Category Archives: Country and Western

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S7 Ep 5 ~ The County Affair

The County Affair are lifelong friends Kevin Brennan and Tony Regan. CloudwatcherUno catches up with the duo after they had finished supporting Ward Thomas Ward Thomas | Official Website (wardthomasmusic.co.uk) on their national tour.

On tour with Ward Thomas. Photo: CloudwatcherUno™ © 2022

Kevin and Tony met up as teenagers in Nottingham in the late 70s. In their early twenties they toured the States coast to coast booking their own gigs, landing opportunities and building a reputation with over 200 gigs under their belts. Then a fork in the road came along and they had to choose, one path led to music and the other was corporate careers and settling down and raising families. They both chose this path.

Fast forward more than thirty years and around 2017 and the duo got back together again to concentrate on their music and formed The County Affair. Producer Tom Nichols heard their story on the radio and invited them to record their first album “Off The Grid” with him at the famous Abbey Road Studios.

“Man of Note” by The County Affair

The album includes such tracks as “Man of Note”, “Every Ghost” and “Playing Poker”. While on tour the duo have been busy writing songs and developing more material for a future release. They would love to bring their music to a live act and builds up their presence on the music scene.

“Every Ghost” by The County Affair

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring The County Affair. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

With Kevin and Tony from The County Affair. Photo by Matt Bradshaw.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S7 Ep 4 ~ Dylan Earl

Dylan Earl sits down with CloudwatcherUno to talk all things music and everything in between. We start off by talking about how the AMA UK music week had been cancelled resulting in Dylan and many artists from the United States, Canada and Europe not being able to fly to London and perform live in front of a live audience. It may be 2022 but it still feels a lot like 2020 is still trying for a third roll of the dice when it comes to gigs and events being postponed or cancelled outright.

Some of Dylan’s last great memories were in 2018, as the last couple of years has been a blur. Dylan was supposed to be at Black Deer Fest in 2021 but that was cancelled as well. Dylan was the only American artist who took the risk of flying into the UK when the restrictions meant you had to isolate for 10 days. In the end Dylan was left without the festival and it was only through the help of friends (Stevie Smith) that he was able to do a few gigs with Judy Blank.

Dylan Earl in action.

Dylan was there to perform with Judy Blank Judy Blank | Official website who he had collaborated previously on “Throwing Lines“. Dylan’s philosophy in dealing with disappointment is the same way he deals when Arkansas Razorbacks Football snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. We talk about how gigs and festivals desperately are trying to come back such as Tennessee Fields Festival where the first band that I saw was Morganway HOME | morganway , which was the last band I saw pre Covid.

Dylan loves nothing more than to perform in front of a live audience wherever they may be in the world.

Covid and politics features heavily early on our discussion as we lament the fact that we had and still have the most inept and useless self serving politicians in charge with the resulting outcome of the loss of many lives. Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom Dylan tells the story of how he met Judy Blank and then formed a partnership which has resulted in some damn fine songs. The pair met at Graham Weber and House Of Songs Graham Weber | The House of Songs Songwriter Summit Camps where songwriters from all over the world come to grow, create and develop as artists, writers and musicians. Tanya Tucker, Glen Campbell, Elles Bailey were all influences upon Dylan at the retreat.

Judy Blank and Dylan Earl

Dylan cannot praise Judy Blank high enough as a true lyrical genius and master of her song writing craft. Seemingly Judy can create melodies out of the atmosphere and together the duo created a solid gold country and western hit “Never Said A Word“.

Never Said A Word” by Judy Blank and Dylan Earl

Many more collaborations have been with the very distant kinship Dylan has with his ‘cousin’ Nick Shoulders and friendship with his ‘uncle’ Willi Carlisle. The trio have a long deep friendship which has only been strengthened when Nick and Willi returned back from their wanderings from New Orleans and being on the road. Being around each other pushes Dylan and his brothers in arms to produce phenomenal storytelling and music with the result that all of their respective careers are going stellar.

If I Could Only Fly” by Nick Shoulders, Dylan Earl and Willi Carlisle

Dylan is working with Western AF in filming and producing an Arkansas documentary and the Delta area which is where Johnny Cash comes from.

There’s been a history of the outcasts, loners and weirdo’s breaking down the fences that gatekeepers have put up around country music and that all are welcome to this beautiful genre of music.

Dylan is working on his next album ” I Saw The Arkansas” and this will also be the first track released from this new album. In the album will be the track “Buddy” and reflects the touring experience and life led by both Dylan and Willi.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Dylan Earl. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S7 Ep 3 ~ Sterling Drake

CloudwatcherUno catches up with Sterling Drake in the middle of his “Roll The Dice” tour promoting the EP of the same name. The EP was supposed to come out on vinyl last October but literally every artist under the sun wants to make physical copies of their songs. Melvin Dillon from Soul Step Records collaborated with Sterling to produce a slice of honky tonk, dancehall and western swing heaven. The orange coloured vinyl is a testament to the quality of production and care that goes into each pressing.

“Roll The Dice” by Sterling Drake

Sterling Drake plays timeless country music following in the footsteps of Bob Wills, Merle Haggard and George Strait. Sterling doesn’t put a label on his music, for him it’s just music that has a cultural heritage. Sterling’s peers such Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson and Tyler Childers are breaking from the perceived notion of what country music should sound like and Sterling is also breaking the mould when it comes to this style of country music.

Sterling likes to catalogue the music that he likes on a public forum playlists on Spotify. As for the future Sterling has many many songs that he’s been saving such as old style country songs with a modern twist, bluegrass music and everything in between.

Sterling is looking to tour in the North West in Spring 2022 and the South East later in the winter. Sterling also plays once a month at the Station Inn in Nashville, Tennessee.

Click below to hear more from the podcast with CloudwatcherUno featuring Sterling Drake. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts