Country to Country (C2C) 2017. The Growth of U.K Country Music. Day 3.

Sunday seemed to be the busiest of the three days. Perhaps that was due to more day tickets being sold because The Zac Brown Band were headlining that evening. However, that didn’t take anything away from the atmosphere, in fact it made it better, which I didn’t think was possible. 

I was introduced to and up coming singer songwriter by my good friend and songwriting partner, Emily Faye. He said that he was planning to watch an artist called Logan Brill later on at 2.05pm. He told me he’d seen her perform last year at the Nashville Meets London festival and said she was great. Naturally, I was eager to watch her perform and I’m always wanting to find new artists to listen to. Logan’s performance was awesome and her presence on stage captivated the audience. She performed a mixture of originals and covers, and her arrangement of “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis was a hit with the crowd as they sang along with her. My personal favourites were her original songs, “Shuteye” and “World Still Round”, which are off of her latest album entitled “Shuteye”. If you haven’t downloaded the album, I strongly urge you to because it’s excellent throughout. After her set, I decided that this would be a perfect interview to round off the weekend. After waiting for the fans to finish getting autographs and photos, I had the pleasure of talking to Logan about her thoughts on U.K country music. I asked her if she’d been impressed with the reception of country music here in the U.K. “It’s blown me away. It really has”. She enthused. “There’s such a love for country music here and it’s cool to see a lot of bands that are doing their own version of country from the U.K as well. The audiences here have been incredible”. This was amazing to here from an artist from the home of country music. I also asked if she had any advice for a country band starting up. Her response was, “Just work hard and keep being true to yourself. The great thing about country music is that it glorifies the common man, the common story. If there’s an artist wanting to make country music, they should tell their own personal story”. Logan’s words resonated with me a lot and for me, they solidify the fact that country music is definitely growing in the U.K and it’s only a matter of time before it’s a mainstream genre here. Logan has been at home in Nashville writing for her new record and is back in the studio over the next few months. She hopes to release her new album in the next year or so, and I can’t wait to hear it. Links to Logan’s social media are at the end of the blog.

Now, my blog wouldn’t be complete without a fan interview. Like the other interviews and I asked this fan what his favourite part about the festival was. “I’m just taking it all in really. It’s my first time here and it’s amazing to see so many people who love country music”. He also gave his opinion on the growth of country music in the U.K. “Country music is definitely growing here and it’s great to see so many U.K acts coming forward. Over the last five years it’s come a long way”. 

Overall, I feel that since Country to Country launched back in 2013, it has given country music a voice here in the U.K. It has been influential in getting more people into country music and the proof is in the growth of the festival since it began. Country music will only continue to grow here, and hopefully allow more country artists from Amercia to tour the U.K and inspire people to make country music. Judging by what I saw over the weekend, I’m sure that will materialise sooner rather than later. Country to Country has been truly inspiring and I can’t wait to get out there and help spread the country music love around the U.K. 

I hope you have enjoyed reading my mini blog series about the Country to County festival. It has been a pleasure writing it, and I hope it has given those of you who want to go next year an insight of what you can expect. Over the coming months, I will be filming a documentary about the U.K country music scene, so keep your eyes peeled. Over and out!

Logan Brill’s social media:

http://loganbrill.com

https://www.facebook.com/loganbrillmusic

https://www.instagram.com/loganbrillofficial/

https://mobile.twitter.com/loganbrillmusic

https://www.youtube.com/user/loganbrillofficial/

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J Rockett Pedals .45 Calibre 

Many guitar pedal manufacturers have a “Marshall in a box” style pedal in their arsenal but, this take on a genuine 1962 JTM 45 is up there with the best. Influenced by the classic Malcom Young crunchy rhythm tones and the Pete Townsend Live at Leeds lead tone, the .45 Calibre captures these sounds excellently. 

The pedal features a four control layout including loud (volume), gain, bass and treble. It is also true bypass and runs on a 9 volt battery or power supply. Rockett have used the new “Speed Swtich” system for the footswitch, which makes for a smooth on and off transition. 

It has taken over a year for Rockett to really nail this pedal not only in sound, but also in feel. This pedal really feels like you’re playing through a cranked JTM 45 style amp. So, if you have a clean amp but want a “Marshall in a box” style sound but without breaking the bank for another amplifier, then this pedal is for you. It really is like having a second amp channel and turns your clean amp into a classic rock monster. 

Here is a link to a YouTube demo of the .45 Calibre: https://youtu.be/hhfHvciPYkU

If you could appear on Desert Island Discs 

For the last few days I’ve been thinking of the songs I would choose if I ever appeared on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4. For a lover of music like me, this is a very hard decision. Trying to pick your favourite seven songs, songs that have special meaning to you or, even songs that remind you of a person or place is very difficult. There is a couple that would definitely make the list without much thought but, out of hundreds of songs you like, the list is forever changing. I finally narrowed it down to the seven and, here is the list in no particular order:

1) I Hung My Head, Sting. 

I have loved this song ever since my Dad first played it to me when I was a child. The opening guitar motif is excellent and draws you into the song immediately. I am a massive fan of Sting’s vocals, so when he comes in with “Early one morning”, it’s just a great moment in the song for me. The instrumentation is great and when the brass arrive in the chorus, the song really takes off but, the main reason I love this song is because it tells a story. Like most of Sting’s songs, the lyrics are superb but, this one just resonates with me and this is why it’s made my list. 

2) Lover, Alter Bridge.

Alter Bridge are one of my all time favourite bands. This song is from their fourth album Fortress, and is an all out powerful  rock song. I love the simplicity of the arrangement and the way it builds to the chorus. I remember lying in bed one night when the album first released, listening to the whole thing start to finish and, going back to this song to listen to it again and again. The moment that puts this song on my list is the ending, where lead singer Myles Kennedy produces in my opinion, one of the best rock vocal moments ever. I won’t describe it as I want you to listen for yourself. 

3) Stupid Boy, Keith Urban.

My love for modern country music developed whilst I was at university and Keith Urban is probably my favourite artist of the genre. Dynamically this song is fantastic and it really takes you on a journey. Now, I’m a guitar player so most songs with great guitar parts already have a big tick from me and this song is no exception. The lead guitar that builds into the outro really made me realise the importance of structure in a guitar solo. The note choice and the dynamics are perfect and I have often tried to replicate that in my own playing. If you like modern country music then Keith Urban is the epitome of the genre. 

4) Message In A Bottle, The Police.

Like Alter Bridge, The Police are one of my favourite bands and let’s be honest, who doesn’t like this song. My Dad introduced me to The Police when I was a small child. I remember watching a live concert on VHS of their Synchronicity tour and being completely amazed. As an impressionable young child, I soaked it all up and watched it over and over again. This song though, stands out for me and is the first song I learned to play by The Police. For me, this song epitomises The Police. I never get tired of this song and I believe, The Police were influential in my growth as a musician.  

5) Calling Elvis, Dire Straits. 

Dire Straits are another band that were influential in my development as musician early on. My Dad used to dress me up in a head band and, gave me a tennis racquet as a guitar to try make me look like Mark Knopfler. I used to watch their On The Night video and pretend to play along with my tennis racquet. Calling Elvis is the opening song on that video and it’s one of those moments where you just think YES, this is the coolest thing ever, this I what I want to do when I grow up. It was this moment that was one of main factors for me wanting to play guitar. 6) Rise Today, Alter Bridge.

6) Rise Today, Alter Bridge.

I first heard this song on a school trip to Pompeii. My friend knew I liked rock music and said, “have a listen to this!” So I did and I thank him a lot for introducing me to Alter Bridge. The song connected with me immediately and I was blown away by the guitar and the vocals. I thought these guys are the ultimate rock band and I didn’t give him his iPod back for a while. Since then, I’ve been to see them live six times and have become a complete fan boy. 

7) Mist Beyond Delhi, The Hellecasters. 

The guitar solos in this song are pure genius. Jerry Donahue, Will Ray and John Jorgenson have produced one of my all time favourite guitar moments. Each solo leads in to the next perfectly and, represents each of their styles which makes it so great. These solos are what puts this song on my list as the rest of the song is, to be honest, alright but not amazing. My Dad used to play it in the car and introduce the solo as if it was me playing it. One day, with a lot of practice, I will play each one from start to finish. 

So there you have it. Those are my seven desert island songs. Please check out my choices if you haven’t heard them before. I think there’s a song on that list for everyone. If you could appear on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, what would be your seven songs?