Category Archives: country

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 EP 6 ~ Elles Bailey

CloudwatcherUno sits down with Elles Bailey to talk about ‘Cheats and Liars’, from Elles new album ‘Shining in the Half Light‘ due in 2022, her musical career so far from touring and promoting her album ‘Road I Call Home‘ which is where I first saw Elles live in concert. Elles recently won The UK Blues Awards — where she was awarded UK Blues Artist of the Year 2021 for the second year running.

Medicine Man‘ by Elles Bailey

Medicine Man‘ is one of my favourite songs of Elles but the story behind it acts now as a warning sign about the dark side of the music business. Having invested all her money in travelling to Los Angeles for four meetings with record labels with an American producer it turned out that he was a con artist.

The situation became the inspiration for another song ‘Wild Wild West

‘You guaranteed I’d feel a blazing fire
Sold me a dream so I showed you every scar
Planted a seed and I let you take me higher
Now here I am on Sunset Boulevard’

Elles managed to use that negative experience and turn it into some of her most popular songs.

Wildfire‘ by Elles Bailey

We talk about the story for the fan favourite song ‘Howlin Wolf‘ which Elles wrote in 2013. Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand in tribute to the bluesy delta rock and roll music that was the soundtrack for backpack adventures with her father. The love for this song is so much that there is a facebook page from her fans called the Wolfpack.

Howlin Wolf‘ by Elles Bailey

Recently Elles played at the Empress Ballroom at The British Country Music Festival 2021 in Blackpool. The festival promotes the best home-grown, contemporary country and Americana artists from across the UK. This was the highlight of the fledgling return of live music to the British Isles. The experience of reconnecting with a live audience was amazing and showed Elles how much she had missed playing live.

Cheats and Liars‘ by Elles Bailey

Elles never set out to be a country artist or a blues artist what she is and wants to be first and foremost is a musician who makes killer music. ‘Cheats and Liars’ when it first came out enjoyed a world exclusive on ‘The Blues Show with Cerys Matthews’, on BBC Radio Two and was added to Planet Rock’s A List and was the most played track on Planet Rock in September 2021. The success of this single has meant the second single ‘Sunset City‘ got pushed back to make way for this huge first single.

Elles is the very first artist to be signed to peermusic (the largest independent music publisher in the world) via Under The Apple Tree (UTAT) (the label co-founded by music and broadcasting legend ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris), spearheading a brand-new, music publishing, joint venture.

Out of all of these achievements one of the closest to Elles heart has been the birth of her baby which has brought her closer to her family and with their support Elles will be able to go back to what she loves doing most in the world which is going back on tour in October and November 2021.

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

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 5 ~ The Ransom Brothers

Sean and Sal talk about how they came up with the name of ‘The Ransom Brothers‘ . They changed the name from Good Springs to a name inspired from the Jimmy Stewart’s character Ransom Stoddard in the movie The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance. Their new song ‘Talk Of The Town‘ is a very honest roots rock kinda sounding song and needs to be played in your kitchen at the loudest volume you can!

Talk of the Town‘ by The Ransom Brothers.

Sean is the main songwriter of the band with input from the rest of the musicians for various verses and riffs. For a change fiddle and peddle steel were added to bring an extra dimension to their sound. Opening up for the ‘The South Austin Moonlighters‘ led to an opportunity to meet producer Chris Beale and then come up with a game plan of choosing 4 songs from 20 tracks and release these to radio stations.

Harmoni Kelly did the bass tracks on the records and the band are grateful for what she brought to the mix. Sean and Sal talk about growing up in the North Austin and the country lifestyle of barn dancing, bull riding and the allure of cowboy movies and country music. They explain that ‘Texas Country’ is a stripped down country music rather than the Nashville country pop music. Whiskey Myers, Turnpike Troubadours and Jason Isbell are definite influences on the band.

Sean and Sal have very different approaches to writing song, adding harmonies and making sure they don’t use country music clichés. Their next release will be coming out in November 2021 followed by live recordings of songs recorded at 512 Studios in North Austin. Then booking shows in central Texas with a view to more live performances out of the Lonestar State.

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

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 4 ~ Tony Hannah

Tony Hannah hails from Northern California via Knoxville Tennessee where she was influenced by rich Appalachian music. You can hear the echoes of that sound within her EP ‘Premonitions‘ . We talk about what it means to be an independent artist and how best to show the world what you as an artist stand for.

One thing that has changed for independent artists is the fan base as they become more aware of what is out there beyond just the mainstream Nashville sound.

Premonitions‘ by Tony Hannah

Two of the best songs from the EP are ‘Setting Sun‘ which is based on memories of California sunsets and the sound of Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Blue Bayou‘ with the unmistakable melody of the marimba . Another favourite is ‘Tacos and Goodwill Clothes‘ The EP was recorded during the lockdown. Four of the songs on the album were written before the pandemic and two of the songs were born during this dystopia these were ‘Small Money‘ and ‘Paradise‘.

Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris were musical staples growing up as this what Tony’s mother listened to in the flower shop she had. On Tony’s playlist is Dolly Parton, Alison Krause and Emily Nenni, Charlie Marie, Sierra Ferrell and Bonnie Raitt.

Going forward Tony wants to explore more of a soul country sound and also to release a Christmas single. That would be the best Christmas present!

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

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 3 ~ Jeremy Pinnell

Jeremy Pinnell is a honky tonk musician of the highest order. Having released ‘OH/KY‘ in 2015 and then ‘Ties of Blood and Affection‘ in 2017, Jeremy brings out his third album ‘Goodbye LA‘ on October 1st 2021 from Sofaburn Records.

Killer tracks from that first album are ‘Sleep Song‘ and ‘Rodeo‘ from ‘OH/KY‘ which were already around for 15 years. Alternative County/Folk music was where Jeremy started but Country Music is where he is headed. While in Dayton, Kentucky Sofaburn Records and Jeremy came together to make sweet sweet music. Jeremy lived a wild kind of life back in the day and managed to record these experiences for this album. Jeremy is a connoisseur of hooks, he tries to add those big or small into everything he writes.

Photo: Cowtownchad

Between his first and second album Jeremy met a girl, had a son, got a steady job and got married and all this gratitude and contentment in his life is reflected in ‘Ties of Blood and Affection‘.

‘Ballad of 1982’ by Jeremy Pinnell

Zackary ‘EZ’ Nelson absolutely nailed it with the artwork for ‘Goodbye LA‘. Jeremy and the band worked hard for the last two years during the pandemic and can’t wait to show all his hard work so that people can hear the album. It’s an album that can make some fans uncomfortable as it progresses Jeremy’s sound in new directions.

The new album was recorded right under the wire in 2020. The time during the pandemic was used to getting the album mastered up to perfection. Jonathan Tyler as a producer was the right decision for Jeremy as he would make the whole experience of recording the songs and the album super exciting.

Big Ol Good‘ by Jeremy Pinnell

One of the most extraordinary songs on the new album is ‘Rosalie‘. It’s a story of a bar girl and a bar guy having a whole lotta fun. The album reflects the life of a troubadour whose living his life one song at a time.

Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee are many of the states that Jeremy and the band have been paying at post pandemic. Going foward Jeremy and the boys will be travelling across the states to showcase one helluva album.

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

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 2 ~ Megan O’Neill

Megan O’Neill is the stuff of dreams, Irish fairy tales and everything in between. A singer songwriter who manages to capture the essence of that emerald isle in words and melodies so enchanting that you will come away bewitched by her songs. Just listen to tracks ‘Ireland‘, ‘Time in a Bottle‘ and ‘Winter Sun‘ from her latest album ‘Getting Uncomfortable with Uncertainty‘.

Ireland‘ by Megan O’Neill

We talk about touring across Germany and the upcoming shows across Ireland and the United Kingdom. Megan expresses how thrilled she is getting into the swing of things and playing in front of a live audience again. The title of the album relates to life in general and not specifically pandemic related. The process of recording and planning this album was dealing with the only constant in life is change.

Megan made her decision to move back to Ireland after living in America and London. A move that has been the right one for her emotionally and musically. Having two albums and various EPs to her name Megan is now concentrating on releasing more singles as a way of showcasing her singer songwriting talents, with a view to possibly make an album out of them.

A huge milestone for Megan was getting her song ‘Time in a Bottle‘ picked up for Netflix’s ‘Firefly Lane‘. Writing for different artists and genres is something that Megan has grown into and loves exploring the voice of another artist. Having patience is one of the key attributes that Megan believes all artists should have when starting a career in the arts and to enjoy the dream.

‘Time in a Bottle‘ by Megan O’Niell

Supporting her from the beginning of her career has been her family who she credits for supporting her throughout her musical journey. Megan’s musical heroes are Joni Mitchell, Carol King, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and Tim Crotchet, Irish Folk Music which she credits to her mother’s musical taste. Currently Megan’s listening to 1975, Holly Humberstone, Taylor Swift and Charli Adams, all of which satisfies her pop cravings!

I’m looking forward to seeing Megan on tour. Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno with Megan O’Neill. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

CloudwatcherUno Podcast S6 Ep 1 ~ Katie Jo

Katie Jo kicks off Season 6 of the CloudwatcherUno podcast.

Katie Jo is a phenomenal singer songwriter from Wichita via Los Angeles who follows in the footsteps of her heroes Patsy Cline, Loretta Lyne and Tammy Wynette. Katie brings her own life stories and experiences to her music and her sound.

On the podcast we talk about the joys and highs of caffeine, tasting the joy of expresso in Italy. Writing songs and releasing an album in the pandemic was not something the Katie Jo envisioned that these themes that are woven into her album ‘Pawn Shop Queen’ of infidelity heartache and life-threatening health conditions are ones that true country music lovers will recognise as stables of the genre.

‘I Don’t Know Where Your Heart Is’ by Katie Jo

Country music rewards and celebrates the redemption arc for example the outlaw music movement which focuses on those who have gone to jail or committed a crime. Katie Jo wanted to show that women could also be badasses and have the strength and fortitude of character to pull them selves out of every situation that they find themselves in.

We also talk about the mystical experience of performing live on stage and the intricacies being vertically challenged while performing in front of a live audience.

The album therefore is a celebration of all things that are best about the human spirit and its will to carry on regardless of what life throws at it. Killer tracks on the album are ‘Pawn Shop Queen’, ‘Bad Religion’ and ‘Are You Coming Home Tonight? I for one thoroughly enjoyed the album and look forward to hearing more from this tremendous musician.

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

Behind The Song with Sean Devine

From the CloudwatcherUno™ series BEHIND THE SONG is ONE artist, ONE story, ONE song. Expanding the concept of what a podcast can deliver.

In this inaugural first episode we have Sean Devine speak about his inspiration for ‘Here For It All’ and perform this song live from his home in Montana. Sean explains how at one of the lowest points in his life he met another soul who saw beyond the pain and sorrow and was able to see another soul that she wanted to spend her life with.

Getting married on the 4th of July was their ‘Independence Day’ independence away from all the negativity of the world and be able to just focus on the happiness that they brought to each other. Hearing the back story to this song makes it connect even more with those who have been listening to this stunning song.

‘Behind The Song’ is available on Friday 6th August 2021 to watch on @youtube and to listen on @applepodcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

Click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Sean Divine. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Artist Showcase with Michelle Billingsley

Michigan born Michelle Billingsley has lived many lives and dreamed of becoming amongst other things an actor, an organic chemist, a veterinarian, a ‘mime’ and now a fully fledged songstress. We talk about how Michelle started in the music business with first moving to Chicago and performing with the Chicago Cabaret Professionals who put on cabaret shows in piano bars. After doing that for a couple of years, Michelle decided to try something new by learning how to play guitar and then drifting into folk music with the band ‘Eleven Dollar Supper‘ which lead to country music.

Once In A While‘ by Michelle Billingsley

Michelle saw a sign…..a sign above a bus stop which said ‘We teach Guitar!’

Matt Brown offered to produce Michelle’s album and with his help, the studio was booked, all the other musicians who played on the song were drafted in and made the whole experience of recording an album so easy. Right now Michelle is recording her second album by herself and has come to realise how much work Matt had put in with the first album. The pandemic didn’t stop Michelle from releasing her album ‘Not The Marrying Kind‘ in June 2020. By that time she had been living with those songs for what seemed like an eternity and wanted them to come out into the world!

Not The Marrying Kind‘ is the first line of the first song and provides a unique insight into Michelle’s musical life. One of the album’s highlights is the song ‘Drink Til I’m Pretty‘ and is full of these characters which weaves an intricate dark story that makes you feel for these characters. The whole album is a magnificent testament to Michelle’s song writing, lyrics and voice.

Drink Til I’m Pretty‘ by Michelle Billingsley

For the future Michelle will be booking shows in Chicago and beyond in the fall. For now click below to hear the podcast from CloudwatcherUno featuring Michelle Billingsley. Also streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Lydia Luce ~ Folk Ingénue

Lydia Luce at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019
Photograph: Cloudwatcheruno © 2019

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.

‘Helen’ performed by Lydia Luce at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019
Video: Cloudwatcheruno © 2019

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.

Lydia Luce at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019
Photograph: Cloudwatcheruno © 2019

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.

‘Sausalito’ by Lydia Luce, it already has had over 10 million plays on Spotify.

Listening to Lydia performing you were transported to another world, a world of heartbreak and enduring love that shows an indomitable spirit to survive.

Lydia Luce performing live at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019
Video: Cloudwatcheruno © 2019

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.

That’s me in the front row capturing the ethereal magicand beauty of Lydia Luce at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019.
Photograph: Lydia Luce © 2019

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.

With Lydia Luce at Bush Hall, London, 1st October 2019
Photograph: Cloudwatcheruno © 2019

Ashley McBryde ~ Country Legend

Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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 join’ Nowhere’ performed live by Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

‘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.

Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019. In the background is Chris Sanchio on Bass Guitar and on the right is guitarist Chris Harris.
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

‘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.

‘ A Little Dive Bar in Dahlonega’ by Ashley McBryde

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.

Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Chris Sanchos at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019
Chris Harris at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019
Matt Helkamp at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

‘Home Sweet Highway’ performed live by Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

‘One Night Standards’ by Ashley McBryde.
Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Bow down to a Queen of Country. Ashley McBryde at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London, 27th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019