area, all of the above! It's always so much fun.
4) What are your must have items when travelling overseas? My phone, of course. A camera and a big suitcase to go shopping hahaha! I don't need much.
5) Having recently collaborated with Thomas Rhett, what other artists would you like to collaborate on? I would love to collaborate with Shawn Mendes, Ariana Grande, Carrie Underwood, there are so many haha!
The Danielle Bradbery bonus question
6) What would you tell yourself and what advice would you give if you could go back in time to the day of your first audition for The Voice? I’d tell myself to be confident and have so much fun. Let loose and take it in even more than I did. It was the most amazing experience.
Quick Fire Five with Ray Benson
1: First and foremost- What can fans expect from upcoming release ‘New Routes’? RB: Well, you can expect to hear some of our new members featured, especially Katie Shore our fiddler and vocalist. She and I wrote and co wrote some songs on this record which we are proud of. And as always we try and cover all different styles of music, songs we love with us giving our own interpretation. I feel its a true representation of “Americana” Roots music.
2: What's the secret that keeps AATW going? RB: Coffee! And a passion we all share for playing music. We all love to play and feel fortunate to travel the world doing so.
3: What’s special about the Texas sound that it differentiate it from the rest? RB: Texas is just a huge melting pot of different genres. Blues,Tejano,Country and Western, Singer Songwriter etc.. So I think you feel the freedom to integrate all of these styles of music without feeling bound to one form. That's what brought us to Texas, music like Bob Wills, Willie Nelson, Doug Sahm, Moon Mullican, Lightnin’ Hopkins etc.. 4: Favorite song to listen to? RB: Right now Guy Clark’s “Dublin Blues”
5: Finally words to live by?.. RB: Do what you love and don’t ever give up!
Quick Fire Five with Elizabeth Cook
Tonight (Friday 7th September) the inaugural Long Road Festival kicks off, and one of the many star names heading over from Nashville to perform is Florida native Elizabeth Cook. This week we caught up with Elizabeth for our Quick Fire Five.
1: What are you most looking forward to your one night in the UK and would consider coming back for a full date tour? Beans and pints and Pimms! I'd love to come back and tour the UK again. Been too long.
2: Quite recently you’ve been sharing few clips on Instagram of an upcoming album, can you give us any hints at this stage and what listeners might expect? I'm not even sure what to expect. But I bet I'll sound more with it like I was on Welder (2010), due to less psych meds now, but the material will have more heft like a weightlifter like on Exodus of Venus, due to survival.
3: What is the best part about having you a radio show? One-sided conversation.
4: Your favorite record at the moment? There are two....Rayland Baxter's Wide Awake and Aaron Lee Tasjan's Karma for Cheap
5: Any piece of advice you can give to young people who are embarking on a career in the music industry? You better mean it.
Elizabeth will be performing early evening on Sunday on the Interstate stage
Quick Fire Five with Kenton Bryant
Kentucky native, Kenton Bryant is set to release his debut, self titled, EP this week - featuring six tracks that he either wrote or co-wrote. In recent months he’s been travelling across North America to introduce himself to fans, supporting some of the biggest names in the industry. With the release date edging closer we caught up with one of Nashville’s newest talents to ask him our latest set of Quick Fire Five Questions to find out more about him and the record.
1. Which track from the album do you most enjoy performing live? Beer and a bottle was the first song a crowd ever sang back to me, there’s nothing like that feeling!
2. How has opening for the likes of Willie Nelson and Kip Moore allowed you to introduce yourself to fans?Country music fans across the board are the best! They’re always welcoming to people bringing them new music. I’ve been very blessed to have people give me a chance on all different stages, and let me make them friends and fans.
3. How satisfying is it to know you wrote or co-wrote every track on the album? Ifeel like I’ve been very fortunate to discover my artistic voice by writing songs. My favorite artists were all writers, and carved out their own lane and voice with the music they created. That’s what I’m aspiring to do.
4. What venue will you never tire of playing as you now tour nationwide and hopefully worldwide soon? The venue where people took time out of their day to come spend it with me will never get old. Big, small, loud, quiet, doesn’t matter. If people are there to support me, I will always be ecstatic to be there.
5. Following the albums release, what is top of your country music bucket list of things you want to achieve? I want to make more fans and believers. We are all in this together, and it takes those for me to keep building this thing. I would love to play the Ryman. It’s the first place I saw a show, and it would be full-circle to get the opportunity to grace that stage and sing.
Signed jointly for publishing by Big Machine Music and 50 Egg Music, the EP will be released this Friday(24th August).
KENTON BRYANT EP TRACK LIST
“Since You’re Gone” (Kenton Bryant, Jonathan Singleton)
“Out On A Good One” (Kenton Bryant, Shane Minor, Cole Taylor)
“Beer And A Bottle” (Kenton Bryant, Jeff Hyde)
“Get A Little Gone” (Kenton Bryant, Aaron Raitiere)
“Watered Down” (Kenton Bryant)
“Anywhere But Gray” (Kenton Bryant, Erik Dylan Anderson, Jonathan Singleton)
Quick Fire Five with Sinead Burgess
Earlier this year, Sinead Burgess made a big impact on country music fans in the UK when she headed out on tour across the country with The Shires. Last week (Friday 17th August), Sinead released her latest record - Damaged Goods. Fans in the UK didn't hesitate at wanting to hear more as she rose the through the UK iTunes Country Music chart to reach the top 3. We caught up with Sinead to find out more about how she feels now the album (our album of the week) has been released.
1. Which song from the album do you enjoy performing live the most? That's a really tough one! It definitely depends on my mood! 'Momma Raised a Ramblin' Man' & 'Tennessee Bound' are a whole lotta fun to rock out to! But I think if I had to choose one, my favorite to perform might be 'Wildflowers of Colorado'. I tend to get pretty lost in that one.
2. How did touring with The Shires help introduce you to new fans? Touring with The Shires was one of the most incredible and surreal things I've ever done. Being on a tour bus with some of my favorite people on the planet for a month is a pretty lucky place to be. Without them lending their incredible fans to me night after night and really giving me an opportunity to bring my music to the masses, I know there'd be very few people in the U.K that would know my name right now. They gave me an empty stage, their incredible crew to use & made sure they told their fans to get there early. Not many headliners would do that. They're pretty special humans. I'll forever be grateful to them.
3. How were your nerves the night before the album was released? Ha! Absolutely at an all time high to be honest. I kind of liken releasing the record to trying to get a kite to fly. You run with it, try to angle it just right and let it go praying like hell there's enough wind to pick it up. Haha! All I knew is that I put every ounce of what I had into it, and it was as honest as it could be. Being an independent artist makes you feel every high and low too, because it's all of your work and time and effort, so you just want to see it take flight. But needless to say, I have been COMPLETELY blown away by the support for it. It means the absolute world. And that's probably enough kite references...
4. Have you been surprised by how quick the album went up the iTunes country chart in the UK? BEYOND. I didn't even think to look at the charts to be honest, because it didn't even occur to me that it could happen. It was actually a songwriting buddy of mine who texted me saying it was at #6 in Australia. After that I went "I wonder if I should check the U.K charts?". I called my mum and dad in Australia straight away and we all had tears. Needless to say I was completely lost for words. So grateful to those people listening to and resonating with my little acoustic record.
5. What is now top of your bucket list of things to achieve in country music? The top of my bucket list for a career in country music is really to keep making honest records that people enjoy & be able to tour constantly all over the world. I am just DYING to get back to the U.K to tour! I had such an incredible time playing over there. I'm working on some return dates ATM, so fingers crossed I can be back by the end of the year! But if we're aiming big, I mean, playing the Royal Albert Hall on my own would probably take the number one spot on the bucket list!
Quick Fire Five with April Kry
On Friday (10th August), April Kry released her new 8 track album, Sink or Swim, featuring the single Perfectly Imperfect. With the album featured as our current album of the week, we put our Quick Fire Five questions to April to introduce her to the UK audience. Be sure to check out the new album, available from all the usual media outlets.
1. What fact don't many people know about you? I am pretty introverted. I like my alone time, so I recharge by being by myself!
2. Which song from the album are you looking forward to playing live? Definitely "I Feel At Home"- It's just one of those songs that I can be completely myself on and it feels so natural when I sing it!
3. What made you choose Sink or Swim as the album title? "Sink Or Swim" was actually one of the first songs I wrote when I moved to Nashville 6 years ago with my friends Jonathan Perkins and Karl Rybacki. It speaks to a relationship that is on the edge of failing or flourishing. A choice has to be made. I wrote it from a perspective of my career as an artist. I can either choose to go all in and fight for this dream that I've had since I was a little girl, or give it up. I chose this song as the title track because I think it fits the whole theme of the project- "It's now or never..." I'm pretty much giving myself a pep talk the entire song. Sometimes that's what you need to do as an artist. Take that leap, even if you think you are going to fail.
4. What is your go to cover song? "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride. Something about the message of that song resonates with me. Feeling like a caged bird, not being able to fly is something I've felt before in my life. Of course the melody is incredible and its just a fun song for me to sing!
5. What emoji describes how you feel about the release of the new album?
Quick Fire Five with Jim Lauderdale
Jim Lauderdale is perhaps one of Americanas most celebrated musicians today. With nearly 30 years in the industry, 2 Grammy’s, an AMA Wagonmaster award receiver and 31 releases up to this day, Lauderdale is without a doubt a true music veteran. Recently releasing two brand new albums - ‘Time Flies’ and ‘Jim Lauderdale & Roland White’ - we caught up with Mr Americana himself for our ‘Quick Fire Five’ to know more about his recent releases, music video plus many more.
RT: It’s been a while since you last recorded a music video with special guests! What was your favorite part about filming again? JL: Let me think about that for a second. I can’t remember now when last one was! It was a long time ago. Gosh, I guess the best part of it was seeing the audience react to the song and the challenge of doing a video while there’s an audience. So I just tried to have fun and I think if you’re enjoying yourself the audience will too and if you’re not then I think for audience it's harder for them to enjoy. So I just tried to have a good time and the band was having a good time too I think. That’s right and I kissed him on the forehead, It was great to get Manuel out and to get him on film! Manuel made the suit and Janet Aspley from England she made the shirt. I wear alot of her shirts. So, I wear alot of Manual suits and a lot of Janet’s shirts they seem to go well together.
RT: Only, few years ago the unearthing of JL and RW mastertapes were discovered! What was that like upon hearing the news? JL: I was very elated. I figured it was gone forever and that we’d lost it and we’d never find it and then after Roland sat in with me when I was doing a bluegrass gig at the Station Inn as he was leaving the stage almost as an afterthought he said “Oh my wife found a tape at the bottom of a box while she was going through things and it has our names on it” and so it turned out to be the tape! and so I’m just really, really happy. It means alot to me that’s been discovered. He didn’t know it was in this box and i didn’t have any copies of it and so we each thought the other had a copy of the mastertape. Then when I finally got a record deal about 8 or 9 years after we recorded that album even a few years after that I thought now is the time to put it out record companies will take a chance on this. At that time when I was sending out the tapes right after we recorded it I was unknown in the bluegrass world and was not on a circuit of touring. So, they didn’t want to take that chance during at that time. Then when the time did roll around it was lost! It’s still hard to believe it was found now.
RT: If you could choose 1 song from each album that poses significances to you as an artist which songs might you choose and why? JL: I think, maybe ‘Violet’ from Times Flies just because the theme is so different for me and I really enjoy a lot it's a different type song for me. On the Roland record, I think ‘Forgive and Forget’ since that one I wrote on the record and it kinda encapsulates the traditional bluegrass style for me.
RT: What has been the highlight of your career so far? and Did Jim Lauderdale fulfil his two set goals since arriving in Nashville in 1979? JL: That’s hard to decide on because there have been many and it all took a long time for it to happen really. A lot of my dreams did come true, it just took a long time. But I learned a lot while I was waiting and through the process. So I think it’s hard to choose just one highlight but I think that in some ways having both of these records out right now is a big highlight because on one hand, I have a new body of work that I’m really happy with. Now the challenge is to continue from here and create something else. And in some ways, I did fulfill my goals. I still have other goals but when I first came to Nashville in 1979 my two goals was to hang out with Roland White and I didn’t really dream I could get to record with him! So we did that and that the record is out that really fulfills that goal. My other goal in coming to Nashville at that time was to hang out with George Jones! I did not get to hang out him at that time but then years later I got to sing a duet with him that then didn’t come out till years later on a duet record called ‘Burn Your Playhouse Down’ it was unreleased duets and so he had duets with unreleased things like with Tammy Wynette, Keith Richards so it was great to be part of that. Then he recorded a song with Patty Loveless called ‘You Don’t Seem to Miss Me’ and then I got to portray him in a play and so that goal was really fulfilled as well. So those goals from 1979 took a really long time but they finally gradually happened. We only did the show at a place called ‘Flat Rock Playhouse’ where I actually worked there as a kid during the summertime in Flat Rock, North Carolina and then it came to The Ryman Auditorium for a limited run in the Fall for two years and they had wanted to go to Broadway and stuff like that and it just never happened. So they did not record it. So it’s shame, no tape, no video, we didn’t go into a studio, no live things.. But his influence [George Jones] is very heavy on me. There’s a lot of George, I listened to him so much in my life growing up. He really touches my soul with his voice.
RT: Finally when will the UK see Jim Lauderdale again? JL: Oh gosh, I hope sooner than later! Last summer I was over there for almost 3 weeks it seemed like and then nothing happened this year so I hope I get the offers to come back for next year. Maybe with the release of this record it’ll open up some doors.
Quick Fire Five with Canaan Cox
Canaan Cox is flying in to the UK at he end of September to appear as the special guest for London's Nashville Nights being held at Under the Bridge in Chelsea. We spoke with Canaan this week to find out a little more about him and what we have to look forward to on the 28th September. This week Canaan has also released his latest single, Greener, which you will find below.
1. What fact do the British audience need to know about you? I frikin love chocolate milk. Hahaa, I kid, kind of. I really do love it though. But when it comes to my music I like to hone in on that my success comes from me. I am not managed, no one books me, no label. I like to share that all my success comes from hard work and discipline. Super grateful for the fans and followers who have helped make my dream into a reality.
2. What is your favourite song to perform live? Funny as it may sounds, I love the old school pop and R&B. Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder. So my top 2 favorite to perform are Billie Jean and I Wanna Dance With Somebody!
3. What is your favourite thing about recording music? The process. It is so cool to go back to your first phone recording you did and then to hear the full blown production of it all. With one of my singles, "Lie' I have a video of me in my old bedroom working on the song for the first time. So it's crazy to watch that and then go watch the music video and be like, "that little kid is here now".
4. Where were you the first time you heard Out Of Nowhere on the radio? It was actually on a UK station I think. Have some good fans/pals in Andover who run a radio staton there (Andover Radio) and they've been fans for a while. So they did a little UK premier over there!
5. What is on your London bucket list? ENGLISH BREAKFAST! Haha I mean I'm sure I'll freak out with the Ferris wheel and Big Ben. But I miss a good ol' English Breakfast, so let me know where the best spot is :)
Amanda Shires is set to release new album, To The Sunset, tomorrow (3rd August via Thirty Tigers/ Silver Knife Records)and we caught up with her this week ready with five questions to find out more about the album, which we have already had a listen to and loved.
1:What was the motivation behind upcoming release- To The Sunset- AM:The motivation behind it, I’m a writer. So, I write poems and songs and after a couple of years you have a lot of ideas going on and the motivation is everything from having a child, having a family to political and climate. Having some feelings like that i felt I needed to work through.
2: How did the name come about- To The Sunset- AM:That is a line from the song ‘Eve’s Daughter’ it's really meant to be a toast to the experience of our past that makes us who we are today to the expercine we haven’t had and also, if you had good days,cheers to those good days and if had bad days cheers, see ya later glad that phase is over.
3: Can you could describe your album in one word? AM: Only one word? Driven! Or All Rock n Roll and no Golf!
4: You’re a very passionate person towards equality in the music industry as we’ve on numerous of occasions including, once phoning up a radio station about the fact there was no female artists has featured! Have you considered in creating a platform to share your views- ie. podcast or a website segment? AM: I was mad and fired up that day! Well, the thing about it that is kinda awesome, is that the more we address these things and make folks aware of it of the things that are not equal or just wrong then there are easier to take steps, for us to make change. That would be super awesome and I would love to do that and I have thought about things like that. But then I also need someone to help me. Because it’s kinda a lot to balance, touring with my husband and doing my own music and then also trying to raise a brave and strong little girl into a women. So in all of that in top of having to do the laundry and pay the bills! I would love to but i think I would need a team of people for non profit or whatever that would do it voluntarily just because i don’t have enough hands to keep juggling as it is.
5: Final question, your favourite all time poem. AM:I guess I’ll go with ‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop
They are one of the fastest growing UK country music acts of 2018. This year, The Wandering Hearts have released an album, performed across the UK and even had time to make their Grand Ole Opry debut in Music City. We caught up with the band, armed with just five questions.
1.What has been your favourite song from the album to perform live? Our favourite song to play live is definitely Rattle. It was the first song we ever wrote as a band and it has a real groove to it. It moves from a bluesy start to a proper rocky chorus with all four of us belting it out. It’s also one that the crowd always dances along to, which is pretty cool to see! 2.What makes the festival season so special? Playing festivals is a blast as there’s always a lovely vibe and people out to have a good time, listening to music they love as well as looking to hear new stuff. The energy is infectious, we always come away with lovely snap shot memories of particular experiences and if you’re lucky with the weather, you’re laughing! 3.Describe performing in Nashville and at the Opry in 5 words Mad, crazy, overwhelming, PINCH ME! 4.If you could perform on stage with any artist who would it be? It would have to be Chris Stapleton. He’s been a huge inspiration for us as a band. We all admire his flawless voice and his ability to write such stunning songs. That’s if we all remember to sing and not get carried away listening to him!
5.If you had to give someone who has never listened to country music a track to listen to, what would it be? The perfect song to us would be Kenny Rogers - The Gambler. It was one of the songs that got us into country music from an early age, listening at home with our parents. The lyrics are a little dark and have so many clever references to gambling as metaphors for life. It always gets us up and singing anytime we hear it!
Quick Fire Five with The Lovelocks
On the 13th July, Toronto based roots duo The Lovelocks, made up of Ali Raney and Zoe Neuman, released their latest EP, 20 Dollars In My Pocket. Following the albums release we put to them are quick fire five questions.
ALI RANEY – The Lovelocks
1. Which song from the album are you most excited about playing live? I love track 4 on this album, “Good Way To Go”. I had such a blast in the studio cutting the vocals and fiddle on this song, and we haven’t had a chance to play it live yet. It’s one of those songs that just feels so good! I can’t wait for everyone to hear it.
2. If you were down to your last twenty dollars, what would you spend it on? I’d save it ☺️
3. What was the best part about recording the new album? Recording in Toronto!! It happened by accident, but I’m so glad we got the chance to record in our own city. It’s always been a dream of mine to do that, and because we’ve always recorded primarily in Nashville it hadn’t happened yet. It was so nice to go home in between sessions, get a good rest in my own bed, snuggle my dog, and have our loved ones drop in to the studio!
4. What would be your dream venue to play at? Massey Hall is at the top of my bucket list! I’ve been super fortunate to play a ton of well known stages all over North America with The Lovelocks and other touring acts I’ve been out with, but I’ve never had the honour of playing Massey Hall. The hometown crowd is totally where it’s at for me, and hearing our in Toronto’s most celebrated music venue would be a dream come true!
5. Where were you the first time you heard Staycation on the radio? I think it was probably during promo week! I don’t remember what station it was exactly but it’s always a cool moment to hear a song you co-wrote playing over the airwaves.
ZOE SPARROW – The Lovelocks
1. Which song from the album are you most excited about playing live? Zoe: I am excited to sing “Fast Forward” live. It’s the song that makes me feel all the feels on the album! I can’t wait to perform it with a full, 7-piece band and see how the crowd responds to it in real life! I get goosebumps just thinking about it!
2. If you were down to your last twenty dollars, what would you spend it on? Zoe: $20 worth of chocolate sounds about right! 😊
3. What was the best part about recording the new album? Zoe: It was really fun to write the song Staycation in our hometown, Toronto! We flew up our producer, Ben Glover, from Nashville for a songwriting staycation where we wrote the song in a local hotel chain called Holiday Inn! In fact, that hotel name inspired the line in the song ‘Holistay Inn, baby, I can be your destination’ 😊
4. What would be your dream venue to play at? Zoe: For me, it would be the Grand Old Opry. On our first trip to Nashville, Ali and I visited this historic venue and did a backstage tour. It was magical to imagine all of the incredible acts that walked onto that stage, and to actually experience a concert there that night. If we could play that stage, it would be a checkmark on the old bucket list!
5. Where were you the first time you heard Staycation on the radio? Zoe: We did a radio tour when we first released the song, so I remember hearing it in Ottawa on the first stop of our radio tour when we first released the song! It was so fun to hear it on the airwaves!
Quick Fire Five with Jerry Jeff Walker
Jerry Jeff Walker is a renowned artist who is responsible for numerous timeless classics, including “Mr Bojangles,” despite being born and raised in New York, Walker’s roots are deeply embedded in Texas with nearly 45 years living out in the Lone Star State. Now 72, we sat down with Jerry Jeff Walker for our Quick Fire Five to discuss his recent release “It’s All About Time” advice and memories. However, because of his staggering work we asked JJW one more question.
1: What inspired your recent release “It’s All About Time”? I hadn’t done a CD in a long time, so I talked to the band about making another CD and they said “It’s about time! It’s about time!” You haven’t done one in a while, its about time. So I called it ‘It’s About Time’ and I just played every song that I have available. Things that I wrote, things that were on my mind. Little bit of everything, some old songs, new songs and things I have written.
2: If you could pick one song as your favorite from your new record what might it be and why? Well, they are all picking the California song, about the one where I was going to California and I stopped in Texas for a bit, and I’ve been here 45 years since till I met a girl here, fell in love and had babies. And I still dream about California but I an’t going nowhere. I’ve been married for 45 years- we go out for a bit- because, when it gets hot out here in Texas and its the only cold place in United States is Northern California- along the Pacific Ocean. Pacific Ocean stays 52 degrees and the wind of the water we called it nature’s air conditioning. Oh its beautiful, you sleep with the windows open and blankets on in the middle of August.
3: What advice can you give to aspiring singer-songwriters? Turn back its a trap! I don’t know, it seems like the whole game is written against us. I think if you have to do it, you have to do it- there isn’t anything I can say about it you know. I mean, people can tell you, you’re no good and keep on doing it and make you a livelihood out of it, or people say you’re good and you should keep doing it maybe you don’t want to. so you just have to follow your own desire. The problem with music is just because you want to play, doesn’t mean you can’t play. You have to kinda work at it. People here like to have their life sang about, they like a good story I mean you can sit here around a camp fire forever and that’s important we’re in that Tradition. I was reading something about Ireland and they were talking about people there wanting their life’s sung about, I said, basically the same thing here in Texas you know I write about, boot-makers, saddle makers and people that I meet and old men in a jail cell or whatever that comes out. Live stories. Magic is everywhere.
4: With nearly 40 years in the industry- is there a favorite memory you’d like to share with Country in The UK readers? Oh gosh, I don’t know.. Well the things I think about is, I remember playing a show with the ole Texas Playboys opening they were here a long time. They had told me that 3 of the guys died after the gigs. They’ve gone home and passed away in the night, after they played that night somewhere. I mentioned to Willie and Willie Nelson and he said “that’s a good way to go” and I said yeah, play right up until the end. So that’s part of our tradition too I think, play as long as you can. We like to.
5: What keeps Jerry Jeff Walker going? Hmmm, the first thing that came to mind is my wife Susan. She helps me in this whole business. I mean as far as answering the phones, paying the bills and doing stuff, balancing books and making sure that I’m in the right spot. I don’t think I enjoy the business very much if I didn’t have her. I think of the nights you play and people have a lot of fun that’s worthwhile and I’m glad I did it so I remember that and that keeps me going.
6: What other career path would might have considered aside from music when you were younger? Oh gosh, I don’t know. It looked like I was headed like for a bar life. I mean was either going to be a bartender or a you know something like that. But now that I look at the music business there are a lot of jobs there inside of it, you can be a roadie, you can me a manager, you can be I don’t know. I’m kinda of a daydreamer and I’m kinda a happy go lucky guy so who knows! I might’ve been a lifeguard. I got married to a beautiful rich women, she took care of me- because, I brighten her day.
Quick Fire Five with Kelsey Lamb
1. What was your favourite part of filming the new video? My favorite part about filming the “Little By Little”music video was getting to indulge in the donuts!! I was so excited when Logen (my videographer) surprised me with the donut scene, because who doesn’t love donuts? And as embarrassing as it is, donuts have become a huge part of my brand haha.
2. Has the reaction to the release surprised you? A little bit, with it being my first release I was very nervous and was not letting myself get my hopes up. So it was pleasant surprise to get so much positive feedback and support from my fans and peers!
3. When was the first time you heard the song on the radio? I was on my first week of radio tour through Arkansas and had gone home to see my family for the night, my mom asked me to go pick my nephew and little brother up from school and as I was sitting in the parking lot with my boyfriend it came on the radio! It was a cool experience to be sitting in my hometown at the school I grew up in and hear my song for the first time!
4. How was stepping on stage at CMA Fest different to other concerts? It was inspiring. It was the first time I had stepped on a stage and truly felt like the audience was packed full of country music lovers. I can honestly say that that show gave me a new perspective on my career and gave me more confidence after seeing reactions from the loyal country music community!
5. How would describe these last few months in five words? Exciting, exhausting, motivating, a whirlwind & an adventure.
Quick Fire Five with Sarah Darling
Tomorrow night at Black Deer Festival, Sarah Darling will be taking to the stage. We had the opportunity to put our Quick Fire Five questions to Sarah and to see if we could get some hints on what to expect on Friday night in Kent
1. What is it about the UK crowd that makes you want to keep coming back? The love I feel from a UK audience compares to none for me. As a musician it’s all about the connection to the audience and I feel fully locked in when I play. I can’t stay away!
2. If you could perform at any festival which would it be? Glastonbury is a bucket list!
3. What makes performing at a festival different to concert night? Festivals are so wonderful because you are getting to hear a long day of music! It feels more like a celebration with the fans. I tend to find so many hidden gems at festivals too.
4. If you could perform one cover on Friday night what would you choose? Anything by Alison Krauss! She’s my go to cover artist. That’s my only hint.
5. Can fans expect more new music on Friday following the release of Diamonds? I’m playing some some music and sprinkling in my two favorite covers. I can’t wait!! The new original is a catchy melody.
Sarah will be playing two sets on Friday night, one with a full band and one acoustic. If you can't make it Black Deer Festival to see her, Sarah has already announced some UK dates for later this year:
JUL 15 SUN – British Summer Time Festival, Hyde Park, w/ James Taylor, Paul Simon, Ward Thomas JUL 22 SUN – SummerTyne Festival, Gateshead, w/ Sam Palladio & Striking Matches JUL 23 MON – St George’s, Bristol, w/ Sam Palladio & Striking Matches AUG 26 SUN – Cottingham Folk Festival, Cottingham
Quick Fire Five with Jarrod Dickenson
Ahead of this weekends Black Deer Festival in Kent we have caught up with one of the many artists, Jarrod Dickenson, heading over from Nashville to be apart of this inaugural event for another Quick Fire Five interview.
1. What makes playing a festival so unique? Festivals have a completely different feel to a club gig. People are generally in a great mood, ready for a party and some good music, so they're sort of on your side from the start. Everyone is up for a good time, and you can feel that energy on stage.
2. What's your go to tourist spot when in England? I rarely get to play tourist when I'm over, but I love Norwich. It's a beautiful, soulful city with charming cobblestone streets, great record shops, book stores and pubs.
3. What can fans expect from your set this weekend? We'll have a full band out for the festival with horns, Hammond organ and the whole nine yards, so fans can expect a pretty rockin' set.
4. Will you be checking out any other artists this weekend? We'll check out as many as we can. A couple acts we'll definitely try to catch are Jason Isbell and Bennett Wilson Poole.
5. If you could bring one artist on stage with you this weekend who would it be and what would you sing? If we're talking complete dream gig I'd say I'd like to join the entire Traveling Wilburys crew on stage for a rendition of "End Of The Line".
If you are heading to Black Deer this weekend make sure you check out Jarrod who will appearing twice on Saturday.
Quick Fire Five with Steve Moakler
Pennsylvania native - Steve Moakler released his fifth album this week, Born Ready, and has taken some time out to join Country in the UK for our latest Quick Fire Five Questions. An accomplished songwriter, having built a reputation for himself over the last ten years with hits for Dierks Bentley, Jake Owen and Ashley Monroe to name a few, Moakler began to gain recognition as an artist in his own right with his last album, Steel Town. Here's what Steve had to say about the album and heading to this side of the Atlantic:
1. How would you describe the album in 5 words? Highway anthems and shotgun companions
2. What track from the album are you most looking forward to performing live? Crazy Does
3. How have your expectations of this album changed compared to your previous release? I expected an overall better record from myself and my team simply because we’ve had two more years of experience together… I feel that we accomplished that. I’m also hopeful that there are a few more people out there who are going to hear it!
4. Having recently toured North America, when can we hope to see you this side of the Atlantic as the demand for country music continues to increase? I wish I had a definitive answer for you, but unfortunately I don’t. I really want to get over there soon though, so I’ll get on that!
5. If you had to perform a cover of any track, what would it be? Well, we covered John Waits “Missing You’ on tour a couple years ago and enjoyed it so much that we went ahead and recorded our version of it! It’s available on Spotify. I love that song...
Thanks again to Steve for taking time out to join us for Quick Fire Five. Have a listen to Steve's Born Ready album below as well as the track he's looking forward to playing live, Crazy Does, and Moakler's version of John Wait's Missing You.
Quick Fire Five with Two Ways Home
Two Ways Home are made up of Isabella (originally from Vienna) and Lewis (who grew up in Gloucestershire). The alt-country duo have been workingbehind the scenes developing their sound and crafting new songs. As I Leavewas written in Nashville withlocalcountry duo:The Young Fables,who have become close friends of the pair.
We spoke with the pair this week to find out more
1. How did the opportunity to write with Young Fables come about? Isi: This was set up by Luke from Lime Tree Music, he was working on a PR campaign for the Young Fables at the time and we had a trip planned to Nashville and he thought we would be a good fit so he introduced us and they came over to our AirBnB one evening and As I leave was born.
2. What has been the biggest influence in your music? Lewis: From a songwriting perspective it is definitely just everyday situations and stories we have heard or read somewhere. In terms of style and musically, I grew up listening to a lot of Queen, The Eagles and classic rock bands which moulded my playing style. Isi: I grew up listening to a lot of Motown, soul and pop but since we started writing together in 2012 and kind of fell into the country/Americana style we have been soaking up as much country as we can. Someone who has really inspired us lately is Marty Stewart, when we saw him at C2C last year we were totally blown away.
3. What has been your highlight of the year so far? Isi: So far this year we are super excited about our night The Round Up, which is a Nashville style writers-round we host every month, and how well it has been going. Also something which was super fun was interviewing a couple of bands at C2C this year. And also we are in Nashville at the moment and have met a lot of great people and written with some great writers and artists.
4. What else do fans have to look forward to over the coming months? Lewis: We are going on a little UK tour at the end of May, which will be fun, we will be hitting 11 different cities in the UK. Isi: Also we are playing a couple of big country festivals this summer and hopefully recording some more new music.
5. Who is on your bucket list to work with? Lewis: Id really like to write with an artist called Sean McConnell and also Lucie Silvas has been on our songwriters to write with list for a while.
Upcoming performances include shows at the 229 Great Portland Street and The Bedford as well as an acoustic tour at the end of May. TwoWays Home also host a monthly writers-round named The Round Up, which has recently moved to The Colonel Fawcett in Camden after out-growing the previous venue. Guests have included Charlie Worsham, Twinnie, Laura Oakes, Kenny Foster and many more.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks