Category Archives: Uncategorized

John Paul White ~ A Southern Gentleman

John Paul White, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 5th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

John Paul White, Bush Hall, London, 6th November 2016
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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 White, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 5th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

James performed by John Paul White, Islington Assembly Hall, London 5th September 2019
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars

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.

John Paul White and yours truly, Islington Assembly Hall, London, 5th September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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!”

Lifting John Paul White off the floor, Cadogan Hall, London, 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Kip Moore ~ Guitar Man

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

‘She’s Mine’ Kip Moore’s latest single.

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.

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

‘Tennessee Boy’ by Kip Moore
Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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?

Kip Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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’

‘Bittersweet Company’ by Kip Moore

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 Moore, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Guitar Man by Kip Moore
Kip Moore with his band, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Jillian Jacqueline ~ Shine so Brightly

Jillian Jacqueline, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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’.

Jillian Jacqueline accompanied on guitar by her husband Bryan Brown, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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 Jacqueline, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Jillian Jacqueline, Roundhouse London, 2nd September 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

Selin – A Star is Born

Selin Gecit performing at The Troubador, London
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Selin Gecit performing at The Troubador, London
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

Live performance of “It’s Just a Feeling’ performed by Selin Gecit at The Troubador, London
Video: CloudwatcherUno © 2019
Selin Gecit performing at The Troubador, London
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

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.

With Selin Gecit at The Troubador, London
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno © 2019

John Newman ~ Man of Soul

John Newman performing at Patterns, Brighton July 19th 2019
Photograph: CloudwatcherUno ©2019

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.

‘Stand by Me’ performed by John Newman, at Patterns, Brighton
Video: CloudwatcherUno ©2019

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.

With John Newman at Patterns, Brighton, July 19th 2019
Signed ‘Tribute’ vinyl by John Newman

Sarah Darling ~ Angel of Nashville

Sarah Darling at Bush Hall, London, 13th March 2019

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.

First time meeting Sarah Darling at C2C, March 2017.

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.

Sarah Darling at Roundhouse, London, June 2019

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.

Forever and Always performed by Sarah Darling and Sam Outlaw. The latest collaboration between these two amazing country artists has proved a big hit for fans .

With Sarah at Bush Hall, 2018
Set List, and signed memorabilia from Sarah Darling, Bush Hall, 13th March 2019

Aly & AJ ~ Sanctuary Tour

Aly & AJ (Aly Michalka and AJ Michalka) brought their ethereal pop act to London shares at Scala on 11th July 2019. Already famous in their own rights as actresses for iZombie and The Goldbergs respectively it was as singers that brought them to back to London to kick off the start of their European tour.

@iamaj chose my photograph to showcase her performance at Scala, London, 11th July 2019

It’s been over 10 years since the band brought their music to this side of the Atlantic. Die hard fans had started queuing for the gig from noon on a very humid day but others had gone that extra mile paying £150 each to get precious seconds with the stars and that all important photograph with the sister act. It was all worth it.

The anticipation of seeing something special was building as the clock counted down until Aly & AJ arrived on stage. Support for the duo came in the form of Audrey (see earlier post) who left the crowd pumped up for the spectacle ahead.

Aly and AJ at Scala, London 11th July 2019 Photograph: CloudwatcherUno ©2019

And then stage left Aly & AJ arrived and opened with the crowd pleasing ‘Church’ Immediately fans sang back and in unison with the sisters. Seeing Aly & AJ perform in person, connecting with the crowd showing each emotion of the lyrics was something special. Running through their back catalogue of hits such as ‘Closure’ ‘Star Maps’ and ‘Not Ready to Wake Up’ you could see how much they have grown as musical performers and stars in their own right.

The night ended with an encore and a rendition of ‘Potential Breakup Song’. This may have been goodbye from Aly & AJ but it wouldn’t be the end of the love affair between fans and their music.

Audriix – Coming at you like a ‘Stampede’

Audriix opened up for Aly&AJ the sister pop duo touring Europe. I saw Audriix sing at Scala in Kings Cross, London. I’d never heard of her music before but after the gig I made sure she was on my music radar. On came Audriix and from her first song her voice came and grabbed you and shook you to make sure you paid attention to her powerhouse of a voice. The performance was dramatic with lots of choreographed dance moves which mimicked the lyrics to add flair to what was being sung to the audience.

Looking around at the fellow gig goers you could see eyes wide and mouths open in awe of what was an incredible performance from such an independent artist. ‘Stampede’ is Audriix latest single with a video that shows what a force of nature she is. https://open.spotify.com/artist/42gR1zqqPFRWueHBgFOXec

‘Stampede’ by Audriix A raucous video showcasing her stunning voice.

After the dust had settled from her performance and the main act of the night I got the opportunity to meet up with Audriix after the show. She is a ray of sunshine specifically imported from northern California. A very sociable artist who makes her fans at ease with quick wit and humour. For all the latest news about Audriix go follow her website Audriix.com

Audriix ~ Scala 11th July 2019 Photograph © CloudwatcherUno 2019
Audriix  ~ Scala 11th July 2019 Photograph © CloudwatcherUno 2019

If music be the food of love play on.

A brave new music world awaits. This blog will showcase my experiences of live music through gigs and concerts. There’s nothing that can replicate the experience, the anticipation and the joy of seeing your favourite artist giving their all to the audience. All the photographs and videos have been taken by me to try and capture the magic of the artists and their music.