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Broken Bones Matilda are like the minstrels of old travelling the country performing their special blend of harmonies, punctuated with melodious vocals and tinged with Americana blues that are fast becoming their musical hallmark.
Originating in Bath, in the West Country. Broken Bones Matilda are Sarah McGrigor ~ Vocals, Sam Gotley ~ Guitar and Vocals with support from Roselee Levy ~ Keyboard and Backing Vocals. Sarah’s sultry gravelly voice captures your attention holding your hand and leading you into a world that’s dark, mysterious and just a little magical.
Haunting lyrics accompany their live performances. It’s the only way to be transported into the lives and world of the protagonists who inhibit their songs.
I first saw Broken Bones Matilda Band play at Green Note, Camden in July 2019 and was totally captivated by hearing music that took you back to the heyday of seventies production values with their rich harmonies and killer hooks. I knew right then I would need to see them live again.
Performing at The Isis Farmhouse situated on an Oxford Lock, Broken Bones Matilda captivated the audience with their confidant delivery of dark brooding stories fit for an evening of melancholic revelry.
Through the night Broken Bones Matilda performed their songs ‘Midnight Creeper’, ‘Holy Man’, ‘Howl at the Moon’, ‘Runway’ ‘Mama’, ‘Madeline’, ‘Butterfly’ and ‘City by the Bay’. More new music was promised by the band when they announced that they would work on their first studio album in November 2019 and would go on tour in in the New Year to promote the as yet untitled new album.
It sends musical chills up my spine in anticipation of what wondrously dark sensual harmonies that might be brought to life by the band. The bands music harks back to the seventies musical groups and the old school rich production values in music such as the Steve Miller Band, Steve Winwood and Steely Dan. Fuse this with Tom Waits and PJ Harvey and you come close to the essence of Broken Bones Matilda.
Broken Bones Matilda now need to reach a wider audience one that will appreciate the mix of harmonies, vocals to die for and Americana infused lyrics.
Lydia Luce was a revelation at Bush Hall, 1st October 2019. On one of the wettest days since records began, out on to the stage came a musical light to shine a path through this torrential storm.
Lydia may not have been the headline act on this night but she certainly stole the show with her fiddle playing, lyrics to die for and ethereal voice. A voice that carries all the emotional power of an artist who connects with you through all the noise that is the Nashville machine. It’s not manufactured, it’s not middle of the road, this is an authentic original soul.
Music is in Lydia’s veins, it’s in her soul, she lives and breathes it, she brings it to life from her imagination and in doing so opens up a whole new universe of folk tinged lyrics that have the quality of dreams brought into flesh.
Listening to Lydia performing you were transported to another world, a world of heartbreak and enduring love that shows an indomitable spirit to survive.
Finishing off her set you were left hungry for more of Lydia’s music. More of the passion that she had enthused with her songs about Volcanoes and Cities.
It’s only a matter of time before Lydia Luce is the headline act and her music reaches more fans of folk and country music. Here’s hoping she brings her ethereal magic back soon to these shores.
Ashley McBryde has the voice that transcends time. It’s timeless. It transports you into a world of heartache, romance, life affirming soul shaking americana. A sound that is uniquely country but straddles different genres such as Rock and Blues. Ashley’s songs are at once personal to her life story but they are stories that we can all relate to that chronicle the human experience. On a wet Friday evening on 27th September 2019 Ashley brought her country soul to a sold out show to O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London.
‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere is my personal anthem. It’s the rallying call to each and everyone one of us to not let the ‘haters’ drag you down to their level with their negativity and pessimism. It’s a song which shows that your belief and faith in what makes you, you, should be rock solid. Those people never stop even when you do make a success of your dreams. The roar of the crowd on hearing this song was deafening. Ashley sang what was in our hearts.
‘Here’s to the break ups that didn’t break us’ is one of the lines from one of Ashley’s biggest breakout hits is ‘A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ a song for the underdog. ‘Hear a song from a band that saves ya, man’ it’s lyrics like this that permeate throughout Ashley’s songs. Bringing home to you the audience that here is an artist that understands your struggles because she has lived them too.
Ashley’s songs lifted the spirits of the audience to fever pitch. With every song the crowds energy increased vocally. Ashley responded by bringing out songs such as ‘American Scandal’, ‘First thing I reach for is the last thing I need’, Tired of being Happy.
Bringing the bluesy, rocking country sound of Ashley McBryde’s songs to live are guitarist Matt Helkamp, drummer Quinn Hill, bass guitarist Chris Sancho and guitarist/back up vocals Chris Harris. Together they are collectively called ‘Deadhorse’. And they kick ass alongside Ashley, bringing an authentic sound that makes you want to move, dance and sing at the top of your lungs. Surround yourself with good people the maxim goes and thats exactly what Ashley has done.
Ashley dedicated ‘Home Sweet Highway’ to her fans this night as a thank you for supporting her and her journey from outsider to Country Rock Queen. There’s a vitality to Ashley’s music , a resonance wither audience that uplifts the spirit.
Ashley also played her latest single ‘One Night Standards’ a modern day take on romance for the 21st century. This needs to be on the new album which hopefully once her mammoth tour is over should be the title track.
Bringing the night to a close with an encore Ashley had captured the hearts of this London audience by being the embodiment of country rock heart and soul. This night was an unforgettable night of music, at times electrifying, at others an acoustic ode to the soul and what it means to be human. Never let ‘No’ stop you from achieving your dreams instead let it be the fuel to rocket you to new heights. We were in the presence of greatness tonight, a legend, a Queen of Country.
A little bit of magic happened last night when Lauren Jenkins stepped on stage last night (September 18th 2019) at the re-branded ‘The Grace’ venue. The last date of her latest European tour Lauren showcased her stunning vocals and joie de vivre to an audience hungry to see their musical hero. In a sold out venue the magic began to sparkle in front of people’s eyes.
Lauren Jenkins opened her act with ‘Twenty Years from Now’ a song originally sung by her friend Kylie Rae Harris who tragically died in an automobile accident in New Mexico while Lauren was on tour. The two had met while in Barbados and had become fast friends (incidentally this is also where Lauren met her manager Whitney Pastorek).
Lauren told the audience how she had found it difficult to grieve for her friend while touring abroad but was grateful for the support of her fans across Europe who had supported her by coming out to her gigs. At the end of the song tears flowed from Lauren as she also sung ‘You are my Sunshine’ in dedication to Kylie. The audience joined Lauren in singing this song in remembrance of her lost friend.
Lauren then brought her album ‘No Saint’ to life in front of an audience who matched her word for word on songs from ‘Maker’s Mark and You’, ‘Cadillac’, and ‘All Good Things’.
Lauren told of how all that glitters isn’t gold in the world of country music artists. Having moved from New York to Nashville. Lauren had played at many, many gigs across the states where being the opening act meant using Porterloos as a dressing room and trying to explain to her family that she may be a country artist but that didn’t mean she was rolling in dollars. At least not yet.
Lauren also told the back story of how she had difficulties with an ex-boyfriend who had cheated on her and how that had inspired her to write the song ‘My Bar’ Working behind the bar she had thrown out the ex when he had brought the other women to the bar she was working in.
Lauren freely admits that she is herself ‘No Saint’ and is only doing the best that she can on a daily basis. Sometimes she’s winning sometime she losing.
With the night coming to an end Lauren opened out to the audience as to what songs they wanted her to sing? The requests came thick and fast. Lauren sang ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac and Robert Palmer’s ‘Addicted to Love’ This was a consummate performance of the song by Lauren bringing a real cheer from the audience. A re-imagined take on the classic with Lauren’s smoky voice replacing Palmer’s distinctive timbre.
Then Laura produced something extra special two new songs ‘American Spirits’ and ‘It Ain’t Love Any More’. Both were phenomenal and I can see these being added to a future album and definitely on Lauren’s next tour.
Lauren ended the evening with ‘Running out of Road’ one of the breakout hits of her album. Audience participation at its maximum and the effect was electric. ‘All Good Things’ have to come to an end and Lauren’s journey through Europe did just that but with a celebration by the artist of her songs and the life she has lived so far.
Lauren Jenkins gave the performance of her lifetime at parts, raw, emotional, in others full of bravado and soaring vocals. A true magician who cast a spell over this audience and gained fans old and new.
After the performance Lauren was warm, enthusiastic and genuine in her appreciation of the fans who had come to see her sing. I had waited 7 months to see Lauren sing and she didn’t disappoint. Looking forward to the seeing Lauren when she returns to the UK and seeing a true magician in action.
Once upon a time there was a prince called John and a princess called Joy and together as The Civil Wars they lived happily ever after, producing music which captured audiences hearts. Thats how the story was supposed to end right? But this is a modern tale and the Prince and Princess went their separate ways and then there was silence.
I was at the last ever concert given by The Civil Wars at the Roundhouse London in 2012, it was a magical evening, the duo were at the top of their musical game and then they unexpectedly separated. Tentatively after many years John Paul White came back onto the musical scene in 2016 with his album ‘Belulah’ and travelled to these shores at Bush Hall, London to promote these songs and more importantly his return to music.
Last night at Islington Assembley Hall (5th September 2019) John Paul began his latest tour across Europe to promote his album ‘The Hurting Kind’. A very emotionally raw, visceral americana collection of songs which departs from the more folk/country music that he is known for. John Paul brings a stronger sense of his self into these songs building from personal family history and tragedies.
John Paul opened the night with ‘Wish I Could Write You A Song’ a haunting melody of love and loss. Continuing with ‘My Dreams Have All Come Home’, and ‘The Long Way Home’ These songs play your heartstrings like an orchestra and rather than make you melancholy they are love songs to the human spirit and it’s capacity to carry on through emotional and physical hardship.
One of the most powerful songs sung by John Paul that night for me was ‘James’ inspired by the country icon Glen Campbell and finding out he had Alzheimers and struggling with memory loss. To make that connection more personal in the lyrics John Paul changed the name of the protagonist to that of his father.
Then at the end of his set John Paul said he was going to perform a song he hadn’t played in front of an audience in seven years. That song was ‘Barton Hollow’. The crowd roared with appreciation and then fell silent to hear one half of ‘The Civil Wars’ perform one of their songs again. It was everything that you could hope for the soaring vocals, the guitar strings holding the melody and that connection that brought back memories of another time and place.
The encore consisted of just John Paul on stage singing ‘Once And Future Queen’ and ending with ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’ a fitting ending to a night of musical magic. After rapturous applause the evening was at and end but one thing remained for me to do and that was to meet the man himself John Paul White.
Earlier on in the evening waiting in line to enter the venue John Paul came and shook everyone’s hand who was there. When he came to me he said “You can’t pick me up again!” I replied ‘Are you sure?’, “Maybe” came back the answer said with a glint in his eye. When John Paul sees me after the concert he says “You’re the only one who got to do that no one else will!”
Kip Moore has written over a thousand songs some of which have seen the light and have been breathed into existence and played before the audience at Roundhouse London on 2nd September 2019. Kip Moore had only just played out to sold out audiences at Cadogan Hall in May of this year and was worried that UK fans would be sick of him. There was no fear of that as the atmosphere was electric. Fans had just seen Jillian Jacqueline perform (see previous post) and were left hungry for more outstanding music from artists at the top of their music game.
Entering onto the stage in darkness and opening with ‘Crazy One More Time’ Kip Moore performed for nearly 2 hours for the audience who had packed out the concert hall. Taking sips from his bottle of Jack Daniels Kip rattled through songs at a break neck pace. His voice resonating deeply with a voice that carried effortlessly through the auditorium. I’ve never seen a country audience that energised by a performers music and on stage presence.
Supported by a full band and charismatic guitar players who lifted the songs to even higher levels of energy. This was not just country music this was country rock at it’s best. Having seen Brothers Osborne up live and personal I didn’t believe there was an artist who could match the brothers in a live performance. Kip Moore did that and more on this Monday night. My ears are still ringing from the auditory experience.
Thanking the audience for being so supportive of his music and for selling out his UK shows Kip Moore walked off into the darkness from which he had emerged. The audience were in shock surely their night of pulsating guitar riffing country rock couldn’t be over could it?
The audience shouted out ‘Kip! Kip! Kip!’ for what seemed an eternity and then Kip returned to the stage for an encore starting with the country rock ballad of ‘Bittersweet Company’
Between the final songs Kip shared with the audience that he had been born with congenital defects which continues to affect his hearing so much so that he wasn’t sure how long he could continue playing live to audiences.
Kip ended the night with his personal anthem ‘Guitar Man’. This song more than others captures the spirit of the man and his music.
“Well, I woke to the rise, sun going down Still taste the whiskey, still fresh on my mouth Hot cup of coffee, smoke in my hand Another day in the life of the guitar man La de da”
For two hours the boy from Tifton, Georgia had transported world weary Londoners to the sunshine of Nashville. Bravo Kip Moore! You absolute legend.
The fire in Jillian Jaquelines’s eyes burned brightly last night (2nd September 2019) at London Roundhouse when she opened up for fellow Country artist Kip Moore. The intensity of her performance shone through as she sung songs from her as yet unreleased new album while closing out with signature tunes from albums ‘Side A’ and ‘Side B’.
Having only recently supported Kip Moore on his recent tour in May 2019 you would think that there would be nothing new to discover or appreciate from Nashville’s newest shooting star but the clarity of Jillian’s voice made the fans night as they experienced the songs as they were made to be heard, live and personal.
A Spotify superstar Jillian’s song ‘Reasons’ has over 16 and half million plays on the music platform. This didn’t happen by accident Jillian has been in the music business since the age of 9 when Kenny Rogers took her under his wing musically speaking and provided her with the solid foundation to take on Nashville and the music machine that spits and chews out lesser beings.
Opening her set with ‘The Ocean’ she held an enraptured audience in her hands with lyrics about how the rain reminded her of an ex-boyfriend. Love and all of its complexities were definitely on show last night with the song ‘Compliment’ and how the attentions of an an ex-lover can be damaging in the here and now.
Jillian has lived and breathed country her whole life and it showed last night with a stunning rendition of Pam Tillis’s ‘Maybe it was Memphis’ The lyrics to this classic came to life to a new audience and it showed Jillian’s range from singing country pop to songs which are now ‘classics’.
Jillian brought her set to a close with ‘Tragic’ and “God Bless this Mess’. Listening to an artist on Spotify or whichever music platform your addicted to can be a intimate personal experience but listening to the same artist in front of hundreds of fans at concert is a mind blowing experience.
Jillian Jacqueline’s ascent to country music stardom is assured. The combination of those crisp clean vocals and intensity of delivery made fans of everyone who listened to her. When you see a new star shining up above the night sky it’ll be called Jillian.
Selin is a force of nature. Musical nature. Music flows through her blood stream. Every cell reverberates with the frequency of her love for music. A natural performer she channels her energy into her voice and the effect is astounding.
The opening of ‘It’s Just a Feeling’ starts of gently but by the end you’re enraptured by the sultry voice who surely belongs alongside Billy Holliday for capturing your heart and mind. This song is Selin’s calling card to enter the world of ‘Billboard’ number one musicians which grabs you by the shoulders and doesn’t let you go. Transporting you with equal measure into the worlds of Jazz and Soul music. Haunting and mesmerising the senses revel in the beauty of her voice.
Everything that I look for in an artist, Selin has in abundance. The voice that just hooks into you with it’s range, power and ability to connect with your soul. The performer who gives it her all for the audience. Selin sings for the joy of singing.
Originally from Istanbul, Selin has been honing her songwriting and singing talents at BIMM (The British & Irish Modern Music Institute London). Graduating in 2019 she follows in the footsteps of artists like George Ezra and James Bay. Selin will carve her own way into the world of music. This is an artist to watch, long may her star shine brightly in the sky.
Phenomenal /fr,nomm(Ə)/ adj. 1 of the nature of a phenomenon. 2 extraordinary, remarkable, prodigious. 3 perceptible by, perceptible only to, the senses.
John Newman is the dictionary definition of what a phenomenon is. A electrifying, mesmerising, mind blowing force of musical nature. Last night at Patterns, Brighton John Newman showed what he could do in a stripped back performance to fans who had travelled across from far and wide to hear him sing.
Currently on his Out of the Blue Tour, John is travelling back to those places and venues which have a special significance for him personally and musically and bringing his northern soul magic to more intimate venues. For him the main reason to do this is to reconnect with that hunger, passion and giving his all to his music and his fans. In October 2019 he will be going on a much larger stadium tour but for now he his half way through connecting with audiences on a deeper more personal level.
The anticipation for something special, something extraordinary for the senses was in the air. To the sounds of ‘I do like being at the Seaside’ a cheesy reference to the fact that this gig was in Brighton, John came onto the stage very much like a fighter, a fighter who was there to do battle with not only his personal demons, but expectations from record producers and music labels to produce the next ‘big thing’.
Opening with ‘Come and Get It’ this was a call to action for the faithful who had stood out in the wind and rain waiting to see this legend. They didn’t need to be told twice. The crowd joined in with all their heart and soul to become the backing singers to these anthems.
And what anthems they were ‘Use Somebody’, ‘Cheating’, ‘Losing Sleep’, ‘Feel the Love’, and ‘Love me Again’. The energy of the crowd added to John’s performance exploded into vibrations of pure musical heaven. These were songs that originated on a simple piano, in a bedroom, from a retreat in the lake district to number one smashes on the UK charts and success worldwide.
The next chapter in this story will bring more passion for John to pour his heart out into what he does best, singing. Whether it be in stadiums or venues like Pattern, one things for sure I’ll be there.
Have you ever met an angel? More specifically an angel from Nashville? Well, I have and her name is Sarah Darling. Sarah Darling is the real thing, with the voice to connect with your heart. Sarah has been making a name for herself and her brand of country pop in the US and UK country scene. Yes, country music exists in the UK and it’s being brought to life with help with artists like Sarah Darling.
Currently her latest album ‘Wonderland’ is number one in the UK country chart. Hardly surprising considering all the touring she has done in the UK promoting her albums. Country music is growing as a genre of music in the UK because the artists and music connect with their tales of heartache, love, sorrow and longing for romance. Universal themes played out with a guitar.
Born in Iowa, Sarah moved to Nashville when she was 19 to pursue her dream of a life in music. The album ‘Dream Country’ brought her to the attention of fans across both sides of the Atlantic. Her sound has transformed from being purely US country to a unique blend of US country with UK pop music influences. One of her biggest hits from the “Dream Country’ album was ‘Where Cowboys Ride’, is a love letter to the Midwest. It showcases the voice that has captured country fans hearts.
I’ve been lucky to see Sarah take over the UK country scene with gigs from Union Chapel, Bush Hall, Green Note Camden, C2C, St Pancras Old Church, Old Queens Head, Roundhouse, London to name a few. The reason from going back again and again is to experience that first joy, that thrill of seeing ‘magic, being performed right in front of your eyes. Of seeing a singer electrify with their performance. To see the magic in their eyes when they connect with an audience.